Sunday, 18 October 2009

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called is narrated by Mercy, a history major turned VW mechanic and probably the most entertaining first person narrator I’ve read yet. She’s smart and snarky and written well enough to be a darn good storyteller. The problem with a lot of first person narratives is that the narrator babbles too much (Mercy does occasionally, but it’s usually funny enough that you want to read it) and reveals too much. They also tend to repeat things over and over, which is one thing I found Mercy doing, but not too much – little enough that it could be brushed off as “This is for the reader who wasn’t paying attention or flat out didn’t get it the first time.”

The writing style was really easy to read; very clean, very organized, and very relaxed. The story had a good number of clichés in it, but with werewolves, vampires, and all kinds of fae, how can you avoid that? The plot was predictable in some ways, but I still found myself reading until 3AM because, while the main curve was predicable (good guys win, bad guys loose), what happened in the interim wasn’t.

It’s considered Urban Fantasy, and this is the first book I’ve read that’s been specifically called that (though if Moon Called is typical of the genre, I can think of several supernatural type stories that could be added into there or maybe are and I just don’t know it). Werewolves is the biggest group, or at least the one with the most focus. They are collected into packs, which are joined under a stronger leader who governs the pack leaders on the continent from how it sounded… at least the US at any rate. They’re fairly brutal when it comes to pack law – break it and you might end up dead for the good of the pack – but not savage. The same goes for the vampires. In this world the lesser fae have been revealed to the public, and met with fear and some violence, so the werewolves and vampires are being extra careful not to be uncovered. The top pack leader is considering revealing their existence to the world since it’s already fairly well known to the government and it’s only a matter of time.

Mercy is not a werewolf, but she was raised by them. She’s a skin walker, but not the type that actually puts on a skin and causes mayhem. She turns into a coyote and is, apparently, the bane of vampires. Her magic is rooted in Native American magic rather than European, like werewolves, vampires, and fae. It makes her stand out as a character, so much like the werewolves but much more human and at the same time neither. It could have failed horribly, but it was done (so far) carefully enough that she has an important enough role as her character, and not just as a one of a kind creature, that it worked.

There are several human characters as well, some oblivious to the werewolves around them, some related to werewolves. All of the characters had a lot of life to them. I wouldn’t say the book was deep literature, but it was a damn good read. I certainly enjoyed it – enough to buy the next book and look up the author’s other work.
This wasn’t as detailed a review as I wanted to do, but I finished the book last week, read two more since then, and am half way through my third, so it’s not as fresh in my memory. On top of that, I don’t want to retell the story, and it is really more the story and characters that are the charm of this book. I love them! I want to smack some of them, but I love them and I want to know what happens to them. I’d say that’s a good book.

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