We’re back to our reread of Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs, the second in her Mercedes Thompson series. Mercy has just been given a free license to kill the vampire-sorcerer-demon by the vampire mistress. Along with this, she’s sent along her best vampire, Andre, to help Mercy. Now, Mercy finally gets to go after the thing that murdered a hotel maid before her eyes, nearly slaughtered one of her best friends, and may have killed another. No one, not even all Mercy’s other protective friends, are going to stop her.
Mercy and Andre go to Stefan’s house to ask his menagerie, those he keeps to feed on, if they know anything of his whereabouts or plans. Only Mercy enters, though, because Stefan re-erected the barrier that keeps Andre out without an invitation. Mercy finds Stefan’s people treated better than most vampires treat their food, but she also finds them fairly ignorant of Stefan’s plans and intents. Her only clue is that Stefan was mapping the locations of violence and had found a pattern. Unfortunately, he took the map with him when he vanished. Also, Mercy realizes that Marsilia was not entirely forthright with her about how to kill a vampire and that she intends to bring the vampire-sorcerer-demon under her control instead.
Reader Comments: When I first read this section, I recall feeling frustrated that Mercy found so little. But the section reads pretty quickly, so I didn’t feel so bogged down as to lose interest.
Writer Comments: In this section, we learn that one of Stefan’s people stays with him because, as his food, she keeps her leukemia in check. Another is a teenage girl who stays with Stefan to escape her horrible situation at home. These sorts of things make Stefan all the more likable and build character without even his presence. Consider the way a character influences and imprints the world around him as a means of developing and displaying character.
That night, Mercy wakes to someone scratching at her window. At first, she thinks it might be Stefan come for help, but when she looks, Littleton, the vampire-sorcerer-demon, is peering in at her, scratching his fangs against the glass. For the next several minutes, he torments Mercy, mimicking the voices of those she loves—Warren and Samuel especially—and tearing at her trailer. He also cuts her power. Mercy retrieves her Marlin 444 rifle and shoots Littleton with silver bullets when he tries to come up through her floor. He returns the bullets, blood covered, and she finally hears him drive away. In the morning, she calls to Adam’s house to check on Warren, but Adam is gone. So is Samuel, supposedly after they figured something out about where Littleton was. Only Darryl, Adam’s second, remains, and the fact that no one has reported in means that Littleton has Adam and Samuel too. Mercy figures she has only until dark to find them alive.
Reader Comments: I loved here how Darryl treats Mercy as if she really were Adam’s mate and worthy of as much authority as the position should come with. It suggests a shift in their relationship. At the least, it’s telling as to how much pressure they’re all under. It also gave me hope for the Mercy-Adam relationship.
Writer Comments: This is a great example of upping the stakes. Not only does Littleton scare Mercy to death, but we learn that he’s taken two more people close to Mercy. There are very few left. On top of this, Briggs gives a time limit. By stating that Mercy only has until dark to save those she loves heightens the tension in droves.
Without any immediate leads, Mercy goes to work until she hears from Tony, the policeman, and Elizaveta, the local witch, who she hopes will provide her information that will lead her to Littleton. Zee shows up with a backpack of tools to help kill a vampire. The fae aren’t allowed to help, but Zee figures he can get away with that much. Then Kyle calls to tell Mercy that she needs to get to Adam’s right away. Mercy rushes as fast as she can, knowing the call can only mean one thing: things are very bad with Warren. When she arrives, she finds Darryl struggling to contain Warren, who has shifted to wolf and is ready to eat things. Darryl should be able to control Warran, and the fact he can’t declares that Warren is actually the more dominant between them, a fact that will be a bur in Darryl’s side for a long time. Out of absolute necessity, Mercy draws on her rank as Adam’s mate and commands Warren to lie down. To everyone’s shock, including Mercy’s, it works. For everyone’s safety, they move Warren to the safe room, a cell in Adam’s basement with silver coated bars strong enough to contain a fully grown werewolf.
Reader Comments: It’s convenient for Mercy that nearly everyone who would try to keep her from going after Littleton are now his captives and incapable of stopping her. I’m not sure what the incident with Warren has to do with the main plot, but it certainly speaks volumes about the subplot involving Mercy and Adam and her place in the werewolf pack.
Writer Comments: This is where Briggs has all Mercy’s relationships pay off. She could not pull this off without it feeling like a dues ex machina without having built all these relationships in Moon Called and the first part of Blood Bound. Instead, because she spent time demonstrating the depth of Mercy’s relationships and how she will go to hell and back for those she cares about, it is very believable and natural that Zee helps her and even that Honey and Kyle support her in being able to handle Warren in Adam’s absence.
Mercy meets Tony at the police station to exchange the locations of recent violence for her answering a few questions. She confirms to Tony that the thing they’re dealing with is neither human, werewolf, nor fae, but she can say no more. Vampires kill people that shouldn’t know about them and do. Grudgingly Tony doesn’t press and shows her the map of violent incidents. There’s no pattern except that the incidents come in clusters. As Mercy leaves the station, she has an idea and asks Tony to remove the nighttime incidents and see if there is a pattern to the daytime ones. While she waits, she drives around, puzzling over her hole-ridden information in circles. At last, she comes to the realization that the only possibility that seems to fit the facts is that Marsilia is having trouble controlling her vampires and that Littleton might be an attack on Marsilia to take over the seethe, which means that Littleton’s maker is in the Tri-Cities and calling the shots.
Reader Comments: Oo, I’d forgotten about all this. I like how Briggs doesn’t just leave the story to the terrors of some chaotic, demon crazed sorcerer. There are deeper layers to the plot.
Writer Comments: All the clues that lead up to these realizations for Mercy are imbedded from the first chapter. Initially, they seem incidental or simply part of the backdrop or, at least, naturally fitting into each scene. But now, Briggs helps us pull them out one thread at a time through Mercy and everything begins to make sense. Stories should be layered and each layer and clue seamlessly woven into each scene.
Thank you for joining me for these chapters of Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. Join me next Monday to find out what happens next and Wednesday and Friday for more forays into the speculative and life.