The Mercedes Thompson series just keep getting better. And the better they get, the more I dislike the book covers. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with them, they just don’t fit the books at all. The woman on the cover doesn’t even look like Mercy to me. For one thing, the books make a point that she’s got ONE tattoo – a coyote paw print on her belly – and that’s it. Besides the tattoos, her skin tone and facial features don’t match the books description either. And then there’s the undeniable fact that the covers scream TRASHY GENRE FICTION!!! when the series really isn’t trashy at all. Why can’t the covers have a nice picture of one of the werewolves since the books make a big deal about how they’re different from regular wolves while still being at least as beautiful? Or a picture of a coyote? Or a non-trashy picture of one of the fae? We don’t need a scantily clad version of Mercy that doesn’t even match her physical description…and we get it… she’s a mechanic. We can move on now.
Predictably, Iron Kissed focuses on the fae culture in Mercy’s universe (the first one focused on the werewolves and the second on the vampires). Maybe because the fae are so numerous and varied, the exploration was more interesting than that of the vampires. We got a bit of a peak into what the Grey Lords are up to, and I believe some foreshadowing of trouble to come.
There is a resolution to the problem of the two werewolves interested in Mercy. Again, Briggs could absolutely have gone off the deep end into romance smuttiness, but kept everything nice and balanced. So as not to ruin that resolution, I’ll say no more.
I have to say that this book takes what I consider a pretty dark turn. There were several chapters that I had to slow down and read more carefully because I couldn’t believe what was happening – not because it didn’t make sense in Mercy’s universe… all the rules were carefully followed… but because it was so much darker in tone than anything that’s happened in the series before. Consider yourself warned.
One of the weak points of the first two books was that Mercy had to go off by herself and make a couple somewhat wild surmises to figure things out. It only happened once (MAYBE twice) in each book, but it was reminiscent of Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day coming up with the idea to bring down the aliens. It works if you can suspend some belief, but it’s definitely a weak point. Fortunately, Briggs has gotten past that in Iron Kissed.
All in all – this was a great addition to the Mercedes Thompson series. I’ve checked her website and found that the next book in the series isn’t due out until February 2009. My calendar is marked. 🙂