Sunday, 18 October 2009

Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs

Since I’m on a roll with the Moon Called review, let’s plunge forward into Blood Bound. As far as I can tell, this is a trilogy, though the publicity materials say each is a stand-alone book. I’d say you can read Blood Bound without having read Moon Called and know what’s going on, because Moon Called tied up its ending very nicely (as did Blood Bound), but there were references to Moon Called, and jokes that arose between the stories in each book and character relationships that would make more sense having read both books. I’d say it’s probably best to read them in their intended order.

And I really freaking hope Mercy doesn’t end up with Samuel!! Actually… I was rooting for Stefan, but him being a vampire and all bodes badly for him. Adam at least respects her as a person, and it isn’t totally his fault that he’s dominating. He’s the Alpha (leader) of a pack of werewolves. That would mean understandably a control freak, but at the same time… who wants to be in a relationship with that? Samuel is one of those characters who I feel bad for, love, and want to hit with a baseball bat. I’d just say Mercy’s love life should not happen, because none of her options are very good.

That’s not what the story was about though! It was about hunting something an entire community of vampires was terrified of, which turned out to be a demon possessed (demon riding?) sorcerer turned vampire (and his idiotic sire – seriously, who would think that was a good idea?!). It was fun to see Patricia Brigg’s version of vampire society, which is about as f-ed up as you would imagine a society of vampires to be, though a bit more structured (might be the right word). Infighting, backstabbing, laws that make no sense, manipulation, magic, really old stuff that’s super powerful, total lack of concern for other creatures. Stefan’s a different sort of vampire, but even with his “good guy” appearance there was still the strain of “This is incredibly messed up” (followed by excited cackles….. I like vampires :P).

Stefan was my favorite character in this story. I still liked Mercy’s narration, but I was more interested in him than anyone else. For one, he’s a centuries old vampire who drives a mini bus painted up like the Mystery Machine complete with a stuffed Scooby-Doo in the passenger’s seat. For another, while he doesn’t kill his food, he still has a “menagerie” of 12 or 14 (I forget the exact number) humans living with him who he feeds off of. Some of them are there because they have or had medical conditions, but none of them can leave until he’s gotten complete dominance over them, which means several years. He also has no qualms about killing (or using someone else to kill so he doesn’t actually have to) bystanders to protect what he cares about. He has a strong sense of honor, but looking at it from a traditional moral perspective, it’s pretty messed up. I loved his character.

Like Moon Called, the excitement wasn’t so much what would happen, because the good guys were going to beat the bad guys; it was how that would happen. I kept wondering which of the main characters she would actually kill off and, maybe I was expecting it to be darker, was honestly a bit surprised. The mystery of the whole demon riding vampire guy wasn’t that difficult to figure out, even guessing “Hm… who would’a done something like that?” toward the beginning, but you don’t get any proof or even clear markers until nearer the end. Then you’re left wondering, “Ok… so what are they going to do about it?”

Apart from the main plot, Briggs found the space to show more of the werewolf society. You get to see female werewolves doing things other than simply hating or trying to eat Mercy. You also get to see more of the dominance system that was talked about so much in Moon Called as well as what that means for the wolves’ mates. Some of the parts I wondered if she was just doing it to show something new, but she managed to connect bits like that together to be part of the structure of the story. I thought the ideas of the structure were interesting as well. Once-humans living in a society that’s run by wolves’ instincts – it came out really neat!

Mercy’s character does a lot of growing (and shaping in other ways) since the beginning of Moon Called. Her relationships get clearer and more mixed up at the same time. You start being able to see some of the whys of her relationship decisions. Since the focus was less on what werewolves are in this story, her narration got to be more about other things like the other fae, people around her, and herself. She also gets a lot more strength, which I really hope is going somewhere good for her character. I can see it crashing and burning or turning out really interesting. I’m also curious about her abilities as a walker. You learn in Moon Called that walkers were a royal pain in the vampires’ butts for the first few decades that the vampires lived in North America, but the most you learn is that they’re impervious to most of the vampires’ magic. You learn in Blood Bound that it’s most, not all. The mistress of the vampire seethe (community) tells her that walkers can see ghosts, and along with Mercy you’re left going “… So what?” It helps Mercy in the end, but I want to know what their real power is. What made the vampires try to wipe them out?

I wish this book had lasted longer. That was my biggest problem with it, but then again, I spent most of the day reading. I enjoyed it so much that I was begrudging the time I had to walk from the station to my door because I can’t read and walk at the same time in public. Definitely getting the next book with my next round of splurging my gift cards. ^_^

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