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Patricia Briggs

fantasy author Patricia Briggs(1965- )
Shortly after her sixth birthday, Patricia Briggs discovered there were dwarves living in the mines and elves in the forests of Butte Montana. The hob in the garage really startled her the first time she met him, but they’ve been good friends ever since. The urge to share her discoveries with the rest of the world led her to writing. Now she lives in Washington state with her husband, children, and a small herd of horses. There is a nice resource for writers at Patricia Briggs’ website.

Masques: Patricia Briggs’ debut novel

Masques by Patricia Briggs

Aralorn, a short, plain, and outspoken young lady who always hated to “sit and sew” in her father’s court, works as a mercenary and spy. She’s not particularly good with the sword (the staff is her weapon of choice), but her shapeshifting ability is a pretty useful skill. She’s sometimes aided by the wolf she saved a few years ago. He comes and goes and Aralorn knows that he’s more than he seems. When the evil mage Jeffrey starts planning world domination, Aralorn and Wolf plan to stop him.

Masques kept me entertained for 9 hours and 48 minutes (I listened to Brilliance Audio’s version). Though there’s nothing new in Patricia Briggs’ debut novel, and not much that surprised or inspired me, it was pleasantly diverting. Masques is definitely predictable in places and it relies on a few too many convenient occurrences as well as several t... Read More

Wolfsbane: Plot lacks thrills, but romance is sweet

Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs

Wolfsbane, the sequel to Patricia Briggs’ debut novel Masques, was written later in her career and just published last month. It continues the story of the shapeshifters Aralorn and Wolf, whose relationship has developed significantly since the beginning of Masques. Aralorn has been called home after a ten-year absence because her father has died. When she and her “pet” Wolf arrive, they find some evil magic at work and a mystery to solve.

As you’d expect, Briggs’ writing is better this time. She has a smooth style that I find pleasant to read (or in this case, listen to, since I read this on audio, again read by Katherine Kellgren). I enjoyed spending more time with Aralorn and Wolf and agree with Ms. Briggs who, in the humble introduction to the book, said she wrote Wolfsbane Read More

Steal the Dragon: Fun, light fantasy with some disturbing subtexts

Steal the Dragon by Patricia Briggs

In Steal the Dragon, Patricia Briggs creates yet another strong, believable female protagonist in Rialla, a horse trainer and ex-slave from the country of Darran, who now lives in Sianim. (In fact, Steal the Dragon is technically part of a series called SIANIM, but as the books in the series do not share a lot of plot or characters, merely a setting, you don’t have to read the others to enjoy it.) She learns from the spymaster of Sianim that an influential lord in Darran would like to outlaw slavery, but that his life is in danger. Against her better judgment, she travels back to her home country in the guise of a slave to Laeth, her trusted friend and the brother to the lord of Darran. They hope to uncover the threat to Laeth’s brother and ensure ... Read More

The Hob’s Bargain: Too short, but not bad

The Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs

I think that the ability to create a world that is filled with magic and unknown places is perhaps too great a task to do in one book. There is a degree of detail that we, as readers, have come to expect due to the growing trend of long multi-volume series.

In The Hob's Bargain, Patricia Briggs does a good job of telling a story within the constraints of a single volume. The heroine is interesting and relatively likeable, but not terribly believable. That's probably because there simply isn't enough space in a single short volume to do much in the way of character development.

The setting is a small village that goes through several disasters in a short time. The heroine loses her new husband and her family and is plagued by an onset of magical power in a community that equates magic with evil. Add to this mix the return of mythical magi... Read More

Dragon Bones: Despite falling short at times, still an entertaining read

Dragons Bones by Patricia Briggs

Dragon Bones is the first book in Patricia Briggs’ HUROG duology. Ward, our main character, has lived the past seven years of his life playing the role of a simpleton, ever since his father nearly beat him to death. His pretending has kept him alive all these years, but when his father dies in a hunting accident Ward is suddenly declared the heir of Hurog. He now has to convince his remaining family and friends that he has what it takes to rule Hurog, while also keeping his eyes on the threat posed by his uncle, who he isn’t sure he can trust.

