Smoke Bitten

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Apr 2020

Member Reviews

We’re deep into the Mercy Thompson world with Patricia Briggs’ newest addition, Smoke Bitten. Mercy is a mechanic, shapeshifter, and all-around trouble maker in the supernatural community. Or maybe she’s a trouble finder? Either way trouble surrounds her and her people in the form of a smoke demon from another world. With pack drama thrown in, its another wild ride with Briggs at the steering wheel.
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Something has escaped from Underhill. Something with the power to assume control over anything with a single bite—and then take their form. It's up to Mercy to stop it, before it can kill anything else.

3.5 stars, rounded down—and I'm kinda sobbing to be admitting that I didn't love a Mercy Thompson book nearly as much as the rest of the series.

After the stunning previous two installations, this felt more like filler for a Big Showdown of Something.

The set-up for a Later Thing:

-Underhill established a door so that she can visit Aiden.
-The witches' curse on Adam is coming into power.
-Mercy is realizing the power of her pack bonds and how to use them.
-The relationship with the Marrock and everything else is being realized/established.
-Jesse decides to go to college close to home, instead of at the U of O near her mother (boooooo, Chrissy) or U Dub (because things are Shaking Up and she needs to be safe).
-Girl Power™ in the form of highlighting the female werewolves and their power.
-Stefan is out of action, as Stefan always is.
-Wulfe is weird and has a kink for Mercy, but every cishet man has a kink for Mercy so that's not new.

And really not much else happens. There is a lot of talk, a lot coordinating and double coordinating and running around trying to figure out what the fuck is going on and what is happening with Adam and much Congratulations about Mercy and Adam boning At Long Last So the Alpha Chills the Fuck Out.

The Big Bad is as nebulous as the smoke that curls out of its bites. That whole plot (and it's kinda ridiculous revelation???) felt more like something that should have been kept into a novella instead of expanded into a whole-length book.

Overall, there were good points, but most of the plot and reasoning went around its ass to get to its elbow and therefore it felt like very little was revealed or accomplished.

Here's hoping that something Big (and actually consequential) happens in the next book, because I will be very disappointed if this long-running series gets stale. And I hope that the next book has Big Things that happen that...actually change the dynamics of the world, because despite the Columbia Gorge crew being out of the Marrock's protection and on their own, nothing really has changed. And Adam's curse felt more like a gimmick than real angst and suffering.

Anywho, I'll read the next one because I love this series to death, but fingers crossed that there's an end in sight before it rehashes old plot points and stretches a tiny plot out into a novel.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
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While the beginning was a little slow in places, the action picks up and it becomes impossible to put the book down—and the walking stick is back!  It may be initially confusing for new readers, but they no doubt will enjoy it enough to read all the previous books as well.. As usual, excellent writing and world building, a very satisfying read.
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Another fine addition to the Mercy Thompson series. Patricia Briggs delivers quality urban fantasy and believable characters.
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Smoke Bitten was a fun romp in the world of the Mercy Thompson series. I liked the villain being something they couldn't immediately fight or control or even see. That was a new challenge for the characters to confront. I wonder where the series will be going next.
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J: At the start of every book, I wonder what bit of myth or fairy tales Patty is going to twist into a fun new story. I really loved this one. I hadn't come across it in over a decade, so it actually stumped me to the end.

B: I figured out the fairy tale, based on clues another character gave Mercy but I was less certain of other motivations, villains, and events. Patty's use of the fairy tale was creative for sure. Like Jax, I'm always curious about what myth or fairy tale Patty will use. It's fun to try and identify them.

J: Another fantastic aspect of these books is watching Adam and Mercy - they do and don't have their happily ever after. Life and marriage don't work that way, and it's wonderful to see them find their way through insecurities and the aftermath of trauma.

B: Maybe it's because I've never been married, but I get worried when my fictional friends have marital problems. I know it's more realistic, and when reading romance I actually like the marriage in trouble trope, but not in my series! My heart hurt for both Mercy and Adam. There wasn't an easy fix though better communication would have helped. Neither are the sort to complain or share their feelings and boy, did that cause problems. 

