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Mercy Thompson #12

Smoke Bitten

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2020)
Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only "superpowers" are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I'm going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill--until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything--even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won't, can't, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published March 17, 2020

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About the author

Patricia Briggs

130 books27.6k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana, to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children, and six horses and writes full time, much to the delight of her fans.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,636 reviews
Profile Image for Corina.
778 reviews2,115 followers
March 25, 2023
Smoke Bitten, was exactly what I needed. Not only was it a story that engaged and captivated me, it also allowed me to leave RL behind and enjoy the world of Mercy Thompson to the fullest.

I’m always fascinated when authors change the status quo. Things I thought were settled and well adjusted, are now on its head. For any Mercy Thompson fan, this book is shaking things up.

What I love about this series the most is that Mercy is still very much her own person. Although she found her place in Adam’s pack, she still operates very much as a her own entity. Nothing has changed in the way she supports Adam in every way she can, but she is also aware that she is not fully part of the pack yet. That allows for some very interesting maneuvering on her part regarding pack politics, dynamic, and allegiances between the members of the pack.

Most important of all, Mercy is strong, smart, and loyal. Her faith in Adam is unbroken, not even in the face of some unsettling changes. And I very much admired the way she handled it all. There isn’t another heroine like her that has the ability and intuitive perception to see the bigger picture. She is not easily scared or jumps to conclusion. I wish other heroines would be like her.

Also, the every changing pack dynamic is still a favorite part of mine. The ever growing allegiances and slight changes in pack ranking are fascinating to see unfold. Besides the friendships that have developed and strengthened over time, new enemies and foes are plenty.

Furthermore Smoke Bitten delivered quite the development, and I can’t wait to see where it all leads to. In regards to the main plot, it was as always fascinating. I absolutely adore monsters that are patterned on myth, lore, and folktales (see Kate Daniels). Even more so, when the author weaves the story brilliantly and makes it impossible to guess who it the bad guy really is.

And as always, reading a Mercy Thompson novel goes by way too quickly, and I’m now sitting here, waiting impatiently for the next one.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.

Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
March 25, 2020
On sale now! 3.75 stars for this twelfth book in the UF Mercy Thompson series, and that's not counting the five closely-related Alpha and Omega books. :) Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Fresh off her clash with black witches in Storm Cursed, Mercy Thompson — the coyote shapeshifter and Volkswagen mechanic whose urban fantasy series follows her adventures with vampires, werewolves, fae, witches and various monsters — is fretting about the distance that has built up between her and her husband, Adam, alpha of the local werewolf pack. Their mating bond has been shut down for weeks, keeping her from knowing his thoughts and feelings.

But other troubles raise their heads, distracting Mercy (at least temporarily) from the problems with Adam. The ancient power that is Underhill, the underground world of the fae, manifests in their home as Tilly, a creepy young girl (“I love battles. Blood and death followed by tears and mourning.”). Tilly has opened a door from Underhill into Mercy’s backyard, allowing a particularly dangerous creature to escape from Underhill. The vampire Wulfe has developed a disturbing fascination with Mercy, stalking and spying on her. And a rogue werewolf pack has moved into the Tri-Cities area, and is challenging Adam’s pack for control of their territory.

Patricia Briggs packs a lot into Smoke Bitten, juggling all of these subplots and making them fit together. It makes this installment in the MERCY THOMPSON series more convoluted than usual. Briggs has a habit of raising new plots from the semi-cold ashes of older ones from previous books in the series. To a greater or lesser degree, most of the plotlines in Smoke Bitten have their genesis in events from earlier books. It adds continuity to the series and allows Briggs to build a more complex world, but also makes it imperative that readers have read and recall events and characters from the prior books in the series.

As a corollary, the reader never knows when an issue that seemed to be comfortably resolved at the end of one book might lead to a related problem in the next. Some of the plotlines in Smoke Bitten are even more unresolved than usual; Briggs is clearly building toward a major conflict — or two — in a future novel. It leads to a bit of a “middle book syndrome” feeling, but Briggs is a talented author, and the explanation underlying the smoke weaver plotline, and how it played out, was a particularly smart bit of plotting. Readers can deduce who the creature from Underhill is if they know their folklore and are paying attention, but Briggs gives the traditional fairy tale an unexpected and intriguing twist.

