Blood Bound is the second book in the popular Mercedes Thompson urban fantasy series by New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs. Currently, there are four books in this series and one book in the Alpha and Omega series set in the same world with the second novel forthcoming this summer. The first book in the Mercedes Thompson series is Moon Called and the third and fourth are Iron Kissed and Bone Crossed (which was just released in hardcover last month). When completed, the series will contain at least seven books.
Mercy owes the vampire Stefan a favor – a fact of which he reminds her at 3 am one morning when she had been sound asleep. Although she does not understand why he wants her to be a witness when he visits another vampire, Mercy agrees to go with him since a promise is a promise. After changing into a coyote, Mercy accompanies Stefan as his “intimidating pet” and immediately smells trouble when they reach their destination. She cannot do anything but watch in horror (although she does try) as the other vampire immobilizes Stefan, one of the more powerful vampires himself, and murders a woman before their eyes.
Once she returns home, Mercy discovers that Stefan does not remember events the same way she does and recalls killing the woman himself. He suspected this vampire tampered with a friend’s memory and wanted to bring someone with some immunity to a vampire’s magic with him in hopes of clearing his friend’s name. As Stefan suspected, this is no ordinary vampire but also a sorcerer – and he must be stopped before more innocents are harmed.
While Moon Called introduced the werewolf community, Blood Bound focuses on the vampires of the Tri-City area, although the werewolves still play a large role. I’ve never been a huge fan of vampires and still think I would not enjoy a book featuring vampires as the main character(s). In spite of that, I did really like Stefan, which may partially be because it is so easy to forget he is supposed to be a vampire (at least until he needs a place to spend the day and Mercy can’t sleep knowing there’s a dead man in her closet). Most of the vampires in this series are evil and not to be trusted, but Stefan seems to genuinely care about his friends, although he is clearly not a saint, either. He’s also very quirky; for instance, Stefan drives a van painted to look like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, which is a very amusing mental image.
From chapter one, I felt Blood Bound was an improvement over the first book in this series. Moon Called felt like the first book in a series since there was a great deal of exposition and setting up who everyone was and how they related to each other. That’s not to say that this novel did not contain quite a few explanations that Mercy explained in the first book, but there was less of it and Mercy had a more easygoing and humorous voice in this book that I just loved. All it took was the opening paragraphs to hook me:
Like most people who own their own businesses, I work long hours that start early in the morning. So when someone calls me in the middle of the night, they’d better be dying.
“Hello, Mercy,” said Stefan’s amiable voice in my ear. “I wonder if you could do me a favor.”
Stefan had done his dying a long time ago, so I saw no reason to be nice. “I answered the phone at ” – I peered blearily at the red numbers on my bedside clock – “three o’clock in the morning.”
Okay, that’s not exactly what I said. I may have added a few of those words a mechanic picks up to use at recalcitrant bolts and alternators that land on their toes.
“I suppose you could go for a second favor,” I continued, ” but I’d prefer you hang up and call me back at a more civilized hour.”
This might make her sound nastier than she is, but I don’t think I’d be too happy if my phone rang at 3:00 AM and someone wanted me to do them a favor when I had to be to work in the morning, either. In the end, Mercy did as he asked because she owed him and he’s a friend of hers and was glad she did it since having a reliable witness might help them dispose of a great evil. Whenever she gets into trouble, it seems to be when she’s aiding someone else. Mercy is loyal and courageous and will take risks to help her friends but she’s also not stupid – if someone else is better suited to getting the job done, she’ll stand back and let them.
As with the first book, do not judge this book by its cover, which is the absolute worst one in the series. After reading the first three books, I really just cannot picture Mercy running around with her shirt hanging open like that without a good reason. And, well, I just can’t think of a good reason to be outside facing danger with a wrench in one hand and one’s bra hanging out. Mercy is a practical woman and not the type of person to run around half naked throwing herself at men (or potential villains) at all. Do not be mislead by the picture of the female falling out of her top, there is no sex in this book (although there is sexual tension as the Mercy-Adam-Samuel love triangle continues).
Blood Bound is an entertaining, quick read with a great female protagonist. I’d say I’m looking forward to the next book but I’ve already read it.