Life is slowly settling back down to normal for Mercy, or at least as normal as it can get for a walker coyote living with werewolves. Things are very quiet on the vampire front, but things are about to heat up on the fae side instead. When Zee calls in the favour Mercy created by using the fae tools to kill more than one vampire, neither of them realises what kind of door that will open. Being invited onto the fae reservation is a rare honour, especially at night when most humans are tasty snacks or toys for some of the fae. Asked to sniff around a few crime scenes (literally) Mercy makes a connection between the crimes, but before she can really process the information, or help Zee make sense of the case Zee is arrested for the murder of a human - and the Grey Lords seem quite happy to throw him under the bus of human indignation and anger.
When Mercy decides to keep investigating the case, deermined to prove Zee is innocent, she comes up against the cold and deadly might of the Grey Lords who are not used to being defied. It soon becomes clear to Mercy that there is more going on than meets the eye, and a group of anti-fae protestors and agitators seem to be right in the thick of the mystery. With danger on all sides, and the tension ratcheting up with the werewolves because of her relationships with Adam and Samuel, Mercy is in for a very bumpy ride. The villain doesn';t always wear a black hat, and sometimes the mysteries you can't unlock are the ones that can get you killed. Mercy has one very tricky web of lies and half truths to untangle, and in this race against time failing to unravel the clues could have very deadly consequences - for Mercy, and the ones she loves. Mess with the fae and their magic and you might get burned.
With this third book for Mercy we really get to see an expansion of her world - Moon called introduced us to her immediate world and the family she has chosen - Blood bound introduces more of the complex world around her with vampires in particular - and in Iron kissed we are given a rather eye opening exploration of the fae and the twisted logic and laws of the Grey Lords who rule them. For the first time we also really learn what the family Mercy has chosen really means to her, and that although she may have been raised by werewolves and has them as room mate and neighbours - she really has no clue about some of the more subtle facets of werewolf life.
This is where the series really starts to get interesting, and where it first becomes apparent that you need to have a good method for keeping characters in your head because some of them are treated almost like furniture in the following books - in the sense that they are there in the story, but they don't have backgrounds explained, just like you wouldn't explain where the furniture came from. This is also the point where the two series really start to blend different genre more firmly into the framework of what would otherwise be a "fantasy" or "urban fantasy" setting - you get elements of the thriller, the murder mystery, romance, fractured fairy tales/retelling of fairy tales, and a little touch of science fiction. Re-reading this series in a short time has reminded me how much I love the series, and how much the writing has improved across the books - with each book the writing and development gets better and better. I hope there are many more stories to come for both the world of Mercy Thompson and the Alpha and Omega series. Sermon done - now go and enjoy the books!
The recommended reading order is:
- Moon called
- Cry wolf (Alpha and Omega)
- Hunting ground (Alpha and Omega)
- Blood bound
- Iron kissed
- Bone crossed
- Silver borne
- River marked
- Fair game (Alpha and Omega)
- Frost burned
- Dead heat (Alpha and Omega)
- Night broken
And to fill in the gaps there are some new (and old) short stories in:
- Shifting shadows: Stories from the world of Mercy Thompson
If you like this book then try:
- Omens by Kelley Armstrong
- Tinker by Wen Spencer
- Night shifted by Cassie Alexander
- Kitty and the midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn
- Dark descendant by Jenna Black
- Burning water by Mercedes Lackey
- Blood price by Tanya Huff
- Urban shaman by C.E. Murphy
- Spiders bite by Jennifer Estep
- Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison
- Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway
Reviewed by Brilla