Blood Bound is the second book in what could become a great new urban fantasy series starring a tough, non-human heroine. Mercedes Thompson is a VW mechanic, which gets her a lot of jokes. She is a “walker”, which is similar to the Skinwalkers of Native American folklore. Mercy can turn into a coyote, but she is not controlled by the moon like the werewolves she grew up with. This also means that she doesn’t have the strength, aggression, or magic that the weres do. Her mother gave her to the Marrok, the Alpha of all Alphas, and Mercy grew up being an anomaly in the pack.
While living with the Marrok, Mercy fell in love with Samuel, the Marrok’s son. When she was only 16 they were about to elope when Bran (the Marrok) told her that Samuel only wanted to marry her for her potential ability to provide him with children. See, werewolf females can’t have children because of the change, and human women can only have children with human DNA. So, while Samuel has lived a long time, none of his children have survived. He thinks that Mercy, being a shifter but not controlled by the moon, can give him children that might actually be born werewolves. But Mercy loves Sam and is heart-broken. She runs away to the Tri-Cities area in Washington to live her own life.
Now, 15 years later (and after the first book), Samuel is a roommate in her trailer and she’s getting cozy with the local Alpha, Adam. She’s very attracted to Adam but fears giving up her independence by falling in love with an Alpha. Werewolves are big on the whole dominance thing and women are always defined by their mates and are submissive to them. While Mercy deals with all these emotional issues, Stefan, her vampire friend, comes calling for a favor.
The story hits you with the action right from the beginning and hardly ever lets up. It’s an exciting, and sometimes spine-tingling, ride. Stefan believes that there may be a witch out there, controlling vampires, but when he and Mercy investigate, they discover a demon-possessed vampire sorcerer. This is not good news. The demon/vampire aspect is killing all kinds of people while the sorcerer aspect controls other vampires and incites werewolves to lose control of their wolves. That pretty much leaves Mercy to deal with the issue. She is perhaps the only walker left, because walkers are immune to most vampire magic, so the vampires saw them as a threat and killed them off. They would kill Mercy, but she’s proven useful so far.
I liked most everything about this book; what I didn’t care for was relatively minor stuff. Because this book mostly dealt with vampires, Mercy must learn about them, and the learning process bored me on occasion. Twice she goes to get information from Stefan’s menagerie (his group of willing human donors) and there is a somewhat lengthy information exchange that I had to push myself to get through. Then too, the story probably should have ended before it did. There was the big climax, but the story continued for another 40 pages while Mercy hunted up another vampire. It could have been more exciting, but it felt like even the author was just slogging through to get it over with. Those were the only real flaws that I found in an otherwise fast-paced and very enjoyable read.
Although I liked Blood Bound, I loved its predecessor, Moon Called. I’m quite interested in seeing what this author will do next. After working with Stefan, he has become a contender for Mercy’s heart, so she has three sexy guys after her. I have seen several great heroine-centered series get caught in the multiple-lover trap, which I think a lot of people feel cheapens the once-strong storyline. I hope that this series doesn’t go in that direction, because it has some great potential.