Blood Bound is the 2nd novel in the Mercy Series by Patricia Briggs. Blood Bound is a werewolf novel, along the same lines as Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series; Kim Harrison’s Witch series; and Kelly Armstrong’s werewolf series. Like those novels, this novel has a strong female character that has unusual powers that hangs out with monsters that are bigger and badder than she is, but somehow she manages to make it through whatever the situation is alive with most of her pride intact. If you have not read the first book in the series Moon Called then you should read it first as it has information about characters that you need to know before you read this book (and stop reading this review as it will give away some of the plot in the first book).
Background: This is another the fae or magical beings have always been among us and have now decided to reveal themselves novel. The lesser of the magical have already done so, and the werewolves do so at the end of Moon Called but not the really powerful fae or the vampires. The werewolves are again situated into packs with an alpha leader each with their own territory (like any other werewolf novel I have ever read). Sort of like a monarchy (like wolf packs) but in this case there is an alpha leader (who is over 200 years old) over all the packs in the United States, he is called the Marrok. The main character in this book is a sassy young female called Mercedes or Mercy. She is not a werewolf, she is a walker or someone that can shape shift (its more of a magic thing–no extra strength or healing ability which is different that an were in that they have extraordinary strength and healing abilities) and her animal is a coyote. Her uncle’s brother is a werewolf and since her mother didn’t know what else to do with her (especially when she found a coyote pup in the crib one time instead of her daughter) she sent her to live with her uncle and the werewolves. She was sent away from the pack when she was teenager due to a romantic entanglement with one of the Marrok’s sons, Samuel. She now lives in Tri-city (eastern Washington state). She is a mechanic, fixes vampire’s cars (as her payment to the Vampire “mob”)or any thing foreign. She is known to the werewolf pack there (in fact she lives next to the alpha in that district, Adam) and has become entangled in their lives at the result of the plot of the previous book.
Plot: Mercy has her hands full trying to run her garage business while balancing her “pack” life. Samuel is now living with her (her crush from when she was sixteen) and she now finds herself attracted to the local alpha, Adam.
But then Stephan the Vampire, who helped Mercy out in the last novel, calls in the favor she owed him for his help. He needs an impartial witness when he meets a vampire that has entered his mistresses’ territory without paying the fee. He brings her along in her coyote guise so that the vampire will not know who or what she is. It should have been an easy task but things go terribly wrong. Stephan becomes controlled by the vampire and it is only due to Mercy that he survives. They find out that this vampire is a sorcerer vampire or one possessed by a demon–so that makes him very dangerous and very powerful. He is killing people at random and the mistress of the vampires in Tri-City gives Stephan orders to kill the sorcerer vampire, and he gets to choose one helper–he chooses a weak vampire, Daniel. The Alpha also offers two wolves to help with the hunt, Warren (Mercy’s Friend and the Alpha’s third in charge) and Ben. They evidently find the vampire sorcerer but something goes wrong. The two vampires and Ben go missing and Warren shows up nearly dead. Now it is up to Mercy to rescue her vampire friend and Ben and kill the vampire sorcerer. But is our little coyote up to the task? Read the book and see.
Again Patricia Brigg’s novel is short this one reaches 292 pages. However, we are not shorted on plot or characterization. We find out a little bit more about the characters pasts, but not too much to bog down the story. We know enough to care, but there is still enough left that I find myself looking forward to a third novel. Action punctuates the werewolf and vampire politics enough so that we are not bored. The romantic plot is getting a little hairy with two wolves on the dating list, but it didn’t get in the way of plot. It does help us understand Mercy and the werewolves a little better. There is a moderate amount of violence and an almost sex scene (unlike the recent Hamilton novels which is heavy on violence and heavy on the sex). Which puts this novel more in the Kim Harrison category for me–although the werewolf plot itself reminds me of the Kelly Armstrong werewolf novels (although Armstrong’s novels are more sexed laden as well). I did enjoy this novel. I liked Mercy as a main character. She is believable and approaches things with a very pragmatic outlook, and doesn’t engage in violence unless she has to (but she is racking up quite a kill count now) more of what Anita Blake was in the beginning, before the sex and violence got out of control. There are still plenty of avenues to explore in future novels. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. It was a good, easy read with enough action to keep you going. So if you are looking for something to read until the new Kim Harrison novel comes out, then you should pick up Moon Called and Blood Bound and give them a try. These are also a good books to try if you like the supernatural genre but are tired of the over the top violence and sex that are found in many other books in this genre. Either way, you won’t regret giving these books a chance.