Although I’m a big fan of Briggs’ MERCY THOMPSON books, I often find myself wishing she would return to the high fantasy novels she produced earlier in her writing career. Dragon Bones and its sequel aren’t my favorite of her earlier works (in my opinion the later... Read More

Raven’s Shadow: A fun, easy read with good worldbuilding

Raven’s Shadow by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs’ novel Raven’s Shadow begins with a rescue and a romance. Tier, a Rederni ex-soldier, saves young Seraph, a Traveler girl, from murder at the hands of some ruffians in a tavern and a strange, dangerous man in the forest. Intrigued by this brave, foolhardy girl, Tier takes her home to his village to protect her from the forces that follow. Travelers are Briggs’ answer to Patrick Rothfuss’ Edema Ruh or Robert Jordan’s Tuatha’an... you know, your typical “gypsy” stereotype that seems to pop up in most high fantasy novels with lots of worldbuilding. In Raven’s Shadow, they are known for their innate uncanny... Read More

Raven’s Strike: A solid sequel

Raven’s Strike by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs’ second novel in her RAVEN DUOLOGY, Raven’s Strike, picks up where the last novel leaves off. Seraph and her family have been reunited and are back on their way toward Redern, eager to get to the bottom of the mystery that presented itself during Tier’s captivity in Taela, the capital. Namely, what does The Path, the new religion developing in the septs, have to do with Traveler’s Orders? And why are so many ordered Travelers dying, and what is happening to their powers?

This book gives us a more in-depth introduction to new characters, as well. Phoran, the Emporer, is a frightened young man when we meet him in Raven’s Shadow. Here, he has developed a backbone and has decided to accompany Tier and Seraph on thei... Read More

Moon Called: A vulnerable, believable urban fantasy heroine

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson is an anomaly: a female automobile mechanic who owns her own shop, half Native American, and ― in a world with werewolves, vampires, fae and other supernatural beings ― she is one of a very few “walkers,” or skinwalkers, able to easily shapeshift into a coyote at will, without regard to phases of the moon. When Mercy surprised her human mother by turning into a coyote pup when she was three months old, her mother, not knowing what else to do, turned her over to be raised by a werewolf pack. Mercy left the pack as a teenager, but still is watched over by the werewolves, particularly Adam Hauptman, the alpha werewolf who shares her back fence line and with whom she has a sometimes uneasy alliance. Their relationship is a confusing mix of attraction and, on Mercy’s side, bravado tinged with fear that the alpha werewolf will override her free will and autonomy.

When a starving te... Read More

Blood Bound: Briggs has created a detailed, layered world

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Owing a favor to a vampire is pretty much always going to be asking for trouble. Stefan, a vampire who’s been a help and even a friend to Mercy Thompson, calls her at three a.m. to go witness his confrontation with a new vampire in town. But Stefan gives Mercy his word of honor that she won’t be hurt, and asks her to shapeshift into her coyote form to accompany him. The new vampire, Cory Littleton, has a rather mundane name, but his nature is anything commonplace: there is a demon inside of Littleton, and it’s not entirely clear whether the vampire is controlling the demon or is possessed by him. In any case, their meeting turns out to be fraught with danger and death, since Littleton possesses demonic-enhanced sorcerous powers that make him extremely dangerous to everyone in town, including vampires and werewolves as well as humans. As Mercy, Stefan and other vampires and werewolves combine to try to track ... Read More

Iron Kissed: This story keeps getting better

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs, who has explored werewolf and vampire societies in the first two volumes of her MERCY THOMPSON urban fantasy series, turns her attention to fae society in this third volume. In the second volume, Blood Bound, Mercy had been lent a powerful knife, a fae treasure, by Zee, her former boss and a fae, to kill a demon-ridden vampire. When Mercy used the knife for an additional and very much unauthorized purpose, she knew there would be consequences and that she would need to repay the favor in some way. It turns out that owing a favor to one of the fae is pretty much as dangerous as owing a favor to a vampire.

Like the werewolves, the fae have been gradually disclosing their existence and some of their members to humanity, based on the theory that with the ever-increasing sophistication of technology, humans were going to find out about them anywa... Read More

Bone Crossed: Mercy doesn’t cry mercy

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

In Bone Crossed, the fourth installment in the Mercedes Thompson series, Mercy is learning to cope with her new role as the mate of the local werewolf pack while still suffering the effects of a horrific assault that occurred at the climax of Iron Kissed. Complications from inter-species conflicts remain a central theme, and her relationship challenges don’t simply fade away, but Mercy Thompson does not cry mercy.