J: It is hard to watch the strain between them. It's funny, because I like this trope in my series better than in one shot romances. :)

J: Speaking of Adam - for those who are long time fans - does anyone else get the feeling that Bran is grooming Adam to be his replacement? Maybe not just Adam, but Adam and Mercy as a team. Let's face it, the Marrok has been around for a very long time. We all hate to think of a world without him, but he's not immortal.

B: I have had that feeling for a few books now. Charles and Anna would be good replacements but so would Adam and Mercy. I wonder if Bran would step down and retire? It seems unlikely, he can't mind his own business, but it would make for a heck of a story.

B: One thing I didn't like, and this is a frequent problem in Patty's books, is how overly convoluted the plot was. I long sometimes for a plot, a story, that's simple. The story felt at times like it was tripping over itself. I know that every story needs a Big Bad, a threat that is severe enough to challenge Mercy and the pack, but honestly, I think Patty could scale back a little. The story did move the overall series arc forward, added to previous story threads, and I am looking forward to seeing how things shake out, Now that I think about it some more, most of what happens in this story is the result of previous events and issues. While it was good to see them addressed, it also felt a bit repetitive at times. I'd like to see new problems, new issues, and new angles.  

J: I agree - it's hard to do a simple plotline in a series that has lasted as long as Mercy's. Each book has to up the ante. I would like to see Mercy finally be accepted by the pack. There needs to be another reason for there to be trouble in the ranks. (B: YES!!!)

Bea's Verdict: A good story, interesting, moves the series forward, but not a must-read for me. 3 stars.

Jax's Verdict: A fun read. I always enjoy the Mercy Universe. But not the best book in the series. 3 stars

Some of our favorite quotes from the digital ARC:

Adams's alpha dominance didn't make me want to drop to my belly in instant obedience--it made me want to stick out my tongue or smack him on the nose.

I snorted. "You underestimated your mother's ability to get people to perform in the Stupid Olympics for her."

"Mercy wanted it to be at three in the morning," said Aiden. "But Adam told her that he wanted everyone functional."

He took a sip of his coffee and then exploded into expletives that had a couple of the wolves taking out their phones to look up a few of the words he used.

"I just need to quit hitting people with my cars and we'll be good," I told him. "If only," he murmured, "you don't run into any more who need to be hit." Proving he knew me.

"My car is fine," Jesse said cheerfully. "Dad, you and Mercy have got to take better care of your stuff. Do you think that money grows on trees?"

Check out more quotes at Bea's Friday memes post.

Previous reviews:

#3, Iron Kissed
#7, Frost Burned
#8, Night Broken
Shifting Shadows, anthology
#9, Fire Touched
#10, Silence Fallen
#11, Storm Cursed
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Mercy Thompson is back for another supernatural adventure. A mysterious smoke fae is possessing and killing others in and around the Tri-Cities, a new werewolf pack in honing in on their territory and Mercy's  love Adam is keeping something from her.  An excellent entry to the series!
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3.5 stars

Patricia Briggs' Smoke Bitten is the 12th installment in her Mercy Thompson series. A series that revolves around a stubborn female shape shifting mechanic and her very alpha  wolf hubby as they attempt to live in peace with their pack while handling the supernatural trouble that seems to drawn to them. A dark plot line, as seems to be the current norm for this series, will drag readers in as Briggs builds on a the long running arc concerning the fae and the underhill. A clever twist on an old fairy tale gives readers a new appreciation for the classics. Briggs wraps up some older plot lines while revamping and reinvigorating some others. Clear concise dialogue,plenty of action, and well developed characters keeps the series easy to follow though fans may find the constant testing and distrust of the heroine trying. I can't be the only one who'd love one day for Mercy to tell  the whole pack, Adam and Jessie included, to go take a long walk off a short pier and take a much needed vacation away from them all. 