Great stories usually contain themes of love and redemption, and both of those play a key role in Smoke Bitten. Adam, facing a new problem that he doesn’t know how to solve, shows unexpected vulnerability. As Mercy comments, “Adam was good at saving people other than himself.” He’s making it difficult for Mercy to help him, though, closing her out in an effort to save her from his troubles. There are several poignant moments as this married couple navigates new and problematic shoals in their lives.

Smoke Bitten is a suspense-filled tale and a solid installment in the MERCY THOMPSON series. It leaves me anxious to see what happens next.

Initial post: I've been trying to figure out how I can get hold of the ARC for this book and LOOK WHAT JUST BARELY LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP. I yelled "YES!" out loud and probably scared the cat and dog. :D Thanks to the publicists at Ace/Penguin Random House for the ARC!

Murderous fae trouble for Mercy Thompson again. I CAN HARDLY WAIT.
Profile Image for KP.
175 reviews47 followers
Want to read
May 1, 2019
There is a TWELFTH Book!!! 😭😭❤️❤️ I'm just so damn happy!! I've gotten so used to a new Mercy book every year for the past few years and I simply don't want this awesomeness to end. These books are like warm, gooey Chocolatey Brownies!
Profile Image for Anne.
3,868 reviews69.2k followers
October 30, 2021
Ok, well. I definitely like this one better than the last one, but I'm starting to think I'm just not as into Mercy as I used to be.
It's another good installment, and all hands are on deck to save the day! <--nothing wrong with any of that.


I just think I'd rather read about the other characters besides Mercy & Adam. For some reason, I just don't really care about them or their relationship anymore.
I would LOVE to read a series about Bran! Or Stefan! Wolf Wulfe! Even Jessie & Tad.
But Mercy & Adam are...I don't know. It's like reading about your grandma and grandpa at this point. There's no wit or challenge between them. They seem like a happy, trusting, couple that solve their problems in a reasonable way. Which, on the surface sounds lovely! And typically, I enjoy those couples in urban fantasy settings.
But there is something seriously missing here. A spark.
Maybe some fun? I honestly don't know.


Ok, the gist is that there's a bite-y smoke monster from Underhill on the loose. The humans terrified. The vampires are terrified. The fae are terrified. The werewolves aren't quite as terrified, but they should be.
Also, something is wrong with Adam. He's locked Mercy out of their mating bond because of glorified self-esteem issues....or is it something more?
Wulfe, the psychotic witch/wizard/vampire-hybrid is stalking Mercy and being all creepy and helpful. Underhill has camped out in Mercy & Adam's backyard to be close to Aiden (the fire kid). And the dude with the Volcano god inside him is having some control issues.
To add some suburban drama into the mix, Jessie isn't going to college near her mother, so Christy stirs up some shit between a pack member and Mercy to be spiteful.
Mercy bakes cookies. Because that's what she does.

Like I said, the story itself was solid and interesting. I just wish I was seeing it from the point of view of someone other than the main character. <--I understand this is blasphemy!


This was my first time with a Mercy Thompson audiobook and I liked it.
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Edition: Unabridged
Lorelei King - Narrator
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,126 followers
March 20, 2020
Ugh, the apocalypse sucks! Is anyone else actually getting LESS reading time? And this is the early part of the apocalypse. I am just saying right now that if running for our lives becomes a thing, I'm out. That's enough already. Sheesh!

On the other hand.... if things go this way, I'm all in, baby!

By the way, if anyone needs advice on homeschooling, send me a message. I homeschooled my ADHD kid and my dyslexic kid for 12 years. They actually made it into college and are normal human beings and everything. But, I remember those days when I would yell that I was calling the school right now! It ain't easy. And, if they ever tried to use the word "ain't", I would freak the hell out on them. So, yeah, I understand the struggle.

But not this guy. He is obviously nailing this homeschool thing.

Okay, the book!
So, when we start, Mercy and Adam are having marital problems. He's freezing her out and she doesn't know why. Plus, his ex-wife is causing trouble from afar. And, to top it off, she has become "interesting" to Wulfe. That's a frightening position to be in. Wulfe even calls himself her stalker. And, on levels of crazy-stalkers, Wulfe would make Joe uncomfortable.

Fucking psycho!

There is also a rogue pack of werewolves hanging around, making trouble, and hoping to take over the pack. Good luck with all that, kiddies. Mercy's pack is pretty fierce.

Yes, this fierce.

To top off Mercy's craptastic day, there is a new monster in town and it also finds her "interesting". Not good.

So, the book is mostly her just being smacked around by all of this crap like a pinball.

That's gonna leave a mark.

