I re-read this book almost entirely because I remembered it started off with Black Friday sales, and apparently that’s all it takes to make me re-read a book these days. This is book seven in the Mercy Thompson series, so if you haven’t read the previous books, Frost Burned (and this review) probably won’t interest you much. Feel free to read some of my other reviews if you prefer reading first impressions of books, or the beginnings of series so there isn’t any backstory you need to be aware of.
This cover is fine; honestly seven books into a series, I assume most people who buy the book don’t need to be swayed, so the accurate portrayal of Mercy is all this cover needs. The shading on her boobs seems a little heavy, but it’s not ridiculous by book-cover standards
Patricia Briggs’s novel River Marked was praised as “an urban fantasy where our everyday world is believably twisted into the world of fey, werewolves, vampires, and myths made real.” Now Mercy Thompson faces a shapeshifter’s biggest fear as the realm she has embraced is thrown into chaos…
Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman – the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack – has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…
After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam – or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.
Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. But she fears Adam’s disappearance may be related to the political battle the werewolves have been fighting to gain acceptance from the public – and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outmatched and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.
Frost Burned is a great addition to the Mercy Thompson series, because it breaks the mould set by the preceding novels in a few different ways. The obstacle set up to be the main conflict in the book is only a hint of the true issue, making this book interesting and action-packed. This is the kind of book that could only exist in a series, because so many characters from preceding books in the series get developed in Frost Burned that there’d be no way to make it work if the scene hadn’t already been set. This book shows us Adam in a situation he rarely finds himself in, and really allows Mercy’s resourcefulness and persistence take centre stage. That’s not new—Mercy is an independent and dynamic main character—but a variety of side characters: Gabriel, Kyle, Jesse, Sylvia, even Tony, Stefan and Marsilia get character moments in this book.
It took re-reading Frost Burned and writing this review for me to realise just how many threads get furthered or developed in this book, and it’s fascinating to see hints at ideas that get explored in future Mercy Thompson or Alpha and Omega novels. Patricia Briggs is fantastic at building a fully realised world with a wide cast of characters, and I especially enjoyed Asil’s contribution to this book (largely because I enjoy Asil’s character any time, but also because his inclusion makes for some interesting scenarios).
This book manages to set up an entirely new phase of the series (as Mercy and Adam become more closely tied to the city they claim, and the political repercussions of this) while also being an entertaining, fast-paced book in its own right. While I believe this book is well written in its own right, the sheer number of background knowledge of both the world and its characters mean that I cannot recommend it to those unfamiliar with the series. If you are interested, book one: Moon Called is well worth the read.
I genuinely don’t think many other books have the same tone as the Mercy Thompson series, but Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter novels or Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld come close. If you enjoyed those series, if you’re a fan of urban fantasy in general, or paranormal romance with a very strong female lead, the Mercy Thompson series (and Frost Burned) could be a good choice for you.