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REVIEW: Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Dear Ms. Briggs:

044101566201mzzzzzzz.jpgMy discovery of your novels began with the Hurog series at the recommendation of fellow reviewer and long time friend, Jan. I am ever so grateful to her because your books are subtle treasures. The Mercy Thompson series provides the perfect blend of world building and complex character arcs so that both the reader who wants their action with a twist and the reader who wants to be moved emotionally will be satisfied.

Mercy Thompson is a walker. Walkers are low on the paranormal/otherworld power chain. Mercy is not stronger, smarter, or magical when she shifts. The only benefit is that she is immune to magic. This immunity is a benefit and a curse because her immunity is a tool that those in power would like to control for their own selfish purposes.

Book three in the series, Iron Kissed, is packed with emotion, mystery, romance, and fantasy providing a full bodied read for the urban fantasy fan. Mercy is at a crossroads in her relationships with the two men in her life, Samuel and Adam Hauptman. Both are alpha werewolves although Samuel has no pack and Adam is the alpha of Tri Cities werewolf pack. Mercy must decide which one she loves more because Adam has declared his feelings for her and her lack of definitive response is weakening the clan.

When her mechanic mentor, Siebold Adelbertsmiter aka Zee, calls upon her to repay a favor to the Fae, she is grateful for the distraction. There have been several unsolved murders on the Fae reservation and the magic which the fae can call on without incurring the wrath of the Grey Lords has been insufficient in finding the perpetrator. Mercy is called in to use her nose to see if she can find an identifying scent of the murderer.

She does and completes her task only to receive a call that Zee has been accused of murder himself. Zee is a surrogate father figure for Mercy and the possibility that he will be a scapegoat spurs her into finding out who is the real murderer. This investigation triggers a whole set of terrible consequences for Mercy.

Mercy eventually figures out who did the killing but not before something tragic (and I know this is an overused word but it is totally appropriate here) befalls her. In order for her to move on, she must come to terms emotionally and physically with this tragedy. The way in which this tragedy was worked into the story was organic to the mystery. I never felt manipulated.

As a reader of primarily romance, this hit all the right buttons for me. There is a depth of emotion in this book not often found in the urban fantasy trope. Many times urban fantasy is compelling for external motivations: world building, mystery, action. The last third of this story, though, was truly emotional. I was moved to tears at Mercy’s struggle with the aftermath of her tragedy and grateful for her eventual triumph.

The love triangle was resolved beautifully and not in a way that I saw coming. I generally hate love triangles, particularly when the author is skilled in making me believe that both are good choices. Samuel and Adam are both decent, honorable men. They also both have their overbearing negatives. I was torn going into the story about which Mercy should choose and while I wanted her to choose someone, I wasn’t sure which one and when. The way in which the triangle was resolved was subtle and satisfying. I felt good when I read how the triangle concluded.

If readers haven’t picked up a Mercy Thompson book, I think they could start with Iron Kissed although I am sure reading one will spur the desire to read the previous two in the series. It’s definitely a series I recommend to romance readers, particularly those that enjoy strong fantasy elements.

I hesitate to give out perfect grades, but I’ve read this book three times since I received it and each time was transportative. I don’t know that it was a perfectly crafted book (there are tendencies towarynnecessary repetition such as Mercy’s previous vampire slayings and Samuel and Adam as dominants) but it was near perfect for me. A-.

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.


Just a note to clarify some speculation that this is the end of the Mercy Thompson series. It is not. Patricia Briggs is contracted for 4 more Mercy Thompson books and has started book 4.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Review iron kissed by patricia briggs - REVIEW: Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 04:28:11

    […] urban fantasy fan. Mercy is at a crossroads in her relationships with the two men in her life, … Read more… | Suggest Tags: Briggs Books for January Look for :  Books ETA: I can't believe I forgot to […]

  2. Laura
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 07:26:10

    I just bought this yesterday. I can’t wait to read it.

  3. Aoife
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 09:18:24

    I agree with the grade you gave, and with most of your review, although I feel as though whether Mercy has triumphed over the tragedy is a little bit less certain than your impression of the ending was. And, this particular development is one I hate, hate, hate. If I didn’t love P.B.’s writing so much, and if the first two thirds of the book hadn’t been so well done, I would probably have put Iron-Kissed down as soon as I could tell where things were heading, and that would have been the end of the Mercy Thompson series for me.

    I was perfectly satisfied with Mercy’s choice in the Adam/Samuel dilemma, and will be interested to see how that choice plays out in future books. I just hope that P.B. resists the temptation to revisit that choice (a la Anita Blake) later on.

    I also feel that Iron-Kissed is not a good place to start if someone has not read the two previous books in the series. The tone of the books is becoming increasingly darker, and I think that element might be a little overwhelming in Iron-Kissed without the arc begun in the other books.