Mercy Thompson never expected the Underhill to appear in her backyard nor unleash an unknown horror into her domain. Now Mercy must fight to keep her friends and family safe while trying to keep the ghosts of the past from destroying her marriage. Using every skill in her arsenal,  Mercy will have to play a game with a monster that could end with her death or much worse.
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Things have been rough since the witches, but that's nothing new. Things are always rough for Mercy. Yet Adam has always been there to share the load. Now he's remote and has shut down their mating bond. Mercy needs to find out why but at the same time she's scared as to what this could mean. Perhaps he doesn't want her anymore as his mate what with trouble always showing up on her doorstep. The newest trouble being their neighbors. They have died of an apparent murder-suicide. Only Mercy knows this couldn't be the case, especially once she sees a bite on the husband's arm. A bite that looks like it could be from a jackrabbit. When Mercy and Adam go out in search of this jackrabbit they come across two additional unsettling discoveries; there are unknown werewolves in their territory and the vampire Wulfe has taken to stalking Mercy as his new hobby. Though Wulfe turns out to be the least of their concerns, which in itself is concerning, because he saves Mercy from the effects of the jackrabbit's bite. She has no doubt that Wulfe's quick actions combined with her weird reactions to magic are the only things that saved her. And her survival has pissed off her attacker. So the pack congregate and formulate a plan. A plan that is having to constantly be reformulated and intensified as the threats and the imminent danger get closer and closer. If only Mercy was sure everything would be all right with Adam at the end of the day this fight would be so much easier; but Mercy's life isn't easy.   

At this point it's getting hard to write reviews about Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series because I feel like there's nothing more to say about how much I love them without repeating myself. This series is hands down the best female driven urban fantasy series out there. Period. Every March I can't wait to get my hands on the newest book in Briggs' universe always wondering what creature will be the big band this time around. Because Briggs does tend to concentrate on a specific threat, Vampire, Fae, Werewolf, Witch, they rotate as the ultimate evil with occasional surprises thrown in. What makes Smoke Bitten so different is that instead of addressing just one big bad Mercy is addressing them all, showing not just the depth and range of Briggs' storytelling abilities to juggle many plot points but also underlining how complicated Mercy's life has become as protector of her plot of land. This makes Smoke Bitten feel not just a more ambitious book, but a more fully rounded book. You can't just pick and choose one crisis to deal with at a time, life isn't that accommodating. Therefore it feels like Mercy has grown up, she's able to handle it all, and in the end she saves the day as she always does, but never without sacrifice and never without her friends by her side. Friends, from Bran to Zee to Wulfe, who be they enemy or throne in the side, feel like my family.
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While this was a little hard to get into and slower than normal I still enjoyed the book. The entire thing just felt so much more focused on the marital relationship as apposition to furthering the story.  It was good but not my favorite book in the series.
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A lot of interesting things are happening in book twelve of the Mercy Thompson series. With SMOKE BITTEN, one of the most worrying things about this book is the fact that Mercy and Adam are experiencing some marital problems. Because I’ve been a fan of this series from the very first book, this worries me. I’m a Romance author and when I see authors tinkering around with a happily-ever-after, I get kind of nervous. But I’m hoping that Briggs has a better plan in mind for her characters rather than messing with what she has so expertly created already.

This book has a slower pace to it, so it did take me a little longer to get into from the beginning. It has a bit of a mystery theme to it this time as Mercy tries to identify a monster. I’m sure readers will get a kick out of trying to figure it out before she does.

I’m still unsure if I like this book over some of the previous books in the series, but it definitely is different and that’s a good sign. It shows that Briggs is still able to keep the series fresh even after twelve books in the series and I know that when the next book comes out, I will be one of the first ones waiting to read it.
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It looks like we have returned to those riveting stories that caused so many of us to fall in love with this series.  This time as usual there are a multitude of plots, some very important and some less important but all are interesting and hold your attention.  The romance angle is confusing but ends up playing a very important part in the final resolution of things.  The "big bad" this time is a "smoke monster" (hence the title) and it takes some real effort to figure this one out and you are in for a bit of a surprise.  Last but not least we have at least 3 other plots (or more) but I loved the last sentence, I had missed that thing :)
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Smoke Bitten is the 12th installment in author Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series. Shape-shifting mechanic Mercy Thompson has painted a target on the pack by claiming that the Tri-Cities was the Columbia Basin Packs territory to protect whether they are human or not. With Bran no longer protecting the pack, it has become that much harder for the pack to keep track of all the troubles that continue to pop up no matter how small or large. The previous story proved that there are groups of paranormals that will go to great lengths to go up against he pack.

