Bookbub Bargains: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
When Moon Called showed up on my Bookbub, I had to jump on it even though it was a discount and not a free book (since there are so many options I've been limiting myself to the free ones). I've heard a lot about this series, and seen a lot of comments on other people's reviews of other books comparing to this one.
So, I was eager to read this book with over 1500 positive reviews on Amazon. First, I have to note that this is not an independent author, which surprised me. It's a traditionally published book, and for that reason I'm going to be a little more critical than I am of independent authors because I know how much money and work goes into those, how many eyes see it before it hits market, everything.
My first thought when I found out this book was traditionally published was surprise; I was surprised because I saw a lot of errors I recognize in indie authors that I expected a traditional publishing house to fix. Awkward phrasing, things that felt rough or unfinished, and a LOT of random info-dumping, paragraphs and paragraphs of it, throughout the book. Even about things that didn't really matter to the storyline. It felt like there were way more story tangents than needed to be in the book, and it just distracted from the overall story. This book capped out at 295 pages and could easily have been close to 200 with the amount of unnecessary (and often awkward) crap.
On the positive, I identified with the main character, Mercy, right away. I love the way the author presents her and her thoughts, the way she thinks through and about things, and how relatable she is. It's a classic take on an 'orphan' story, and I can already see where the series is leading; Mercy doesn't know her true heritage as a coyote shifter, but she's special and there are a few hints about what that could mean. I thought the author set up the love triangle well, the old love vs. new love, the hurt and confusion, played well. I think a lot of her assumptions are a bit too convenient to help drive the 'misunderstanding' plot point along, but it didn't piss me off.
The main story behind the plot got rather convoluted and ended up requiring the characters to dissect the inner workings of someone's twisted perspective, which felt a little too conveniently understood and extracted. It helped that Mercy just has 'feelings' that are right and can magically tell when someone is up to something, and that some of the wolves 'know' when someone is lying like living truth-detectors. Okay. A little too convenient.
Overall I enjoyed the story, but I won't be reading more. I thought it was good enough to finish this book, but not good enough to entice me to read the next one. The characters didn't stick in my head afterwards, and that's a sure sign to me I'm rather 'meh' about the entire thing. I'm not upset at having paid $1.99 for the book, but when I checked on Amazon to see how much of a discount I received I was shocked to discover the Kindle edition retails for $7.99 - that's when I realized it was traditionally published. All of the follow-on novels in the series are similarly priced.
Every author deserves to get paid for their work, and I don't begrudge this author especially considering she is traditionally published and is likely not seeing much of that $7.99 price tag. However, given that this work was no better than a very average indie author, I have no desire to pay that price for the next in series when I could potentially enjoy a similar level of craftsmanship from an indie author (and possibly much better) for a lot less.
One final note, I did appreciate how the author managed to write a story with a main character of a different race than herself. I think she did it by not delving too much into the culture - the character being an orphan and not knowing the father from whom she received her Native blood helps. Briggs lightly touched on it and handled the entire situation with kid-gloves. I suspect that race will play a bigger role in the rest of the series, given how accurately she describes the appearance and suspected heritage of the other characters.
Overall I give Moon Called 3 *'s. It's not bad, and it's entertaining, but it's not great and it's just not good enough to merit that price tag for me.
Do you have any books you've read recently that you expected to love but just didn't live up to the hype?