By Patricia Briggs
Rebecca bought me Hopcross Jilly, a Mercy Thompson graphic novel, by Patricia Briggs for my birthday, and it was awesome because I hadn’t even known it existed! It focuses primarily on Mercy’s stepdaughter Jesse, who is struggling to find her place in high school now that she is known as the daughter of the local werewolf alpha. I’m trying to be as spoiler-free as possible, so excuse the coyness, but the events also take place after the big showdown with the fae, so the main antagonist is fae.
Which is where my problem comes in. From just about the beginning of the series, I’ve been on the fae’s side in their struggle with humans. In Briggs’ world, the fae have been treated somewhat similarly (though better) to how the US treated Native Americans, with extreme prejudice and isolation. So, when they have finally taken as much as they are going to take, it feels like an underdog fighting back, even though they are in fact murdering people. I found myself on the unsupportable side of a debate with Rebecca in which I was trying to hand-wave away the (fictional) murder of innocent children.
Anyway, it was fun to see more of Jesse, who is usually very much a side character, and the fae villain was quite interesting, and it had a satisfying ending, even if it wasn’t as pro-fae as I would have liked. I do also want to qualify this by saying that Briggs is clearly a novelist, not a graphic novelist, so there are times when the action and dialogue gets a little muddled since she isn’t writing in quite the screenplay style that a graphic novel demands.
I have also been reminded that I completely forgot to review Briggs’ Shifting Shadows, which is unforgiveable considering how long I’ve been whining for something exactly like this. Shifting Shadows collects all of Patricia Briggs’ short stories in a single volume, including the Alpha and Omega novella that kicks off that series, as well as some brand new stories. The new stories feature Mercy, of course, but also a variety of side characters that haven’t been given much backstory before, including Ben, one of Adam’s least pleasant pack members; Ariana, the fae with whom Mercy’s ex, Samuel, falls in love; and Kara, a young girl werewolf mentioned very briefly in the second Mercy novel.
And, of course, it contains all of my favorites from a variety of anthologies, like “Seeing Eye,” in which a werewolf and a witch pair up to bring down an evil witch coven; “Fairy Gifts,” about a vampire summoned to save a trapped fairy; and “The Star of David,” a Christmas story about David Christiansen, a werewolf mercenary from the first Mercy Thompson novel. I am just so happy to have them all collected in one place!