This cover is pretty bland, but that’s probably because it came out in an affordable paperback, so I’m fine for the cover to be a little more bland
Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.
Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.
Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.
It won’t, can’t, remain.
Not if I have anything to say about it.
I’m a long-time fan of the Mercy Thompson series (I believe I found the series at book 5?), so it’s no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed Smoke Bitten. The plot is fast-moving but multi-layered, with some excellent character moments, as well as some promising tie-ins to future books in both this series, and the parallel Alpha and Omega series, also by Patricia Briggs.
This review will likely be short, because I figure anyone reading a review of book 12 in a series is already invested. That being said, I thoroughly appreciate Patricia Briggs’s ability to write familiar characters, in familiar situations (because Mercy facing down threats is standard fare, at this stage) without seeming to re-hash anything. I could have done without the Christy situation at the beginning of the book (it was the only thing that seemed a little played out), but I loved that Adam got a little bit of development in Smoke Bitten.
This book is full of threats to Mercy and the pack, and it was great to see her deal with (almost) all of them over the course of the novel. I’m glad that Mercy has genuinely grown as a character, and is now more confident of herself and her various abilities. Her relationship with Adam was also a key sub-plot in this novel, and I’ll never get tired of reading healthy romantic relationships between the main character and their significant other. Family relationships are also done incredibly well in this series, and I was glad to see that Jesse (and her relationship with Mercy) has matured.
Along with the intriguing characters introduced in Smoke Bitten, it was nice to have more page-time for Wulfe. I think he’s a fascinating character, and if this book is any indication, he’ll soon have more time to shine. I was glad that Darryl and Auriele seem set to receive more character development, and it was good to see Aidan and Joel settle into their place in the pack. The world of the Mercy Thompson series is fairly well established at this point, but there were a few bits of new information, as well as a hint to a major event in future books (whether in this series or the Alpha and Omega novels remains to be seen).
I do feel the need to mention that this book has potentially triggering content, and if references to an attempted suicide are something you avoid, you might want to skip this book.
In all, this book is largely for returning readers. It could stand alone if necessary, but a lot of relationship growth, backstory and world building would be lost on new readers. Reading Fire Touched and Storm Cursed before you read Smoke Bitten may also be a good idea, to brush up on the characters and events of those novels. The Mercy Thompson series would be a good fit for fans of urban fantasy, who enjoyed the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews or the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost.
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