River Marked by Patricia Briggs
Narrator: Lorelei King
Series: Mercy Thompson #6
Published by Penguin Audio
Published on: March 1, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Length: 8 hrs & 54 mins
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Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…
As much as I enjoy the MERCY THOMPSON series, the last few books have been rather dark, although I understand that Briggs is staying true to her character, as a reader I’ve been wanting the old Mercy back. In the opening chapters Thompson cracks a joke about that-horrible-thing-that-happened-to-her which I took as a good sign, this is also the quasi-essential “vacation” installment—another clear indication that the heroine is finally ready to move. It’s worth mentioning that this is the first time I’ve listened to one of these novels in audio, and Lorelei King’s narration was also a big factor in lightening up the story line. RIVER MARKED is all around entertaining with great Mercy/Adam moments, a formidable big bad to defeat, and Coyote the trickster god wreaking havoc on all fronts.
Vacations never go as planned in Urban Fantasy, if anything, they usually blow-up spectacularly which is exactly what happens in this book, only instead of explosions its otter kin and a river devil, but we’ll get to that. Luckily there’s a bit of calm before the storm. Mercy and Adam finally seem to have accepted their bond; I liked how lovey-dovey they were to each other in this installment, and I absolutely adored how Briggs gives them a mini-HEA before the Columbia River tries to eat them. There’s also a goodbye letter from Mercy to Adam in case their plan fails and she dies which Briggs cruelly reveals at the very end, and it will make you bawl your freaking eyes out. It’s beautiful and sad, and I want to listen to it again.
RIVER MARKED is the first novel that actually revolves solely around Mercy’s heritage which I loved. We learn more about her Native American roots including info about her deceased father, what she really is, and how Coyote fits into the mix. There’s also some interesting mythology surrounding the river devil; my favourite was the real reason a beaver’s tail is flat. According to the lore, after eating a bunch of people the monster was defeated from the inside, and when the beaver escaped through the creature’s butthole his tail got smushed. Seeing how this rodent is practically Canada’s mascot, I couldn’t help but giggle at this.
I rarely switch back-and-forth between reading and listening to a series because typically I prefer to pick a format and stick with it. So I really didn’t know what to expect from this audio when I jumped-in at book 6, but when I found out that Lorelei King was the narrator, I knew that it just had to be good. Listening to Mercy is very different than reading her, however I enjoyed the bubbly tone that King brings to Thompson’s POV. Her delivery helped draw attention this installment’s lighter tone, and gave me a whole new appreciation of how sarcastic one of my favourite heroines truly is. Although, in my opinion, her narration may have been a little too happy-go-lucky for this protagonist; I’m going to listen to FROST BURNED as well before I pass judgment.
RIVER MARKED is the ray of sunshine that this series needed with borderline epic action scenes, and enough mushy moments to make readers fall even further in love with the Mercy / Adam duo.
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I think this might be my least favorite book in this series. Now, saying that, I still gave it four stars, which shows how much I love it. I think my biggest beef with this book is the lack of the pack and other great secondary characters I’ve come to love. It was great to learn more about Mercy’s background and the other walkers. I’m very excited to have Night Broken coming out later in March.
I agree this was my least fave in the series too.
I’m not a big fan of installments in any series where the heroine “takes a vacation.” But, I liked this one better than Silver Borne, which was my least fav Mercy book.
I listened to Frost Burn on audio and was like WHAT with King’s narration. I love her for Charlie Davidson but I’m not sure about for Mercy. I never pictured Mercy being snarky when I read her. Audio really gives the series a different feel.
It really does. It took me a few books to get used to her narrating Mercy, but now I don’t mind her.
This wasn’t my favorite book in the series but I still enjoyed it. I have listened and read these books. While this isn’t my favorite LK narrated series I still like the tone she brings to Mercy. It might be because I listened to the first few before reading the next 2.
I don’t think I’d chose to listen to this series over reading it, but I wanted to squeeze in the last two books before Night Broken came out, and the audios were the best way of doing that.
Great review Carmel! I can’t remember how I felt about this one is comparison to the others, If I remembered correctly this was a little slower than the rest for me; however, I have truly enjoyed every entry and Lorelei’s interpretation. I just love Mercy! I think I said that already…LOL
There was a lot of world-building in this one compared to its predecessors which is why the pacing was slow. But, I love lore so I didn’t mind so much.
Well this is nothing new, LOL. I loved this book! It’s my favorite in the series, and I think it’s b/c, like Carmel said, it spends so much more time on Mercy’s heritage. But I love Native American folklore, so I’m predisposed to liking books like this one.
I’m glad you liked it too, Carmel 🙂
I was happy that Briggs finally explored more Native folklore too; up to this point, I’d found this series rather lacking in that department considering Mercy’s background.
Ah! I need to go back and read this installment Carmel! I jumped ahead to Night Broken, but definitely want to learn more about Mercy’s heritage, so I need to pick this one up. I’m not sure why I went out of order. Fail. Glad you enjoyed it so much, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to some Mercy/Adam mushiness:)
You just couldn’t wait, eh? I understand. 🙂
Oh yes I remember this one, I liked the stories and myths we learn about. I think you”ll soon catch me up with the series, I really need more time to read the one I have. So difficult. I’m glad this one was better for you and I can’t wait to see what you think on the others.
I’m actually caught-up in this series now; I have two more reviews scheduled to post over the next few weeks.
I skimmed through this review because I’m only on book 5, but I am looking forward to learning more about Mercy’s heritage. She’s become one of my top five UF heroines!
Night Broken releases in two weeks! You better get a move on! :p
Oh man, I need to get caught up on this series! I haven’t read the last couple so I won’t read this review just yet, but I am glad to see that it’s still going strong. Thanks for the nudge.
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
Yes. Mercy & Adam are still going strong. I hope you make time for them soon.
I love Briggs!!!! That is all
LOL I didn’t realize more was required. 😉
I really enjoyed this installment because we did get to delve so much more into Mercy’s Native American heritage (and I love Coyote!) Briggs always does such a fantastic job with her mythology be it fae, were, or Native American.
Coyote always make things doubly interesting!
This was a tough one with so much going on, I am reading Night Broken now and loving it.
Wait ’til you get to the end! You’re gonna freak! 😀
I am glad you enjoyed it Carmel, it has been a while since I read this one, but it is still a good series. But yes, something has gone missing from the first few books.
That’s bound to happen with any series, unfortunately.
I need to start this series soon. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed this one okay.
These books are great. Highly recommended!
I loved that it was all about her heritage too! I haven’t tried any of these on audio because well frankly those narrators just don’t narrate as fast as I want to read it haha.
Most audiobook programs allow you to listen to ’em at different speeds. Personally, I don’t use that feature, but I know many listeners that do.
I turned The School for Good and Evil to 1.5x speed and it’s perfect for me. I tried faster and it sounded awful. Unfortunately you can’t turn up the speed on the ones you checkout from the library, I haven’t been able to figure that out yet. I’ll have to keep playing with it.