There were a couple of note-worthy things that happened ;

As usual, there was some mythology involved that was new to the story, but will be very old to you. Like, I couldn't believe how long it took them to put the pieces together when I knew what the thing was so early in the book. The clues made it obvious to me.

Also as usual, it was good, and fun, and Ben-lovers will be happy to know he was featured. kind of.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
720 reviews1,172 followers
March 13, 2020
[4.5/5 stars] Smoke Bitten was superb!

The plot was very engaging, involving the mystery of a body-snatching Smoke Creature, who’s identity I actually figured out around the same time as the main character. Go me!! But more importantly, I love it when books can get you involved in solving things out of your own volition. I’m a huge fan of Patricia Briggs. I’ve been following the Mercy Thompson/Alpha & Omega books almost from the start, and the saga is a strong favorite. That said, I was let down by book #11 and said as much in my (somewhat) critical review. That book didn’t have the same spark as the books before it and I started questioning whether the series was being drawn out past it’s prime. My main criticism was that Mercy wasn’t as pivotal a role-player in advancing plot as I thought she should’ve been (instead seemed more focused on the mundane). Soooo not the case here – she was central to all the happenings, and back to being that beautiful instigator of change I’ve loved her for. Smoke Bitten was easily one of the strongest in the series. It had an excellent combination of action, humor, sentiment, and world-building. This is a showcase of Briggs at her finest, and I can’t wait to read what she comes out with next!

The story is full of amazing characters, and the depth we have with each of them at this point is remarkable. This novel was a success for me partially because Briggs managed to take the deep connections between a few of the characters and forge them even closer. The way Mercy related to specific characters in Smoke Bitten was my favorite aspect of the story. As a whole, I love the pack dynamics. I love the relationships with magical beings. And I love the number of players involved that make future books so compelling with their boundless possibilities. Excuse me while I fangirl a minute…

Recommendations: I consider Mercy Thompson a staple of the urban fantasy genre. It’s also one of the easiest to recommend (most of the urban fantasy series I geek out about usually come with disclaimers… this one is just straight-forward awesome). It’s a top 5 (uf) for me. I’d especially recommend it to anyone wanting to get into the genre. I’d strongly suggest reading both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega books in order of publication. The crossover is incredibly high, and you won’t get the full experience in later Mercy books if you don’t read both.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com

Other books you might like:
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1) by Kelley Armstrong Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) by Kim Harrison Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1) by Ilona Andrews Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian #1) by Keri Arthur
Profile Image for Holly.
1,414 reviews959 followers
March 27, 2020
This may be a bit of overall-series-plot-arc-filler, but I don't even care because I still enjoyed the escapism of it. I mean, I may be shut in my house for the forseeable future trying to work and suddenly homeschool my two children at the same time, but at least I am not being attacked by a smoke monster while dealing with magical marital bond issues? Silver linings people, silver linings. Werewolf pun not intended.

Profile Image for Christy.
3,758 reviews32k followers
April 11, 2020
4 stars

12 Mercy Thompson books and they never get old. I love this series and these characters so much. Smoke Bitten is a great addition to the series.

If there’s one thing you can guarantee with this series, it’s that trouble always seems to find Mercy. This time, trouble comes in the form of a creature that can bite someone and control them. Mercy may be immune to these things, but the people she loves are not. On top of that, there is a new pack of werewolves in town, Adam and Mercy are having connection issues and Mercy is trying to protect those she cares about most.

I love Mercy, Adam, and the rest of the pack. This is for sure my favorite urban fantasy series and I can’t wait to read the next one!
Profile Image for Magan.
67 reviews
May 19, 2020

No Lie every time a new book comes out I worry it will be the last, THIS SERIES IS NOT ALLOWED TO END
Profile Image for Desi.
524 reviews90 followers
July 15, 2021
Can I just say how much I absolutely detest manufactured conflict? Fake problems inserted into a stable couple because the author has no idea what to do now for a plot?

Things that would be addressed by a simple conversation that a couple, prior to said hand from above inserting itself, would have discussed and faced together.

Also if you're gonna give your characters magical mental pathways into each others minds you can't just conveniently flip an off switch and say one of them can 100% shut it down, at their convenience, when the whole point prior to this book was that it wasn't in either of their control that it just was and would always leak through.

There to garner closeness and insight into the moods, motivations and emotions of your melded partner. (I am sucking my teeth in annoyance).

The magical and monster elements were good as usual. Rated F for absolutely everything interpersonal this go around.

Why are we having Arielie act like a teenager? Didn’t we do all this hissy fitting “it’s your fault” stuff a few books back.