Patricia Briggs keeps the story moving, introducing new plot elements which require Mercy to constantly re-evaluate and adjust. Another author might wave a magic wand and make things all better for Mercy, but Briggs doesn’t, and my respect for her writing deepens as a result. Too many authors leave their heroes static, allowing everything to magically work out right wi... Read More

Silver Borne: More baggage for Mercy

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Woohoo! Another Mercy Thompson book from Patricia Briggs’ is hitting the shelves. I had just finished book four (Bone Crossed) only a few weeks ago, so I was very happy to get a chance to read Silver Borne so soon afterwards.

I love the Mercy Thompson series. I started reading it while waiting for the next Dresden Files novel and they have been a worthy diversion. Silver Borne, the fifth book in the series, continues the story of Were-Coyote and VW mechanic Mercy Thompson. With each installment Mercy has found herself in deeper trouble, and Read More

River Marked: Is Mercy finally going to get a break?

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson has been through a lot. Patricia Briggs has not spared her heroine anything and, in River Marked, if feels like Mercy is finally going to get a break... This feeling, however, is not to last...

The first quarter of River Marked focuses on Mercy's plans to marry alpha werewolf Adam Hauptmann. She's also still dealing with some of the lingering problems from previous books, like the recovery of her vampire friend Stefan and her continued adjustment to being a coyote in a wolf pack.

After the wedding, Mercy and Adam head out on a honeymoon that is fated for disaster. With the usual lead-up, Mercy must eventually confront and defeat a truly Lovecraftian monster. I have to give Briggs credit for dreaming up such a nasty creature!


The best par... Read More

Frost Burned: Mercy’s growing up

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs 

Slipping back into the world of Mercy Thompson comes so easily for me. I don’t struggle with a huge readjustment because everything feels so familiar and Patricia Briggs has such an easy style to enjoy. Tragically, this at times means that I am not as engrossed in the story as I expect to be, because it feels much like more of the same thing over again.

Frost Burned is the seventh novel in the MERCY THOMPSON series. Mercy has gone through a lot in past editions, so when she is caught up in a relatively mundane car accident I almost had to chuckle because it’s just her luck. The fact that she and her stepdaughter are not seriously injured in the crash is about par for the course, but when she starts to make calls back to her husband and his werewolf pack, things begin to fall apart.


In many... Read More

Night Broken: Mercy keeps growing

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson-Hauptman’s evolution from grease-monkey rebel to wife of the Alpha of the local werewolf pack has been a slow process. At her core she remains the caring, hard-working, selfless woman we always liked, but life has a way of throwing her curve balls. So, when her husband’s ex-wife/mother of his only child comes running to the pack for help, Mercy has to find a way to cope.

Mercy’s husband, Adam, is truly a knight in shining armor. When someone he is connected to needs help, it’s not in his character to resist. He takes care of those he cares about, even when it’s not easy. Christy, Adam’s ex, is everything that Mercy is not. She is gentle-spoken, domestic, a great cook and really, really pretty.  Well, Mercy is pretty too, but she doesn’t put the same kind of effort into it that Christy does. Mercy is also honest, loyal and faithful to those she loves and that’s the big divide betw... Read More

Fire Touched: An excellent installment in a fresh, inventive series

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

*Note: spoilers for earlier books in the series

Fire Touched, just published on March 8, 2016, is the ninth novel in Patricia BriggsMERCY THOMPSON urban fantasy series, and the series is still going strong. In fact, this is one of the stronger entries in the series.

Mercy is relaxing in her home with her husband Adam, the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack. Of course there are all the small day-to-day annoyances: Adam’s ex-wife, a thorn in Mercy’s side, is still in town; the fae walking stick is still stubbornly following Mercy around; the other non-werewolf member of the pack, Joel the tibicena (sort of a brimstone demon Pressa Canario) is having trouble controlling his demon dog shape and shifting to human form for any appreciable amou... Read More

Shifting Shadows: An appealing smorgasbord of stories for MERCY fans

Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

Shifting Shadows is a collection of urban fantasy stories from Patricia Briggs’s MERCY THOMPSON universe, along with a couple of outtakes or brief scenes from recent novels in the series. Several different characters, who will already be familiar to readers of this series as secondary and minor characters, are given the protagonist role in these short stories, along with at least one new character that I believe is completely new to the series, Elyna in “Gray.” Like the novels in these series, these stories alternate between werewolves, vampires, fae, ghosts and witches as the basis for the plot, so there’s quite a bit of variety in these tales, even though they’re all from the same universe.

