SPOILERS INCLUDED BUT MARKED
I had to think about this one before rating it. There were some really fantastic scenes, but there were also a few things that seemed like they weren't explored well or didn't come to their logical conclusion based on what we know so far. The four stars is actually 3.5 - 3.75 rounded up.
Mercy's still living in her trailer with Samuel and working in her garage. Her relationship with Adam has progressed to the lovers stage but her relationship with the Pack has not improved.
In this book Samuel's in big trouble and needs Mercy's help whether he wants it or not. It's a somewhat heartbreaking as well as infuriating story line with a disappointingly pat conclusion.
Some in the pack want Mercy out, maybe want Adam out, too, and are using the whole 'making a coyote part of a wolf pack' upheaval to create a power play. That story line was the most intriguing to me and had a fairly nice conclusion although all the players who deserved punishment didn't quite get their due, IMO.
There is a nasty fae who wants one of the artifacts Mercy has borrowed and there's some real danger for Mercy and her friends. This is the story line that I thought was wrapped up and dispensed with too insubstantially. MAJOR SPOILER:
I was particularly bothered by Jessie's involvement in the rescue since it didn't provide anything more than a way for Ari to find Gabriel. Mercy said it herself, she could have stopped by Sylvia's and gotten something inanimate that Ari could use just as well. I mean, Sylvia was in the know by that time. Mercy did need a human to facilitate communication, but Tony couldn't have done it? Kyle? In past books in this series, we've gotten to see why certain things that make sense are impossible. This felt like Briggs just didn't bother laying the groundwork.
And I can't believe Adam had absolutely nothing to say about Jessie being put in that kind of danger when all these adults were involved. It just doesn't wash. Now, if she had followed them and they'd been forced to take her, that would be okay, but that wasn't the case, they chose
to take her. And, in any case, her presence was not used for any interesting elements of that story line. She was merely a distraction for me, the reader, because I assumed there would be some real consequences to Mercy's TSTL decision making. But then there weren't any. It was just kind of brushed away.
This was the first book where I saw Mercy actually make any TSTL decisions. Lying to Adam, having Jessie come along when she wasn't the only option, not talking to Adam directly about the Pack manipulating her and several others.
Not that this book is bad. Far from it. Patricia Briggs is such a great writer that this is definitely still a "can't put it down" read. I was just disappointed in the follow-through on some of the threads. And Briggs has established Mercy as this very competent and logical heroine so I just couldn't reconcile some of her decisions with the character I've come to know.
It's possible my disappointment is heightened by the fact that I now have to wait months and months for the next installment. But my dissatisfaction is real and I think the elements I've mentioned really weren't in keeping with the high quality I've come to expect.
3.75 stars for excellent writing and partially amazing story telling. And Adam. And Ben. I do so love those wolves. :D