Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Moon Called.
Mercy Thompson, once again, has something that a group of Fae leaders wants. And, once again, they are willing to destroy her home and her pack to get it. The twist is that this time, it’s a person. Mercy agrees to protect a changeling named Aidan, also known as the Fire Touched. Aidan looks like the child he was when he was kidnapped by the Fae, but he’s actually centuries old. Spending all that time in Underhill changed him, giving him the ability to control fire. Some of the Fae are jealous of his power and want it for themselves.
Mercy’s very public offer of sanctuary creates tension within the pack, which leads Adam to a surprising declaration. It also strains the relationship between Adam’s pack and the Marrock, who has just finished dealing with the events of Dead Heat, and is trying to prevent a war between werewolves and Fae. I’m always intrigued by supernatural politics, but the way Patricia Briggs continues to add layers of implications from a single statement is truly impressive. Or truly frightening if you’re Mercy. She pretty accurately reflected the way I was feeling most of the time, while Bran and Adam seemed to be seeing more of the big picture.
I’m a big fan of books about the Fae in general, but Briggs’s Fae are older, scarier, and more other than most other versions. Which might be why I find them so fascinating. Fire Touched brings back some of the Fae we’ve met in previous books, like Beauclaire and Baba Yaga, and lets them show off a bit. Thomas Hao, a vampire introduced in Frost Burned, returns as well, though he’s keeping his special powers under wraps for now. But I’m most interested in Sherwood Post, a recent addition to the pack that Mercy gets to know a little better, and what his story might be.
I usually think of Mercy Thompson in the same “badass heroine” category as Chicagoland Vampires’s Merit or Kate Daniels. The fact that she winds up nearly dead at the end of so many of her books seems to support that notion. But looking back, I realize that her story is usually more about mystery and suspense than physical battles. (Although Fire Touched does start off with some great action scenes as Mercy, Adam and some of the wolves confront a troll.) What makes Mercy successful is not skill with a sword or magical powers, but her determination to do what she believes is right and her loyalty to her friends, her family, and her pack. It’s those qualities that guide her in Fire Touched and make this story of complex supernatural politics so relatable for us average human readers.
Sexual content: sex