The stories in Shifting Shadows are... Read More

Silence Fallen: Mercy gets a free trip to Europe

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

It’s pirating night in the werewolf house, and Mercy, a coyote skinwalker married to Adam, the handsome Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack, quickly gets killed out of the werewolf pack's computer-based pirate LARP game. She heads to the kitchen to make a double-quadruple batch of chocolate chip cookies for the pack (her habit of baking treats after being exiting the game having more than a little to do with why someone always kills her off early in these games). Only, there are no eggs in the house, even though she’d had four dozen in the fridge two days ago. Werewolves are a hungry bunch. So Mercy makes a quick run to the local convenience store. Her last memory is getting hit by the airbags in her SUV.

When Mercy wakes up, she's imprisoned and alone in a strange, metallic-sheeted room, covered with her own blood but otherwise uninjured, if weak and nauseous. More alarmingly, her psych... Read More

Storm Cursed: That old black magic

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Storm Cursed (2019), the eleventh book in Patricia BriggsMERCY THOMPSON urban fantasy series, kicks the series up a notch with some clashes with black magic witches, and no one is safe. Mercy, a coyote skinwalker and the shapechanger daughter of the god Coyote, is back in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state after her hair-raising adventures in Europe in Silence Fallen.

Storm Cursed begins with a seemingly tangential event: Mercy has tagged two of her husband Adam’s werewolf pack, firefighter Mary Jo and computer nerd Ben, to go on a goblin hunt with her, tracking down a goblin suspected of killing a policeman. She calls Larry, the goblin king who we met in... Read More

Smoke Bitten: No smoke without a fire

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Fresh off her clash with black witches in Storm Cursed, Mercy Thompson — the coyote shapeshifter and Volkswagen mechanic whose urban fantasy series follows her adventures with vampires, werewolves, fae, witches and various monsters — is fretting about the distance that has built up between her and her husband, Adam, alpha of the local werewolf pack. Their mating bond has been shut down for weeks, keeping her from knowing his thoughts and feelings.

But other troubles raise their heads, distracting Mercy (at least temporarily) from the problems with Adam. The ancient power that is Underhill, the underground world of the fae, manifests in their home as Tilly, a creepy young girl (“I love battles. Blood and death followed by tears and mourning.”). Tilly has opened a door from Underhill into Mercy’s back... Read More

Alpha and Omega: A MERCY companion series kicks off with this novella

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs

Concurrently with her MERCY THOMPSON urban fantasy series about a coyote shapeshifter and her adventures with werewolves, vampires, fae and other supernatural beings, Patricia Briggs has been writing the ALPHA AND OMEGA series about an “Omega” werewolf, who has unique powers for a werewolf. This novella introduces Anna, a seemingly submissive, sexually and physically abused werewolf in an appalling mess of a pack in Chicago. Anna was unwillingly turned into a werewolf three years ago and her life has been miserable since. But when she reads an newspaper article about a missing teenager and realizes that this is the same boy she had seen in a werewolf cage in the pack leader’s home, she drums up her courage and finally telephones Bran, the Montana-based “Marrok” or leader of all the werewolf packs in North America, to let him know that she had seen the... Read More

Cry Wolf: More than just huffing and puffing

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Anna Latham may be a rare Omega werewolf (as opposed to an Alpha/pack leader), but it hasn't done her a bit of good. Abused and degraded by her Chicago pack, she's at once freed and claimed by Charles, a strapping son of the Marrok (the North American werewolf lord) with rare abilities of his own. Anna returns with Charles to the Montana wilderness, both eager and hesitant to begin her life anew; but even the Marrok's home territory isn't exempt from the prowling of a rogue werewolf — and an even older and more sinister evil...

