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Monday, September 5, 2011

Moon Called: A Rereading for Readers and Writers, Chapters 10-12

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Today is the fourth and second to last part of the reread of Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. If you’re interested, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 for the first nine chapters. Enjoy!


Chapter 10

Mercy and Samuel go to the vampire seethe under Stefan’s protection. While ordered to wait, a curious vampire, Lilly, in a silk dress and sneakers comes in and gets closer to Samuel than expected. Stefan calls her off for licking the guests and directs her to play piano for them, displaying her beautiful skill with music and the reason she was turned.

Reader Comments: Lilly is a curious creation of Briggs’s. I like it when authors are creative with their vampires. She never should have been turned because of her mental issues, which means she cannot control herself as a vampire, yet she’s kept around for her gifts, heavily guarded, of course, except curiously in this scene.

Writer Comments: There is a lot in these pages that subtly foreshadow later events in future books. In the course of first reading, they seem like tiny bits of vaguely, interesting information, but in truth, they introduce elements that will become key in later books.

At last, Mercy and Samuel are escorted down to the mistress, Marsilia, who proceeds to lure Samuel to her and leap upon him to feed. Mercy’s lamb necklace and Stefan’s realization and revelation that one of the other vampires set up a trap to set the mistress up saves them.

Reader Comments: I love how Mercy handles the situation in her own way. She isn’t super powerful and able to slay vampires. She’s swift and clever, just like the coyote that is a part of her.

Writer Comments: This scene also sets up future plots, especially the conflict within the vampires to overthrow Marsilia. In truth, Mercy uses the vampires’ own rules to escape the situation. Another nice element of this scene is that, in it, Stefan really starts to prove his loyalty and trustworthiness to Mercy.

Chapter 11

Stefan escorts Mercy and an unconscious Samuel out of Marsilia’s, and a great deal is revealed about the vampires’ early days in the Americas and their relationship, that of slaughtering each other, with walkers, what Mercy is.

Reader Comments: Lots of interesting details are revealed here about vampires and walkers. Now I’m not so certain if Stefan can be trusted, but I’m pretty certain, at least noticeably more than Mercy. It seems Stefan is playing a number of dangerous games.

Writer Comments: Knowing what transpires in later books, Briggs clearly had an expansive amount of detail and plot thought out and laid a lot of her groundwork in this first book. There’s a subtler tension in this section built on the uncertainty of who Mercy can trust and the lingering effects of so narrowly escaping the vampires.

 As a result of the vampire bite, Samuel loses control and involuntarily changes forms. More terrified than ever, Mercy turns coyote and, relying on the hope that Sam’s wolf still thinks of her as its mate, she turns her vulnerable belly and throat to him to keep him from embarking on a murderous rampage.

Reader Comments: I loved this interaction between Mercy and Sam. It revealed so much about them and werewolves. Also, Sam’s handling of being a “dog” when the police officer shows up really endeared him to me.

Writer Comments: Great tension in this scene. It worked even better because it was on so many levels. There was the obvious level of physical threat: Sam might rampage and start slaughtering everyone, including Mercy. Sam and Mercy’s relationship played a key factor in tension as Mercy put all her faith in it to keep Sam calm. Plus, the police officer’s arrival added the extra level of social tension and reminded the reader of the dangers of general society learning of werewolves.

Chapter 12

Sam and Mercy reach Warren’s house where the rest of the pack has shown up, furious with Warren’s apparent disobedience. Mercy and Auriele get into their own dominance contest when Auriele tries to prevent Mercy from getting involved.

Reader Thoughts: Interesting to see the female version of the male dominance games. It was also nice seeing Mercy use her brain and supernaturally swift reflexes to slip past Auriele.

Writer Comments: This scene is a microcosm for much of Mercy’s relation with the pack. She is unwelcome, resisted, and actively opposed when not in Adam’s company.

When Mercy gets inside, Warren and Derryl are in the midst of a fight. Samuel stops it and sends his power out in an awesome wave to end the Silence the other wolves kept over the fight to prevent anyone noticing the noise. Adam arrives and brings all to order, and Mercy gives him the address of Jesse’s kidnappers that she acquired from Marsilia.

Reader Comments: Samuel’s stunt with breaking the Silence and enforcing his will on the pack was awesome. I like Adam a little more now after seeing him handle the whole pack so effectively.

Writer Comments: This is the first time we really see the true power of the dominant wolves in notable action. Briggs handles it in such a way as to give a sense of that power that intrigues and impresses while still giving it a creative twist and not making it so explosively cool as to diminish the similar display at the book’s climax.

With still no word from anyone the next morning about their mission to the kidnappers, Mercy does her best to distract herself and puzzle out the whys of their situation and the enemy’s motives. She calls Bran and relates her theories.

Reader Comments: A slower section but not without interest.

Writer Comments: After all the tension and action of the previous few chapters, this scene is the reader’s moment to breathe and, like Mercy, to really taken in what all has happened and why. Briggs leads us through Mercy’s mind along the path of clues she has left behind. It is a scene for recap, rest, and reasoning, quiet, but Briggs has to be careful she doesn’t make it too long.

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