Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on March 8, 2016
Moving forward through the Mercy Thompson readalong, I continue to enjoy my re-read via audiobook edition and I’m happy to report that Fire Touched turned out to be an even better outing for me this second time around.
Fire Touched is the ninth of the Mercy Thompson series that must be read in order. It also works even better when read after the Alpha and Omega parallel series book, Dead Heat, so events mentioned in Fire Touched about Charles, Anna, and Bran will make sense. I’m also going to recommend that the reader enjoy the short story, ‘Faery Gifts’ from the Shifting Shadows anthology, to get the earlier history of Thomas and Margaret right AFTER this one so the short won’t spoiler certain things for the reader.
Fire Touched opens not long after the events of Night Broken when Mercy and the gang took on a volcano god, saw her shop get leveled by said god, and acquired Joel the new non-werewolf member of the pack. Now, they encounter a fae troll on the bridge and take in a ‘changeling’ boy who seeks sanctuary from the fae whom he escaped alongside Zee and Tad. All this serves to stir up the pack like never before when Mercy levels an ultimatum at the supernatural world with the help of the Walking Stick. She claims the Tri-cities as Columbia Pack Territory and a sanctuary for any who come to them. Mercy cringes at the thought of the trouble she has just unleashed on poor Adam who is still worked up over her last near-death escapade.
I found it interesting that my reaction to Fire Touched this newest go-around was slightly different from the first time. I enjoyed it the first time, but found it subpar to earlier books. This time around, I found nothing lacking in it and quite a bit of subtlety in the inter-personal relationships to captivate me.
I was more struck by the larger roles of Zee and Tad, the private sorrow Mercy thought she kept to herself of what she thought of as Bran’s abandonment, her unremarked parent’s heart for Aidan even when he was being a real twerp and not so lovable, and her willingness to take what the pack dished out because she loved Adam and was loyal to the pack even when they didn’t reciprocate.
And, seriously, how could I forget the fun Baba Yaga appearances? This is one of those examples of how superb audio narration can draw out nuances that mere print cannot. Lorelei King brought forward the comedic overtones of the Baba Yaga character so much more.
But, back to the book. I loved the scenes that demonstrated the deeper growing connection between Mercy and Adam. They weather times they try each other’s nerves and fear of loss is a distinct possibility. They’re mutual respect, loyalty, and mature ability to work at their relationship is fantastic to see. It makes all the amazing situations they find themselves in work so much better.
I mentioned Thomas and Margaret earlier. It was neat to see these newer characters introduced- okay Thomas, a vampire of great power who holds San Francisco alone, was introduced a few books back, but Margaret is new. Her conversation with Mercy was a hoot.
There is also the introduction to Aidan who has been lost in faery for a few centuries. He is a child in appearance and some ways, but in others he has experienced things that few could survive and survive with his mind in tact. Aidan was a character I got vague about in the most recent book so this was a great refresher.
The big conflict involves the fae and Mercy and her friends are up against the powerful Gray Lords themselves. I loved this closer look into these ruling beings of the fae and their colorful history even while recognizing how formidable they are. There was one big loss in the book. Some would look at me funny for feeling my sorrow rise over such a thing, but I can’t help feeling great loss. I got quite attached since its introduction.
All in all, this was abso-fab and my time with Fire Touched flew by way too quickly. I’ve arrived back into the newer set of books that I remember better, but I am still as eager as it gets to press forward into those as well.
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