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Book Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Wolf or Werewolf
Wolf or Werewolf

I’ve known about Patricia Briggs for several years but have only now read her excellent novel Moon Called. It may be her debut novel––I’m not sure. Regardless, it’s great.

What tipped me over the edge to read this novel is that it takes place in the Tri-Cities area in the eastern half of Washington. Having visited the location several times over the years, I was curious to see how she described the cities and the surrounding rural environment. Honestly, I think Briggs does a wonderful job capturing the Tri-Cities––three small towns near the Hanford nuclear site. I recognize most of the references to the surrounding area, which is always fun. Just this aspect of the novel is enough to make me enjoy it.

Briggs also hit a grand slam with the characters, especially the narrator, Mercy. She is a shapeshifter, capable of transforming from human to coyote. Her world is one of werewolves, vampires, fairies, witches, and even demons. Raised by werewolves, Mercy is tough as hell and very aware that the other supernatural creatures out there are stronger and deadlier than she. The werewolves in her life, in particular, add drama, both romantic and otherwise.

What Briggs does really well in this book––the whole series, I suspect, as I am reading the second novel right now––is describe the enhanced senses Mercy possesses as a shapeshifter. Her sense of smell is especially acute, allowing her to even smell fear. The way Briggs accomplishes this is deft. Her descriptions remind us that Mercy is not precisely human even though she certainly possesses humanity.

Overall, this is a book worthy of study by aspiring fantasy authors. Readers interested in urban fantasies chock full of werewolves and vampires and other supernatural entities will thoroughly enjoy this novel and, I suspect, the others in the series.

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