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Book Review: Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

[March 6, 2018] Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Title: Burn Bright

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha & Omega #5

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Overview: They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn… -Goodreads

The Review:

As Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite urban fantasy writers, I love that I have a new release from her to look forward to every year. Reading her books always feels like cuddling up with a warm fuzzy blanket when it’s snowing outside. Burn Bright was a nice installment in the Alpha & Omega series. Perhaps not quite as strong as the last couple of books, but still loads of fun all the same.

The positives were abundant: an interesting mystery to solve (one which I’m sure we’ll see repercussions from in the next Mercy book), plenty of Anna and Charles awesomeness (because their relationship dynamic is still one of my favorites), Marrok werewolf pack politics (a topic of which I never tire reading), and an easy flow of writing that absorbs you for a good ride. Essentially, all of the basics I’ve come to expect from a Briggs novel in abundance.

All that said, I wish the book could’ve had tighter pacing, most notably in the second half. The main story halted several times so other stories could be told and, while they were all interesting and completely relevant to the plot, they effectively killed any building momentum for me. It wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means (because the stories were good), but compared to the last two novels where the story practically careened towards the finish in a can’t-put-it-down-for-anything manner, Burn Bright was just okay in that regard.

Overall, anything Briggs produces is a good read, and this wasn’t an exception. I delighted in learning more about the dynamics within the Marrok’s pack (and especially loved the inclusion of Asil – one of the most interesting side characters in the saga). I love enigmas in books, and Briggs has several she’s been slowing revealing more about for years. It keeps me coming back with gusto!

Recommendations: I’m a huge fan of this series (and Patricia Briggs herself – you won’t meet a more gracious author) and would recommend them to both urban fantasy fans and those new to the genre. At this point, the link between the Alpha & Omega and Mercy Thompson books is strong enough that you should consider reading both series simultaneously by publication order to avoid major spoilers. Additionally, I would encourage you to pick up Shifting Shadows, a brilliant short story compilation, before diving in to Burn Bright.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Berkley Publishing Group, Patricia Briggs, and Netgalley for the chance to read and review an early copy of Burn Bright!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Burning Bright by Patricia Briggs

Title: Burning Bright

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha & Omega #5

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: March 8, 2018 

The Overview: They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm. With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn… -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

I am totally in love with this series, which is saying something considering I wasn’t completely convinced until the third book. These are strong urban fantasies with interesting characters compelling mysteries. I think if Briggs is not careful the Alpha & Omega series is going to go toe to toe with Mercy Thompson herself (as far as amazingness is concerned). If you haven’t read the spinoff, I’d recommend starting with the Alpha & Omega short story.

Who else is excited for a new Patricia Briggs?!

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

March 7, 2017

Title: Silence Fallen

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercedes Thompson #10

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Release Date: March 7, 2017

The Overview: Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe… Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…  -Goodreads

The Review:

Anything written by Patricia Briggs these days is pure gold. I always try to savor them (the year-long wait between books is brutal!), but always seem to find myself devouring pages like there’s no tomorrow! The Mercy Thompson series is the sort of guaranteed good read that leaves me no doubt I’m going to love every moment. Silence Fallen was another awesome book in a long line of killer novels.

Without giving anything important away, I think it’s safe to reveal that Silence Fallen takes place primarily in another country. It was a much-appreciated change of scenery. Briggs provided an immersive experience rich in history and vibrant and description. It was a lot of fun getting to explore new environments (notice I haven’t mentioned where? The discovery is part of the fun! You’ll have to read it to find out). My only hold up is that I thought historical facts could’ve been integrated a little bit smoother. Briggs utilized the character’s personal knowledge of the place a little too often to be believable. Seriously, are you really going to be able to recall tiny details about a place you learned about in passing years ago in college? I didn’t totally buy it, but that’s probably because I can’t remember what I did yesterday. :) Regardless of delivery, the description was incredibly well researched and made me feel like I was there. It was a new adventure filled with fun discoveries and interesting villains. 

Silence Fallen also offered multiple POVs, something I LOVED because I just can’t get enough of Adam Hauptman. His perspective adds so much richness to the story and I’m hoping it won’t be the last time he gets a moment in the spotlight.

Overall, Silence Fallen was packed with an awesome mix of supernatural, humor, romance, and action, topping itself off with one wallop of a surprise at the end that will knock you out of your armchair. If you haven’t given this series a try, you’re totally missing out!