  4. Diane V
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 09:40:24

    Liked “Iron Kissed” but the Mercy tragedy was just a bit too dark and horrific for me, so didn’t love it like the previous two Mercy books.

    Did like how she resolved the Adam/Samuel dilemma — especially liked Mercy and Samuel’s discussion in the car.

    I hope book 4 is lighter in tone and that we are not swamped with continuous flashbacks of Mercy’s tragedy from “Iron Kissed”.

  5. vanessa jaye
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 10:03:33

    On the strength of this review and the one Sasha White wrote recently over on her blog, I just went and bought this book on my coffee break. If it works, I’ll go back for book 1 and 2.

  6. Jane
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 10:05:49

    Aoife – I thought that the way in which Briggs handled the tragedy was really well done. There was no quick resolution but I did feel by the end of the story that Mercy was moving forward and to me, that was a triumph given how she suffered so terribly. I think I would have felt the issue cheapened if there were no side effects.

    Diane V – It is a darker book, but I appreciated the emotional overlay that Briggs brought to this urban fantasy novel. It was surprising to me and I was moved by it. I think Briggs is gaining my trust. The resolution to the Adam/Samuel dilemma was really handled masterfully and we all know how horrible love triangles can end up.

  7. Amanda
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 10:34:05

    I think Patricia Briggs gets better with every book. Iron Kissed was dark, tragic, and brought me to tears, but the emotions were real, not cheap or manipulative. I can’t wait to see where she takes this series.

  8. Chantal
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 10:48:51

    Ohhh, A-!
    I have this series, but I have yet to read any of them.
    I really need to get my butt in gear. I have so many I want to read RIGHT NOW, but I can’t read more than 2 books at a time.

  9. Keishon
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 11:36:50

    Excellent review. I agree with the Samuel/Adam dilemma, it was very well done. Briggs has gained my trust, after 3 books,with one major plot point resolved. I can’t wait to see what is next for these characters.

  10. Has
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 11:40:15

    I was lucky to get the book a few weeks ago – And its rare for me to get so emotionally invested in a book- especially in urban fantasy, which is great on action, plot, characters and worldbuilding but this book was bittersweet and very very poignant especially when Mercy was dealing with the aftermath of the events. Jane sums it up perfectly and now I am officially hooked on this series, and in some ways I think we are now getting into the real story- the first 3 books felt like it was setting the characters up and establishing the worldbuilding. I also think that now Mercy has chosen her guy – its going to be more like Eve and Rourkesque (Whom I ADORE- I *heart* Nora Roberts) and its going to be interesting to see how Mercy and her guy relationship will evolve along with repercussion of the event from Blood Bound and Iron Kissed.

  11. Meljean Brook
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 12:05:20

    I’ve read and loved the first in the series, but I’m not always a fan of the love triangle, so I held off on reading the second (it’s languishing in my TBR) until I heard a little more about the direction the romance would go (not who she picked, just that it wouldn’t be caught eternally between two men). So it’s nice to hear that’s resolved — I’ll definitely be picking this one up (and the Anna/Charles book later this year — the novella in On the Prowl was fantastic).

  12. Diane V
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 12:21:09

    I totally agree with Meljean about the novella in “On the Prowl” being fantastic. I can’t wait for Anna and Charles story too.

  13. Shanna
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 12:25:23

    I have to agree, I’ve loved all the the Mercedes Thompson books. They’re not very long but extremely satisfying. Thank God for Patricia Briggs, her writing is fantastic.

  14. Carolyn Jean
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 13:20:46

    Well, I am a huge of the love triangle and the first two books in this series, so I can’t wait to read this, though I am VERY worried about this tragedy! Also, great review – I like the idea of a “full bodied read.”

  15. heather (errantdreams)
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 13:55:09

    I’m not big on urban fantasy, but you’re tempting me! I like the new look, btw.

  16. MaryK
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 13:56:54

    Oh wow! I have definite ideas about who Mercy should choose so I’m on tender hooks hoping not to be disappointed.

    “As a reader of primarily romance, this hit all the right buttons for me. There is a depth of emotion in this book not often found in the urban fantasy trope.”

    I have the same Briggs history as you do. The Hurog series was my introduction, and I’ve been working forward and backward on her bibliography ever since. The reason I’m primarily a romance reader is the lack of emotional engagement in other genres. Briggs’ fantasies are more romantic than some romances, without really being overt. That’s exactly what I’m looking for in romance – an infusion of emotion. She’s awesomely talented.

  17. Seressia
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 16:50:24

    I bought this book during my post-Christmas glom last week. I stumbled upon the first book in the series by accident thanks to Amazon’s amazing-yet-scary “if you like this, you’ll love this” wizard.

