This book has confirmed what I long thought to be true: Patricia Briggs is incapable of writing books I don't like.
I was in a real reading slump when I picked up River Marked. Almost every book I picked up left me with a desire to send letter bombs in the mail - and there seemed to be no cure in sight. I thought: "If Briggs can't get me out of this funk, no one can." And sure enough, she did.
River Marked was absolutely stellar. It was really different to the previous Mercy books, as Mercy and Adam spent 90% of the time away from home with strangers. I adored this for two reasons: 1) it was a chance for us to see how Mercy and Adam's relationship would work outside of their comfort zone. 2) it was a completely natural, realistic thing for a couple to do. Too often authors will stick to a particular group of characters or a certain location, because that's what people want to read. Not Briggs. She'll take two of your favourite characters, toss them somewhere brand new, and make you love her for it.
That said, though most of the book was spent on the road, Briggs did sneak in a few fan favourites: Bran, Stefan and Jesse all put in some rather solid appearances. Thank God, as I really needed to check in on them after Silver Borne.
So, along with the fantastic exploration of Mercy and Adam's relationship, River Marked also introduced a bunch of Native American mythology... which I loved. I read stories about Coyote and Raven when I was a girl, so seeing their stories incorporated into River Marked was a dream. Without giving away too many details... I also really liked how Briggs dealt with Mercy's family history. Maybe other readers will find it a bit iffy, but I thought she handled it all very well.
You can also see the beginnings of a bunch of new plot lines in River Marked; I am positively twitching with impatience with the need to find out what Briggs has planned! I was starting to worry that she was wrapping up the Mercy series, but I can picture at least 5 more books worth of content she can cover after this.Bottom line?
A stellar - albeit, very different - instalment in the Mercy series. If you are looking for a UF series that can hold up six books in, look no further.Cover Note:
I've used the US cover for this post as I absolutely loathe the new UK covers. The covers are actually what kept me from reading this book for so long - I just couldn't stand the idea of buying the UK version! Only reason I bought it in the end was because I spotted it at Oxfam. Will need to get the US cover on bookdepository one of these days...