Moon Called Book Club Discussion
Today we are here to discuss Moon Called by the Fabulous Patty Briggs. Some of you will have read it long ago and maybe read it many times since. Some may have never picked it up. It’s a fact that this is a highly successful Urban Fantasy and one that frequently serves as a touchstone for all other urban fantasies.
I read this book long ago when it first came out and have been a fan of Patty’s for long before that. I remember just loving it at the time and being impatient for the next one. I loved the originality of a lot of it (which has since been copied in some respects by other writers). I love the word seethe for a collection of vampires. I’m just saying. That’s brilliant.
Anyhow, as I read it this time, I noticed some different reactions. I wasn’t sure I bought into Gerry’s rationale and how it work. Also, I wasn’t sure that the Witch’s son had enough set up and enough motivation.
But I was still blown away by the worldbuilding, by the complexity of the rules of pack are, of the rules of the Marrock are, and the complexity and depth of the characters and relationships. (For instance, reading it this time, I KNOW she has a plan for Ben and what it is–she’s told me that she knew all about Ben the moment she committed him to the page). And that adds depth to things.
I have to confess I am not caught up on the series. Some time ago when I was preparing to get the house on the market, I packed up most of my books, starting with my keepers. Well, guess what Patty’s books are? I can’t remember which I have, so I’ve been reluctant to buy what I already have. Plus I like to go back and reread older books in a series when reading the fresh new books. It makes me wonder, however, how much the issues of what Mercy is as a walker have been developed in terms of certain immunities to magic and other talents. I’m really curious now and want to get up. I need to get to the library and just read them all again.
Tell me, what are your thoughts? How do you feel about Gerry’s rationale/plan? What did you think of the son (was his name Robin? I suddenly can’t remember).
I’m kind of like you about this series. I love the worldbuilding and the rules behind pack behavior, but the plots could come from any of three other series–it’s a failing common to this sort of paranormal noirish mystery series. I love reading individual works in the best of the series, but after a while I really tire of the overall arc of the main protagonist because it always seems to be the same sort of angst. The differences between worldbuilding in these series are what make them great.
More later–gotta go do stuff.
I’m interested in rereading everything and looking into the ones I haven’t read. I wonder if the plot stuff is a product of market saturation. I think now days there has to be something really different to stand out and I’m not entirely sure what that would be. But I can’t critique the story arcs of these books because I haven’t read them far enough in, and what I have read, I can’t remember that well. Because I’m old and have a sucky memory.
Yeah, I think that such an analytic reread would make a nice summer project. That is, after I do the steampunk reread…
Thinking back on the series that I started, really liked for a while, then faded on, I really did try to stick with the Anita Blake series, but then things got over the top. But I ran into similar issues with the Dresden Files, a little bit with this one (I can never remember which ones I’ve read, dang it!), and a couple of mainstream mystery series. Actually, more than a couple mystery series, now that I think of it. After a while I wonder if it just becomes too difficult to keep a willing suspension of disbelief going in a mystery series, whether it’s mainstream or paranormal.
And yet…what keeps me checking in for the ones I like, both paranormals and mainstream, are two things: worldbuilding and character. I love reading Patty’s series for the worldbuilding…the Fae and the interactions between various supernatural creatures, and the characterizations. But I also love reading Rita Mae Brown’s mysteries, because her worldbuilding and characters get me involved and I like the setting and the complexity of the animal characterizations.
But I don’t avidly wait for announcements–they’re more of a fun read for when I need a nice comfort read.
Y’know, maybe we should suggest this as a panel to Justin for Miscon….
I wonder if it’s a general series arc thing. If it seems to become episodic rather than organically building to a destination, if you know what I mean. I know I read the first four or five Anita books and was blown away, but then they lost it for me. I still love the Ilona Andrews books, but a great part of that is the worldbuilding and the sense that the plots, while potentially episodic, have such amazing story telling and characters, that I’m just drawn along.
I forget, are you at Norwescon?
I’ll be at Norwescon but not on panels, alas.
I think you’re right about the organically building to a destination. Cherryh’s Foreigner series still keeps me engaged but that’s because a.) the events Bren Cameron experiences involve not just Bren but the fate of nations/a world and b.) Bren ages and changes throughout the series. In many series, especially paranormals, the stakes are personal to the protagonist and not involving the survival of species or worlds. Higher stakes seems to change the episodic nature of the stories–Brust’s Draegera series, Bujold’s Barrayar (though Miles has clearly reached the end of his arc), and Cherryh’s Foreigner are examples of those higher-stakes series. Interesting.
In any case, the Mercy Thompson stories are ones that I pick up occasionally for a comfort read, along with Rita Mae Brown’s hunting mysteries and the Sneaky Pie series. I think that’s possibly an element for a paranormal series or a mystery-type series–the one that kinda breaks the mold for readability for me is the Amsterdam Cop series because I’ve enjoyed that full set but the difference in setting may be an element. I think the Anita Blake series stopped being a comfort read for me and that’s why I stopped looking for them, while I do check the Mercy stories to see if they’re new.
About Gerry–I didn’t like his rationale, I would have liked a bit more of a breadcrumb to make the connection in rationale for his choices. But I did like the description of Carter Wallace’s passing on–that little paragraph was one of the lovely little nuggets in the book, so much said in very few words. Elegantly done.
I remember having problems not just with Gerry’s rationale, but how the first part of the plot, with the kid, fit into the overarching plot. Then again, I was very attached to the kid and I was pretty shocked when he died.
I really liked Mac, too. I understood though, that his death really engaged Mercy on a level that she might not have engaged at without him. I don’t know that Jesse was enough, or Adam, for that matter.
But Gerry’s logic was so convoluted. I get it. And on some levels I really like that it’s not straight forward and easy to figure out, but it’s explained out last minute and I don’t know, I just wanted something that felt a bit more organic.
Well let me throw in a couple of things here, this book was written prior to 2006, she was already an established author at that time and I doubt she copied anyone (the reverse might be true). I am pretty sure this was her first foray into the PNR/UF genre since all the things of hers I read before were in the Fantasy genre (very good I might remark). Since I have read ALL the books in this series I know the overarching storyline takes off in directions I can’t think have been repeated in the hundreds of books I read/review each year. At this point in the series you really had no idea of the impact her mentor/boss Zee would play later in the series. This discussion is hard for me because in my mind I am WAY down the road from this first book 🙂 I know my thought on the vampires in this first book are far from what they will be later in the series.
Oh absolutely. Patty set some of the standards and she’s definitely been the copied rather than the copier. I’ve absolutely no doubt about that.
It’s was a long time since I read this one, and going back has made me appreciate it in new ways, but also made me wish the Gerry plot was a little bit more fleshed out. It has made me want to reread what I have read and read the rest I haven’t. The library will be my friend, since as I said, all mine are packed away.
This is her first UF. And in fact, what’s interesting is that the cover was done for another book that was never delivered. So her editor came to her and said, would you have an idea for a book that would work for this cover? And Patty loved the cover so much she said absolutely yes and that was that.