This is going to be another one of those rambling reviews where I just throw all my thoughts in the air and let them fall were they may. I can't seem to get them to form into any coherent form:
~Patricia Briggs Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace Books
Publish Date: March 1, 2011
Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…
There are mysterious deaths and disappearances in the Columbia Gorge area, which is "coincidentally" where Mercy and Adam are going camping for 10 days. A few days after they get there, they find an injured man in a boat. His friends, who are Native American, show up to help get him to the hospital. They know Mercy is also Native American, and she gets a mysterious visitor who knows who and what she is. As they piece together what's going on in the water, Mercy also learns about her father - who and what he really was.
Thoughts: I love this series! Let me say up front that I don't think this book would make a good stand-alone. I think you could do it, but I wouldn't recommend it.
I loved seeing Mercy and Adam interact in River Marked. The wolf/coyote nuances, signals, and feelings that they deal with, showing their feelings beyond just saying "I love you" or "I'm upset right now". I like that their bond doesn't just automatically make things perfect between them, that there are issues they'll have to work through, just like any other couple (okay, maybe not just like any other couple, lol).
I liked that Mercy got some insight into her heritage as a Native American and as a Walker. She doesn't see herself as such, but it was a fun twist that in River Marked, Mercy was more accepted and Adam was the outsider. The Native American lore was interesting, although I was frustrated that a running joke was that several of the stories supposedly had a naughtier version, and when Mercy was finally told the naughty versions, the reader was not privy to the stories. I felt like I was missing an inside joke. The scene in mini-Stonehenge was fascinating on so many different levels.
The villain was pretty bad. Like creepy bad. And cruel. The fact that the victims walked
complacently to their deaths made it worse. Mercy's tough decision regarding the girl and her brother was heartwrenching to read.
Confession: I've been fascinated with Mercy's "pimp stick" since the day it appeared. I love that it has been a constant through several books and am intrigued by the potential changes to the stick in River Marked.
I want more Stefan!!! I'm frustrated that we didn't see much of Stefan in this book or the last. The end of River Marked left me feeling hopeful about Stephan - both that we'll see more of him in the next book(s) and that things are going to work out for him.
I would have also liked to see more Warren/Kyle...I was glad she was able to work in the few scenes they did appear in.
All in all, I couldn't put it down. It will be a long, long wait until 2013 for the next book!