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Book: “Soul Taken” by Patricia Briggs
Publishing Info: Ace, August 2022
Where Did I Get this Book: Edelweiss+
Book Description: The vampire Wulfe is missing. Since he’s deadly, possibly insane, and his current idea of “fun” is stalking Mercy, some may see it as no great loss. But when he disappears, the Tri-Cities pack is blamed. The mistress of the vampire seethe informs Mercy that the pack must produce Wulfe to prove their innocence, or the loose alliance between the local vampires and werewolves is over.
So Mercy goes out to find her stalker—and discovers more than just Wulfe have disappeared. Someone is taking people from locked rooms, from the aisles of stores, and even from crowded parties. And these are not just ordinary people but supernatural beings. Until Wulfe vanished, all of them were powerless loners, many of whom quietly moved to the Tri-Cities in the hope that the safety promised by Mercy and Adam’s pack would extend to them as well.
Who is taking them? As Mercy investigates, she learns of the legend of the Harvester, who travels by less-trodden paths and reaps the souls that are ripe with a great black scythe. . . .
Previously Reviewed: “Moon Called,” “Blood Bound,” “Iron Kissed,” “Bone Crossed,” “Silver Borne,” “River Marked,” “Frost Burned,”and “Night Broken” , “Fire Touched” , “Silence Fallen”, “Storm Cursed” and “Smoke Bitten”
Review: I’m always happy when I see another “Mercy Thomson” book coming my way. I’ve always preferred this series to the “Alpha and Omega” companion series, and it’s been running on a high note for the last few books. Plus, I’m really getting pretty desperate about my urban fantasy situation. I’ve tried out a few things here and there, but how many of those reviews have you seen on this blog? Yeah…I think that says it all. Anyways, on to my tried and true!
Something is going on with the vampires. A sentence no one wants to hear, especially not Mercy and her pack of werewolves who are responsible for the lives of everyone in the Tri City area. The powerful and eccentric vampire, Wulfe, is missing and his mistress is also behaving strangely, tasking Mercy to find her lost vampire. At the same time, an urban legend of a powerful, dangerous weapon wielded by a being called the Harvester is beginning to sound like a bit more than a myth. On top of that, secrets in the pack are coming to a head. All just in another day for Mercy Thompson!
I really liked this entry into the Mercy Thompson series. For one thing, I was glad to see that we, again, experienced the book through Mercy’s eyes, with only a few the interruptions of chapters from Adam’s perspective. While there wasn’t a lot of character growth for either main character or changes in their relationship, this is hardly surprising considering we’re on, what, the 13th book? There was a bit of discussion around the continuing challenges of the secondary, beast form that Adam has been cursed with. I liked some of the exploration around this form being an extension of long-repressed PTSD from his time as a soldier before he became a werewolf.
For Mercy’s part, we see her continue to grapple with her understanding of her mentor/quasi-father figure, Zee, a powerful Fae being. The mystery of this book dives deeply into Zee’s own past, and we see Mercy again have to confront the darker sides of her friends. As she spends most of her time surrounded by “monsters,” this type of grappling with finding the good in beings who, in some form or another, routinely deal with death, has always been a compelling part of the story.
Beyond Zee’s story, we also get more background into Bran and his family. I was still left wanting a bit more here, but it’s always interesting when we can add layers on top of this complicated character and his sprawling history as the leader of the werewolves. Mostly, however, the book focused in on the history of the vampires we know well: Marsilia, Stephen, and, most especially, Wulfe. There was a lot of great history to be found here, and I really liked how their story was tied into the other mystery of the Harvester and how that had become an urban legend in the first place.
For everyone who enjoys this series, this was definitely a solid entry. It doesn’t advance Mercy’s own story in any significant ways, but it also continues the tradition of finding clever ways to use her shifter affinity with death magic to solve otherwise impossible situations. We also got a good amount of information about the vampires and their twisted histories and relationships. Fans of the series will likely be very happy with this one.
Rating 8: A clever use of Mercy’s magic, a nice addition to the lore of this world, and a fun story all around!