I’d like to thank Berkley Publishing Group, Patricia Briggs, and NetGalley for the chance to read and review an early copy of Silence Fallen.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Death’s Mistress by Terry Goodkind

January 10, 2017

Title: Death’s Mistress

Author: Terry Goodkind

Series: Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: January 10, 2017

The Overview: Onetime lieutenant of the evil Emperor Jagang, known as “Death’s Mistress” and the “Slave Queen”, the deadly Nicci captured Richard Rahl in order to convince him that the Imperial Order stood for the greater good. But it was Richard who converted Nicci instead, and for years thereafter she served Richard and Kahlan as one of their closest friends–and one of their most lethal defenders. Now, with the reign of Richard and Kahlan finally stablized, Nicci has set out on her own for new adventures. Her first job being to keep the unworldly prophet Nathan out of trouble… –Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

No. Goodkind can’t do this to me after I finally made peace with DNFing Omen Machine. Now he has to come out with a new series from Nicci’s point of view? As soon as I found out about this, I started agonizing whether or not I really wanted to read it. After all, I DNFed Omen Machine for a reason (it was as if all of his bad habits of repetition and redundancy were back with a vengeance… I found the entire thing unbearably self-indulgent). Death’s Mistress means I’ll either have to catch up with the storyline (I don’t wanna), start it out of order (OCD WARNING: SYSTEM FAILURE!), Or ignore it. I’m both looking forward to and dreading its release in January.

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

March 7, 2017

Title: Silence Fallen

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercedes Thompson #10

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: March 7, 2017

The Overview: Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe… Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…  -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

 The Mercy Thompson series is in strong contention for my favorite urban fantasy. Fire Touched (Book #9) was one of the best ones yet and I have absolute confidence that Silence Fallen is going to be just as good. This series has a fun story, stellar characters, great paranormal infusion, and a healthy dash of humor – which are just some of the reasons why it’s so great. March is waaaaaay too far away!

-> If you liked this series but haven’t yet read Alpha & Omega, you’re missing out!

What book are you waiting on?

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Book Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Title: Fire Touched

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #9

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the Fae. Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched? [Via Goodreads]

The Review:

I love Patricia Briggs and consider her among my all-time favorite urban fantasy writers alongside Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and Keri Arthur. She’s one of those authors who has been consistently good for so long that her books are on my very short “auto-buy” list. I never worry if I’ll like them or not (I always do) because they are the kind of guaranteed good reads that I’d save for rainy days if I wasn’t so eager to gobble them up the minute they hit the stands. Fire Touched, book 9 in the Mercy Thompson series, was no exception!

All of Briggs’ books have an excellent balance of internal and external conflicts. In every book, the crew has one big problem to solve (usually a supernatural monster of some sort) which leads to a lot of exciting, action-packed scenes. In Fire Touched, the problem, or “monster,” is the Gray Court of the Fae. Now, by this point in the series, Briggs has developed the Fae into a dynamic and complex society that I personally find absolutely fascinating to read about. This novel offers more of a glimpse into their inner workings and politics then we’ve seen before and, as usual, Mercy and Adam are right in the middle of the conflict.

I have to say, as good as the author is at creating engaging broad conflicts for her characters, it’s the smaller, interpersonal conflicts that make these books so much fun to read. Once again I found myself just as immersed in the werewolf pack’s dynamics as I was during the exciting battle scenes (if not more). The characters are all realistic and vibrant, and watching them argue and work out issues with one another is one of my little joys in life. In this book in particular, it felt like the focus was more on these interpersonal dynamics rather than the broader conflict (which I loved), but there were a couple of occasions where the plot seemed a little disjointed. That said, it all came together beautifully in the end and now I’m eager as ever to see what happens next.

As a bookseller who loved recommending titles, the “Mercy Thompson” series was easily my favorite urban fantasy to hand-sell. The story is less intimidating than say, the “Dresden Files” (which I also love) and makes a better first impression than “The Hollows” series (another favorite), and is a lot of fun to read. Now let’s face it, you’re probably not going to be very interested in my review of book 9 unless you’ve already read up to this point. If you haven’t, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of “Moon Called,” the first in the series. Additionally, I’d recommend the Alpha and Omega series and suggest reading them alongside the Mercy books based on publication date, as the two series start to overlap as they get further along. That’s 13 books (so far) of great storytelling to look forward to! It makes me want to go back and reread them all. For those of you who have read up to this point, if you’re interested in reading more about Thomas and Marsilia, I’d recommend the short story “Fairy Gifts” found in the novella compilation “Shifting Shadows.”

I’d like to thank Berkley Publishing Group, Patricia Briggs, and NetGalley for the chance to read and review a reviewer copy of Fire Touched.

Other books you might like:

 by Niki Hawkes