Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

Car mechanic and sometime shapeshifter Mercy Thompson has learned, the hard way, why her race was almost exterminated. When European vampires immigrated to North America, they found Mercy's people had a hidden talent - for vampire slaying. Unfortunately for Mercy, the queen of the local vampire seethe has discovered her true identity. She's also furious when she learns Mercy has crossed her and killed one of her vampires. Mercy may be protected from direct reprisals by the werewolf pack (and her interesting relationship with its Alpha), but that just means Marsilia will come after Mercy some other way. So Mercy had better prepare to watch her back.

Mercy is just one of those characters you can't forget. She's strong and full of conviction, but she's a catalyst for unbelievable change. Things just happen around Mercy almost without her doing anything, and all of Patricia Briggs' books are filled with Mercy reacting to her environment - and of course the people in them. I love shapeshifters. Call them whatever you want, the primal energy that authors can give to characters so intrinsically bound to nature is amazing, and Mercy, her Alpha werewolf buddy Adam, and all the different kinds of Fae that are introduced exemplify this perfectly. But I think part of what makes me so happy to read this series are the emotions of everyone involved. I mean, Briggs writes great mysteries, full of suspense and murder and excitement, but like all good authors, the relationships that she creates for her characters draw me back. The emotional upheavals that Mercy experiences (trying hard for no spoilers here!) are almost excrutiating to read, but I couldn't stop! It's like a compulsion. Unsurprisingly I recommend this book, along with the others that come beforehand.

The Scarletti Curse by Christine Feehan

Strange, twisted carvings and hideous gargoyles adorned the palazzo
of the great Scarletti family. But a still more fearful secret lurked within its storm-tossed turrets. For every bride who entered its forbidding walls was doomed to leave in a casket.

Mystical and unfettered, Nicoletta had no terror of ancient curses and no fear of marriage…until she looked into the dark mesmerizing eyes of Don Scarletti. She had sworn no man would command her, had thought her gift of healing set her apart, but his was the right to choose a bride from among his people. And he had chosen her.

Compelled by duty, drawn by desire, she gave her body into his keeping, and prayed the powerful, tormented don would be her heart's destiny, and not her soul's demise.

Christine Feehan is one of my favorite authors. She always brings so much life to her characters (haha, little joke, because a lot her books are about pseudo-vampire guys called Carpathians). In this particular novel I think she does a wonderful job of making her book a very much Gothic style romance without making it too dramatic or unrelateable. I mean, you do have to be open to reading a book where the two main characters are 'paranormal' - both Nicoletta and Don Scarletti have telepathic powers, and Nicoletta in particular has the power to heal people. But together, their happy ending is always something the reader roots for. There are hidden enemies and memories which may or may not be true, and through it all you never lose touch with the romance at the heart of this tale. Nicoletta may be the innocent maiden but she does understand desire, and Don Scarletti shows the best of himself when he is with her and allowed to express his feelings and desire for her freely. I highly recommend this book, no matter what kind of romance, or non-romance, book you might think you tend to, because Feehan does a great job of making every reader feel welcome.