This story opens with several storylines. Because of the dangers facing the pack and the fact that she's human, Jesse has had to make a choice that she will attend a local university rather than attend one in Oregon where her mother lives so that she can be protected by those like Tad and the Pack. Of course, there are still certain members of the pack who still prefer Christy over Mercy. When Mercy goes into her yard to give everyone, including herself, a chance to cool down, she makes an unfortunate discovery.  

The ancient power that is Underhill, the underground world of the fae, which manifests as a creepy young girl in order to spend time with Aiden, has opened a door from Underhill into Mercy’s back yard. What's worse, a dangerous entity has escaped. This creature can take over a body by biting with ‘smoke’ and at the same time kill anyone nearby, putting everyone’s lives in danger. One of its first targets just happens to be our favorite Coyote shifters neighbors as well as Mercy who ends up being saved the ridiculously dangerous vampire/witch Wulfe who seems to be stalking Mercy relentlessly. 

With this primordial being on the loose, everyone wonders what other dangerous creatures are being kept in Underhill and whether they will eventually escape as well. The second part of this story is Adam's disconnection from Mercy. Wouldn't be a big issue except that Adam has been keeping the mating bond between himself and Mercy on lock down for reasons she doesn't know as he won't talk to her about what's going on. Mercy has to make a choice. Does she walk away, or does she stick around and slap Adam upside his head until he tells her what the hell is wrong with him? 

If you've read the previous installment, you will understand why Adam has pretty much kept his feelings and thoughts under lock and key. I don't agree it was the right thing to do, but he literally went through hell. If that weren't enough! A group of rogue werewolves attempt to move in on Adam's pack with the help of a assassin Witch which escalates the danger facing Mercy and the Pack. And for the first time in awhile, Bran actually seems to be willing to offer some guidance without making it seem that he supports the packs recent choices. 

I think it is fair to say that the Pack has its hands full. After all, 8 have left the pack either by their own choice, or have been killed by the monsters that the pack has had to face since Mercy entered the picture. I will also say this. You really should have read the entire saga in order to understand the dynamics and the characters and what has happened to this point. There have been too many character and a lot of world building that has already taken place. This has also become a problem with characters that haven't been seen in awhile. They are more like tertiary or guest characters than party of the Mercyverse. Oh, by the way, just when you think the story has been wrapped up, don't let down your guard. You'll be sorry you did!
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The beginning of this book put me through the emotional ringer and while I hated it ... I loved it. I always appreciate when an author makes me physically feel something and when Mercy was in her own head worried about the status of her relationship, I FELT it. That pit in my stomach ache that effing hurts.

So, well done!

Beyond that, the story was great. I didn't expect anything less. We have magic and mystery, and when it rains as it does in Washington, and often, it pours.

We had blow after blow and Mercy kept on going! I will never tire of this series.
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Guys, there's a reason I eagerly anticipate the new Patricia Briggs book every year. They're awesome and so bingeable! I love so many things about the Mercyverse and Smoke Bitten once again reaffirmed why all over again.

Mercy is Mercy. I can't begin to explain how much I love her as a character! She's down-to-earth while being sneaky. I can't help but feel sorry for the Columbia Basin Pack sometimes. With each new book, I look forward to her snark and her outlook on each troublesome situation she gets into. And our little coyote keeps getting into trouble.

One thing I love about this series is how the world is always evolving and changing. Ever since Mercy claimed the Tri-Cities Area, they've encountered so many different creatures. Volcano gods, walking sticks with minds of their own, and black witches are all in a day's work for Mercy and her pack. But something is coming and the pack might not be strong enough to overcome it.

I never know what a new Mercy book will bring and Smoke Bitten delivered on that. I was constantly trying to guess what the heck was really going on. Things haven't been the same since they fought the witches in Storm Cursed. Mercy's marriage is having problems. Wulfe is being creepy and stalkerish. The neighbors are dead. Something is taking bites out of the werewolves. There's drama and a whole bunch of other stuff is about to hit the fan. 

