Frost Burned, by Patricia Briggs. Urban Fantasy. Hardback, 340 pages. Seventh in the series.
"I just can't sit and do nothing when you and the other people who are mine are in trouble. It isn't in me."
Frost Burned opens up with Mercy and Jesse braving the Black Friday crowds for some bonding time, and ending up bonding over a car accident instead of Darryl's new mixer. Strangely, no one in the pack is answering their phones when Mercy calls to report in about their crunchy delay. There is only one cryptic text message directly from Bran. Then Mercy and Jesse get back to Mercy's garage to find that the entire pack, except for the delightfully foul-mouthed Ben, have been kidnapped by mysterious government soldier-agents.
I have complained about other series' subscriptions to The Power of the Month Club. Unfortunately, I think that the Mercy Thompson series can now be termed The Political Power Play of the Month club. While most of the players aren't human, that doesn't mean it's not politics. I can't explain more without giving away the big bad plot reveal, but suffice to say I did have a WHAT? moment when the doorbell rang. Really. The book was over at that point. The police were notified, Adam was plotting his press conference, and there was pizza for everyone. Then suddenly a whole new set of characters showed up, and we are off to watch another fight over political problems that no one knew mattered before that page got turned. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the ending of Frost Burned was plucked out of the pile of "Rejected Fight Scenes for Bone Crossed."
And speaking of politics, in the opening scenes, the readers are reminded of what happened over in the parallel series (Alpha and Omega): that the greater Fae have rejected the US Government's laws and justice... and disappeared. However, the only impacts this appears to have on Frost Burned is that our cute half-breed Tad finally gets to show his daddy's powers, the characters never visit Uncle Mike's, and Zee is... just as cranky as usual. Never mind. Roll on...
The other fun crossover from Alpha and Omega is that Asil plays a strong and nuanced role in supporting the good government agents. Call me twisted, but I really enjoy Asil's manners and mannerisms. As a werewolf who is older than the Colonies of the New World, Asil's presence provides a deeper contrast and coloration of the other characters, especially Zee.
Along with Asil's trip into this series, Frost Burned is a roll-call of almost every character I've ever known and liked. We get a lot of Kyle time and a good amount of Jesse time, and everyone down to Mary Jo and Honey have a role - even if they only have one growl to add to the conversation. (The absence of Samuel is actually more obvious because of it.)
From the car accident to a house invasion or two, to street fights (hi, Tony!) and beyond, this book is nearly non-stop action. There are the usual arguments about how to save people and whether there are bad guys hiding in particular places. And Mercy makes her typical decisions to ride to the rescue despite risk to life, limb, and of course, vehicle. The point of view bounces from Mercy to Adam and back, with some interesting pack-bond magic providing the bridge for some of the characters knowing what they shouldn't because of where they are.
I had a great time reading Frost Burned. Briggs has fantastic talent with dialog that resonates perfectly with my warped sense of humor. I recommend this story to anyone who wants to go on with the Mercy Thompson series, regardless of your opinion of River Marked. I'll offer one spoiler for you, too: we are not playing Hospital Visit of the Month in this series. See? Isn't that nice of me?Books for 2013