Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: River Marked (Mercy Thompson #6)

Being a different breed of shape-shifter -- a walker -- Mercy can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River -- and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil...

River Marked, the sixth novel in the Mercy Thompson series, begins with Mercy visiting the home of her vampire friend, Stefan. She discovers that his menagerie (human hosts for blood) are starved and wasting away. He feels guilty for not protecting them in Bone Crossed. Mercy cheers him up by taking him out for a movie with the werewolves. Meanwhile, the novel shifts to her long-delayed wedding and honeymoon with Alpha werewolf mate, Adam Hauptmann. The couple spends their honeymoon in a campground near the Columbia River Basin.

Meanwhile, an ancient evil lurks in the depths of the river. When Mercy tries to rescue a semi-conscious man in a floating boat, she scratches her legs on rough weeds in the water. According to local legend, she has become "river marked" by the lake. Those who are marked become possessed and later succumbed to their death in the lake. The monster won't stop until it has captured Mercy for good.

Overall, I did not enjoy this installment. First, it was very short (325 pages) and felt more like an extended short story with mundane details. The supernatural activities do not happen until the second-half of the novel where the pacing changes dramatically. Another annoying feature was major characters, such as Stefan, are briefly mentioned only in the first half and never referenced again. I thought this structure was misleading and disappointing. Nevertheless, the plot gradually improves when the story transitions into ancient Native American mythology. Mercy surprisingly meets her ancestor and the other ancient and powerful shape-shifters (e.g., Hawk, Wolf, Thunderbird, etc.). Although this novel focuses more on Adam throughout the novel, his role action-wise is minor because Mercy is the heroine (as usual).

It seems Mercy is always pulled into dangerous situations that are nearly life-threatening! While Briggs adds humor to make this battle less terrifying, Mercy does come across as hopeless and nervous in this novel. In the previous novels, she has a more cunning and courageous personality that I did not sense at all in River Marked. Plus, this novel also felt rushed and ended on an incomplete note. Too bad Mercy and Adam did not have a positive honeymoon! Fans should wait to purchase the paperback edition. I hope Briggs take this as a lesson learned and releases a better novel with a better plot and character development.

Stay tuned for the seventh novel in the Mercy Thompson series, Frost Burned.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Abandoned Castles and Chateaux

I have two weeks left in this semester. As a result, my schedule has become extremely busy in the past four weeks. This explains why I have not posted much on my blog.

If you are interested in history, AOL Travel has a photo gallery of abandoned castles and chateaux in Europe. The buildings look creepy and haunted. If you're a ghost hunter, these places are worth visiting. (Please be cautious at nighttime!)