I couldn't stop reading once I picked this book up. I love romance but I have a hard time reading books with relationship angst and issues among established couples. The author handled the relationship portion of the plot with such deftness that I wasn't annoyed at the story. And what a story it turned out to be! This book throws reveal after reveal at you and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It's a classic Mercy book for you.

I loved all the interactions between the pack and the other major players in the story. Things are happening that are going to have a huge impact on the Mercyverse soon and I can't wait to see how things are going to play out. This book has a lot of the Pack and a lot of Ben in it and I adored that about it!

I have so many theories about where things are going and I'm going to have to wait to see how things play out. Now I just have to wait another year for the next one. I can wait patiently for it, right? If you're trying to decide to read this newest addition to the Mercyverse, just go get the book. It's totally worth it for the snark and banter alone!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
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Thanks to NetGalley for making an eARC copy of this book available to me.

I do love this series, and this book didn't disappoint in the least.  We delve deeper into the mate-bond between Mercy and Adam, we get a chance to dislike Adam's ex-wife again, we get fae, vampires, some new wolves, the Underhill, and Mercy even manages to trash a few cars during this book's adventure.  Oh, and the author continues to do a great job of capturing the flavor and geography of the Tri-Cities, where I once lived for ten years.
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Patricia Briggs gets Mercy Thompson into conflict with a creature who takes over people by biting them and is a smoke based entity.  She and her Alpha wolf husband Adam are protecting their werewolf pack.  Fae, witches and werewolf intrigues interfere with their efforts.  Non stop action, interesting characters and great paranormal plot.  Read and enjoy. Recommend buying as I did after reading.
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It still amazes me that with 12 books in the series it is still fresh and interesting.  My only complaint is the book was too short, but I really would like to read this for days on end.  Mercy and Adam continue on their journey in their relationship, but, a new problem has entered into the mating bond and it is fragmenting it.  Mercy continues to mature in her relationship with Adam and the pack.  And her powers seem to be getting greater.

The big bad of the novel is an interesting twist.  I really did not see it coming (probably should have), and totally was bowled over by it.  The clues were all there and were easy to connect once you had the knowledge.  I really enjoyed the story and pacing of this novel.  I can't wait for the next one.

Received as an ARC from Netgalley.
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This is one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. It has never disappointed me, and this time it was still just as good as ever. There were several things going on in this book and it was great fun trying to make sense of things, and figure out which happenings were related to each other, and which ones weren't. In the beginning my heart hurt for Mercy with the issue that was going on with a certain someone.

Some things got turned upside down this time around, and I wasn't sure if they would ever be the same again, and I was really anxious for a while, but I'm happy with the way things were handled. Mercy is just awesome all around and she always comes up with brilliant solutions to things. I especially loved the parts that Mercy spent in her 'other' place, and getting to see the way she viewed the pack bonds and the mating bond, and also her bond with Stefan. It was all so very interesting. One thing I loved the most about this part of the book were the interactions Mercy had with Adam's wolf.

As for the 'big bad' in this one, The smoke beast was an interesting concept, and I'm always amazed at what Briggs comes up with for each book. It ended up being pretty easy to predict the name of the person behind this smoke beast, and I actually kind of giggled a little, but it was not easy to figure out some other things. The book definitely kept me reading, and now I'm counting down the days until the next installment.

On a side note-

I noticed Mercy wears pajamas with ponies on them and says they were a gift from her mom, who loves horses. I thought of the author Patricia Briggs, who loves horses, and who is Mercy's 'mom' in that she created her. I'm sure the author was referring to herself. I just thought it was a fun little thing that was added in there.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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I’ve been a fan of this series for a while, and while I quite enjoyed the last book, there was a certain something missing. Not so this one; this was the greatness that I’ve always expected. Mercy is still probably one of my favorite characters and one of the attributes that draws me in is her ability to not jump to conclusions and get angry about assumptions about the people in her life. She’s patient, tries to find out what’s going on, and works towards that goal unlike some characters who if they’d just ask questions then everything would work out. Not only that, this book has an interesting villain who I couldn’t figure out, great pack dynamics with some great characters, and some kick-butt action which equaled a great book. It’s nice to see Mercy back to her greatness. Highly recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.
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