    I’m glad they pegged me right. I squealed in the middle of B&N when I saw that this was out. Now I’ll have to stop writing to read this and thus avoid any spoilers. Thanks for the review.

  18. Marg
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 21:50:00

    One of these days I will read the first book in this series!

  19. Gwen
    Jan 03, 2008 @ 22:12:31

    Fantastic series. I’ll never forget reading the first book – completely by accident – and being WOW’ed.

    None of you will regret it.

  20. Tara
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 00:23:43

    I loved this book. I got it this morning at ten a.m and despite a four hour hike, I had it done by seven tonight. Once I started I had to keep going. My only real problem was I for some reason felt the whole love triangle was solved a wee bit too easy. I mean it left a good feeling and all but it was like, a huge build up and then ‘oh, thats not really a big deal.’ So that whole aspect felt a bit wrong for me and perhaps not messy enough for what it was built up to be. I did like her choice though!
    I’m also glad she is contracted for more books. As long as she does not go all Kim Harrison on me, I will be happy.

  21. Tamara
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 01:11:29

    If you enjoyed this book, you should try Rob Thurman’s two novels, Nightlife and Moonshine. Same genre, but I think they’re better. Really fun reads.

  22. loonigrrl
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 02:21:28

    Iron Kissed is definitely my favorite of the three although I am really surprised by how dark it got towards the end. I basically spent the last 50 pages just crying. I was trying to recall how Briggs dealt with the torture of her heroine in “Masques,” but as awful as that was, I don’t remember it being nearly as disturbing as what happens here. I’m really curious to see how it will affect Mercy and her relationships in the next couple books. I do think the event on the last page (or what was starting to happen) was WAY too soon, although I am glad she finally chose him in this book-he’s been my favorite of the two since the beginning.

  23. REVIEW: My First Sale by Patricia Briggs, Still a Little Surprised at Being Published | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 04:00:26

    […] with each successive book. I’m not the only one who feels that way. Her current release, Iron Kissed, was ranked 39 at Amazon the last time I […]

  24. Sasha White
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 14:23:14

    I started reading this series with Blood Bound, book 2. Then I picked up book one, and re-read both many times while waiting for IRON KISSED. i love d them, and like you, I found IRON KISSED near perfect. I’m thrilled to hear she’s got 4 more books for Mercy.

  25. Seressia
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 01:53:10

    Just finished reading it and like everyone else, LOVED IT. I did think the triangle got resolved a little conveniently, but it (sorta) worked. The whole book was just awesome…and now I have to wait for the next one. Man, if she jumps to hardcover, I’m gonna be pissed.

  26. Has
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 07:54:31

    Seressia I think you are going to hate this- but after Mercy 4 – Mike Patricia’s husband mentioned at her message board that the next books after that might be hardcover :S She deserves all the success though but my bank account aint going to be happy.

  27. Anne
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 18:40:34

    Although, the love triangle was resolved a little conveniently without out much crisis, Mercy is the one who chooose who she wanted to be with in the end. The convenient resolution makes it easier to keep both males in future books.

  28. Seressia
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 22:17:49

    Thanks, Has. I wish Ms. Briggs much success with th emove to hardcover. It just means I’ll have to wait a little longer to catch up on Mercy and Co. I only do hardcover for research books.

  29. Jaime
    Jan 14, 2008 @ 02:56:56

    I very much enjoyed the first two books in this series along with the first two thirds of the third book, but I was less then happy with the rest of Iron Kissed.

    For some reason it felt out of place and left me feeling a bit “off kilter.” The tragedy that Mercy deals with just didn’t feel right even if some of the pack interactions that came about I really enjoyed. Maybe I felt a little blindsided by how sudden/dark it was.

    And while I loved how it worked out with the guy that she didn’t choose, I felt that how it was “resolved” with the other guy was too short and abrubt, and just not real enough. Maybe she plans to do more with that in the next book.

    As I said I LOVED the first two and the first part of Iron Kissed but I just finished this book about 20 minutes ago and I’m left with a feeling of “wrongness” and “Wait a minute? There aren’t 5 pages I was missing there are there?”

  30. Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary » REVIEW: Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
    Feb 19, 2008 @ 17:00:27

    […] posted a favorable review a few weeks ago, which contains a good summary of the book, and I encourage interested readers to […]

  31. Urban Fantasy: Briggs and Chance « Jorrie Spencer
    Feb 21, 2008 @ 16:15:48

    […] are two, more informative reviews of Iron Kissed at Dear Author, with grades of A- and C+. Note that the second review has […]

  32. DamionKutaeff
    Mar 23, 2008 @ 11:37:49

    Hello everybody, my name is Damion, and I’m glad to join your conmunity,
    and wish to assit as far as possible.

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