Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11)

Storm CursedStorm Cursed
by Patricia Briggs
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9780425281291
Series: Mercy Thompson #11
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages: 358
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.
And a coyote shapeshifter.
And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

My rating would indicate I wasn’t all that thrilled with this book, but I was.  I thought it was a very solid entry in the series – it holds its own – though it isn’t the best.

I had, overall, three disconnects with the book that stick in my mind after 24 hours.  From least important to most they are:

1.  The blurb set up an unreasonable expectation for me.  The blurb, coupled with the cover, made me think of the scene in X-Men 3, where Jane Grey unleashes the mother of all temper tantrums.  The reality in this book, while horrifying in itself, is rather underwhelming in comparison; it’s not really a storm so much as it’s a killing spree.

2.  I get it: Mercy really doesn’t like being bound to Stefan, even though she freely admits she consented and that he’s never, ever done anything to abuse her trust or exploit said bond.  To Mercy I say: get over it already.

3.  And this is really the stickler, the reason I rated a story I mostly enjoyed so low:  animal cruelty and death.  I get it – the story is about black magic that feeds on suffering – and I don’t care.  I did not like the long swaths of descriptions; the story didn’t need it either – it was horrifying enough without Briggs putting images in my head I’m really not happy about.  I frankly skipped large sections of the book when I discovered she was running with this “theme”.   I can’t believe I didn’t DNF the damn thing, though the rest of the story was good enough that I’m glad I didn’t.  But I’ll vet her next books far more closely in future and I’m skipping any that appear to revisit this crap.

Beyond those things, the story really was good. I loved Sherwood’s part in the story even though it was shades of Bran; Briggs still made it work well.  I found Larry the Goblin King sort of funny, and definitely intriguing – I enjoy stories about, if not underdogs, people who are underestimated.  It sounds like the goblins are woefully underestimated.  I have mixed feelings about Elizaveta, though I’ll probably not miss her, and I enjoyed Mercy finally figuring out that her own strengths were unexplored.  It took her long enough, but at least she got there in the end.

Overall a strong story if you can overlook the animal cruelty, which I can’t.  My enthusiasm for this series has suffered a significant hit; I won’t go so far as to say I’m done, but I’m certainly looking at the next release with a lot more circumspection.

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