RIVER MARKED by Patricia Briggs (Review)

Number six in the urban fantasy series featuring Mercy Thompson, Walker. And a walker, if I’ve got it right (and I should have, after reading all six of these stories!) is a Native American shape-shifter, presumably based on the Navajo legend of the “skinwalker”; but the skinwalker was evil through and through whereas the walkers in Patricia Briggs’ books are either definitely among the good guys or at their worst amoral, as a cat (or any animal) is amoral. They are also very different from the werewolves, who, like the vampires, are of European descent – and like the vampires virtually immortal.

This is the first one in the series, though, where vampires get hardly a mention, and only one werewolf plays any significant part – Mercy’s mate/husband, Adam, who is there  (but actually rather in the way much of the time) because they are on their honeymoon.

No, here it is all Native American medicine men/sorcerers, and shape-shifters who, like Mercy, are walkers and change shape easily and almost instantly, unlike the poor werewolves.

But she is still the only coyote. Apart, that is, from Coyote himself. For here we are presented with an original interpretation of Plato’s Theory of Forms. Coyote (with a capital C) is the Form of which all coyotes are instances, just as Bear is the Form of which all bears are instances: godlike figures who, it is hinted, lay behind the animal-headed gods of antiquity both in America and in Egypt and India.

But I mustn’t tell you too much. Simply that people, whole families, are dying or simply disappearing in or near the Columbia River, precisely where Mercy and Adam are honeymooning. The FBI think it is the work of an elusive serial-killer. Mercy soon realises that the killer is an ancient evil resurrected in the black depths of the swirling water . And only she, it transpires, can stop it.

One thing I want to mention here. I have read many werewolf books and until now it has never, for some reason, struck me how totally un-PC, unfeminist, the whole concept of the alpha male is: he is aggressively – offensively even – dominating and protective, and yet she – Mercy, in this case – laps it up. Now, I am speaking of the alpha male werewolf, but of course it applies to the alpha male man too. And it is quite certain that the young or youngish females with very kick-ass attitudes whom form the vast majority of the readers of such books, are going to prefer the alpha male to the slender and submissive wimp, nerd, sissy or other outsider when it comes to selecting their own mate.

I notice, though, that there is a new series by the same author, Patricia Briggs, the Alpha and Omega books, which feature an omega alongside some of the characters from the present series. Wondering what exactly an omega was – from the context it seemed to be a female who was not instictively submissive to the alpha males, I surfed a bit and found a quiz “What Kind of Wolf Are You?” so I did it and discovered I am an omega! Look –

What wolf are you?

Your Result: Omega Male/Female

you are the omaega male/female you tend to be a loner and you have only a couple close friends.you prefer to be alone . and you are not much of a follower.

Beta Male
Beta Female
Regular Wolf
Alpha Female
Alpha male
What wolf are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Try it for yourself.
The first book in the “Alpha and Omega” series is called Cry Wolf, and as you can imagine, after discovering that I am an omega I am raring to read it.


4 thoughts on “RIVER MARKED by Patricia Briggs (Review)

  1. Hey, Kandi, there are Alpha females as well. And according to that result there is even some of the Alpha female in you! Keep up the great reviews.

    1. Hi, MBG. I know, but I don’t really accept this. I think women are a lot more adaptable than men, and can fulfill any or all roles as and when they have to or the opportunity arises. Certainly, when called upon to do so, they can fill the Alpha slot – a reigning queen, for instance – classic example, Elizabeth I – but natural and unadaptable female Alphas (the Xena archetype) are pretty rare. Anyway, have a look at my review of “A Journey Round a Darker Sun” which I’ll be posting very soon. In that story, you have the adaptable woman and two totally unadaptable men. Love.

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