Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…
When Mercy and Adam head off for a week-long camping trip together, they look forward to enjoying some time alone with each other, far from the pack. But their romantic vacation is interrupted when a deadly creature appears in the Columbia River, and people start disappearing. After Mercy discovers a badly injured man in the river she is brought into contact with some of the leaders of the local Native American tribe, whose help she will need to defeat the evil monster. Mercy will also come to lean more about her father, who died before she was born, and her Native American heritage.
River Marked has a different feel to it then the other books in the series. The pace is more relaxed and the story is largely focused on Mercy and Adam’s relationship, placing them in a secluded setting where we get to see them in a different light. I was a bit disappointed that we don’t see much of the secondary characters from the previous books, though we do get to meet some interesting new ones.
The dangers that Adam and Mercy face also feel less intense than in the previous books, although they are are described as being just as deadly. I think there just wasn’t enough tension built up to make me feel anxious about the dangers, even when Mercy and Adam are in life-threatening situations. I kind of got the sense that this monster Mercy was fighting wasn’t as central to the story as were all of the Native American elements that gave Mercy a chance to discover more about herself and her father.
Now that Adam and Mercy are officially together the romantic tension between them is no longer present, and I missed it. While I’m glad that they are now a couple (and I don’t think Briggs could have put it off any longer,anyways) the story lacks some of the zing that their heated interactions provided. Their romantic exchanges are sweet but not particularly exciting.
All-in-all, while I did enjoy reading River Marked it wasn’t my favorite book of the series.
I enjoyed the Native American elements, which made the story fresh and different from the others in the series, and it was great seeing Adam and Mercy as a real couple. But because of the slow pace and lack of tension I wasn’t as caught up in the story as I usually am. River Marked felt like an interlude between books, a chance for Briggs's protagonists to develop a bit on their own, and I look forward to seeing what direction the rest of the series will now take.