Cry Wolf is the first book in Patricia Briggs's Alpha and Omega series. However, it's important to note that it's a spin-off from her Mercy Thompson series (which includes the Marrok and his sons and references the purifyi... Read More

Fair Game: Tense and emotional

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Werewolves have recently come out of the closet, sparking prejudice among their human neighbors. Bran, leader of all North American werewolves, is cracking down on anyone who breaks Pack law, as these transgressions engender more bad feeling between humans and werewolves. Thus, the use of capital punishment has increased. Bran’s son, Charles, is the designated executioner, and his grim task (and his guilt about it) is battering his psyche and driving a wedge between him and his wife, Anna.

So, to help Charles’s mental health by giving him something more heroic to do, Bran sends Anna to help the FBI crack a tough case with Charles as her backup muscle. The case is that of a serial killer and rapist who has evaded capture for decades. The murderer initially targeted human victims, later killing fae as well, and the last few victims have been werewolves. Anna and Charles have information and skills th... Read More

Burn Bright: Life on the wilding side

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright (2018) is the fifth and latest novel in Patricia BriggsALPHA AND OMEGA urban fantasy series … actually, it's more mountainous wilderness fantasy, but it does involve werewolves and witches living amongst humans. Burn Bright, though it has different main characters, also intertwines nicely with the main MERCY THOMPSON series.

Bran, the grand-Alpha or Marrok of most of the werewolf packs in North America, is still out of town due to the events in the last MERCY THOMPSON book, Silence Fallen. He phones home and tells his wife Leah and son Charles that he's leaving them in charge while he takes a trip to Africa to see S... Read More

Wild Sign: The call of the Wild Singer

Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

A woman goes hiking with her dog in the northern California mountains, searching for the hidden settlement her father calls home. After a long search she finds the encampment — really a small town — but her father is gone, along with every other person who lived in Wild Sign. Some time later, two FBI agents pay a surprise visit to Anna and Charles Cornick in Aspen Creek, Montana. The agents lay their cards on the table: The FBI is looking for an alliance with the werewolves, and because of past interactions they’ve concluded that Anna is likely the Marrok, the werewolf who rules them all (which leads to an amusing scene with Bran Cornick, who is).

The agents suggest that the werewolves might be interested in helping to investigate the disappearance of the town of Wild Sign, especially since part of the town was located on land now owned by the Marrok’s pack, and originally owned by Leah Cornick... Read More

The Urban Fantasy Anthology: Not what I expected it to be

The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle & Joe R. Lansdale

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of most urban fantasy. I tend to find problems with almost every urban fantasy book I’ve tried to read. When I got this book in the mail, I kind of rolled my eyes and shot it to the top of my “to be read” pile so I could get it over with fast. I didn’t expect to actually enjoy this book. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d open this anthology and think, “hot damn, this is good stuff…” but I did. I cracked open this book, started reading, and shocked myself by enjoying it.

As with every anthology, not every story will be a hit. Where The Urban Fantasy Anthology seems to differ from many other anthologies was the fact that the stories all appealed to me differently due to their plots, not due to their quality, which is the case with many other anthologies. This book is fil... Read More

Strange Brew: Something for everyone

Strange Brew by P.N. Elrod (ed)

The theme of Strange Brew is witchcraft. This anthology features nine well-known urban fantasy authors, each with their own spin on the theme. Some of these stories feature well-known characters. Others focus on characters who are secondary in the author's series, or characters who are entirely new. Glancing at the table of contents and doing a little mental math, most of the stories are around 40 pages, give or take a few. (The longest is Karen Chance's at just under 60.) As is always the case with anthologies, I had my favorites and my less-favorites, but if you like urban fantasy, there will probably be something here for you.

"Seeing Eye" by Patricia Briggs: A werewolf enlists the help of a blind witch to help him find his brother who has been kidnapped by a sinister coven. The witch has some his... Read More

Magic City: Recent Spells: A solid urban fantasy anthology

Magic City: Recent Spells edited by Paula Guran

Things you should know:
1. This is a reprint anthology. If you read a lot of anthologies in the field, you will probably have read some of these before. I had read three, though two of them were among the best ones, and I enjoyed reading them again.
2. It still has some worthwhile stuff in it, especially if you're a fan of the big names in urban fantasy (Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs) and haven't read these stories before.
3. It isn't just "urban fantasy" by the usual definition (our contemporary world plus the supernatural). There's a sword-and-sorcery story from Scott Lynch, an... Read More