Aside - I had a choice here of either using the gorgeous US cover, or the horrible UK one. I've chosen the gorgeous US one. One of the reasons I stopped reading Kim Harrison's series was because the UK covers are frankly awful. Hmmm I may blog post about this issue separately. On with the review.
Set in a world where the minor fae have 'come out' to humans, whilst the more powerful fae, and supernaturals such as werewolves and vampires keep themselves hidden from human eyes. Moon Called is an impressive start to a new werewolf / shapeshifter series. When a newbie werewolf arrives at Mercy Thompson's garage looking for work, it sets a chain of events in motion that will bring her past and present together, and have repercussions for all those around her.
(It's interesting to note here that this is also in a way, where the Charles and Anna series (Alpha & Omega, Cry Wolf) begins. Page 108 of the US copy is where Charles is sent to Chicago. If you haven't read Moon Called but have read Cry Wolf I'd strongly suggest you read the Mercy Thompson series as well. As this is where we're first introduced to Bran and his sons.
Mercy makes an appealing heroine, not least because as a skin-walker she changes into a coyote (much weaker than a werewolf); meaning she has to rely on her brains and cunning to get her out of trouble. And sometimes she just has to deal with the consequences of her actions. She isn't perfect, she makes mistakes, and I think this more than anything is why she's one of my favourite UF heroines. She may be a skin-walker but she's also very human. She's incredibly loyal to her friends and family even when that puts her in danger.
Okay. He was scary. Really scary. He'd probably have been scary even when he was just a human. But it wouldn't do to let him know he intimidated me.She tries to do the right thing.
This is a wonderful story, populated with well-drawn and interesting characters. One of the things that makes it so fascinating is the detail in the complex relationships between the members of the various werewolf packs and how Mercy fits into that equation. Also the influence she has within the pack structure as someone brought up with werewolves but not a werewolf herself. This gives her some leeway with the strict social rules that govern werewolf society and allows her to intervene in situations where the hands of the Alpha are tied.
"You manipulative bastard," I said, with a tinge of awe.A fact that some of the werewolves aren't too proud to use to their advantage.
We're introduced to the Marrok's (Bran's) pack in Montana, and the Colombia Basin Pack (Adam's) in the Tri-Cities area. In this book we also find out about the slightly confrontational relationship between Adam and Mercy, with chemistry just simmering under the surface. And the older relationship she has with Samuel (Bran's son). The triangle starts here.
The only problem I had with this book, was that the vampire section seemed a little superfluous to the plot. (As the second book deals more with them, this was probably to serve as an introduction, but I thought it took the action away from the werewolves and wasn't strictly necessary.)
Although the werewolf hierarchy that Patricia Briggs writes about is familiar, she manages to make the world Mercy lives in, unique. Partly I think because she doesn't shortchange the complexities of the relationships between characters. Not everything is resolved here. Moon Called reaches a satisfying conclusion but we are left with enough dangling plot threads to make us look forward to the next book. If you like Kelley Armstrong and Ilona Andrews, I think this is another series that you'll love.
Book 2 - Blood Bound
Book 3 - Iron Kissed
Coming February 2009 Book 4 - Bone Crossed Hardcover