It was childish then and it’s banal now.

No grown woman would walk into her boss’ house and open his grown daughter’s mail then fight with his wife about it.

That’s just not something that would or could happen. No matter whose exes have been calling with questions.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,708 reviews928 followers
April 17, 2020

Wow. Never has a series fallen like this for me before.The Mercy Thompson series is just a lot of filler and rehashing of older story-lines and the Alpha & Omega series...woo boy just go read up on the last book, fans are still reeling from that mess.

The newest Mercy book had too much going on (fae on a rampage, lone wolves kidnapping and setting up to take over the Pack, Aurielle and Christy BS (again), Jesse and her relationship/future, people close to Mercy in danger again, Adam and Mercy's relationship (again), Bran and the Pack (I still hate Bran), Wulffe and his stalking, what Underhill is up to. I don't know, I probably forgot something.

All of this together didn't work, there were moments that cracked me up (hence the 2 stars) and then I would get back to the plodding plot and be annoyed all over again. I honestly think that Briggs should start thinking of a way to wrap up this series. She can look to how Ilona Andrews handled the end of the Kate Daniels series and how she used that series to open up another one starring our favorite terrible character, Hugh. At this point, I don't care about the Pack, I am getting annoyed with the fae, and the vampires seem to be the only ones with any kind of sense (except for Wulffe).

"Smoke Bitten" starts off with a fight. We don't know what's going on, but quickly are brought up to speed that Aurielle listened to Adam's ex-wife again, opened up Jesse's mail (WTF) and got in Mercy's face. Hey remember when Adam said if someone disrespected his wife that was it? Yeah that no longer matters cause something is wrong with Adam and Mercy's mate bond. BTW I guessed at what was wrong cause hey the last book, but it took way too long for Adam and Mercy to get there.

Oh back to Aurielle's BS. I no longer want to hear about Adam's ex, she's awful and at least everyone told Aurielle she was being stupid. I honestly wish she and Daryl would leave the Pack.

Oh that's another thing, they have lost members so now the Pack is hurting for some new wolves. Oh hello lone wolves who are trying to take the Pack from Adam. No we have not heard of you all before, but it's great that Charles just has dossiers for everyone.

Oh look, now we have Wulffe threatening Mercy and stalking her. Let's all ignore that for most of the book.

Oh a fae that is dangerous got loose from Underhill and has the power to shapeshift after biting people? Interesting. Yeah interesting. Only Mercy has the power to defeat him? How Mary Sue of her.

Honestly the whole book was like this. It just gets boring after a while. The only thing that made me roll my eyes was of course there is a fae that has a power that doesn't work on Mercy so it's up to her to save the day. I can't with this mess anymore.

The character of Mercy stays consistent I will give her that. She's dumb again about a lot of things and not so dumb on others. I really hated her whole phone conversation with Bran. Him talking like a fortune cookie on some things made me roll my eyes. Hey Bran, still a terrible character after the reveal in the last book? Yes? Okay be gone.

Adam and his issue was so ridiculous I have nothing for it. I literally went, so are they both stupid now? Just tell someone what is going on!

The Aurielle thing eh. We get a dumb reason for her disrespect of Mercy that makes zero sense and I no longer care.

Jesse and Aiden are highlights in this one, so is Warren. Marsilla too for refusing to take Mercy's call and calling Adam back. Stay petty Marsilla.

The writing and flow was all over the place in this one. The Pack is constantly rushing around dealing with lone wolves, killer fae, oh wait here's Wulffe, they are under attack, etc.

The ending was a big what the hell was that. I mean two characters serenade Mercy and I fell over laughing. I don't know you guys. I am glad I no longer auto-buy these so I am not out any money. They are definitely library reads for me for the foreseeable future.
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,804 reviews2,159 followers
April 20, 2020
5 stars!!

This is the first book during the Covid19 pandemic that I was able to pick up and completely escape into. I’m not at all surprised, Briggs is a master of storytelling. In these dark times, reading this book was like being able to visit with old friends again. I was so happy to be amongst Mercy and the Pack, and all the characters we have grown to love over the years. I loved it, the perfect escape. And if you haven’t read this series, now is the time to start!

And seriously, how has this series not been picked up for a television show yet??? Blows my mind. Netflix?? Hulu?? Amazon?? Get it together!
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,807 reviews458 followers
February 21, 2020

What are you?”


Patricia Briggs never ceases to amaze me. Her world-building is extraordinary. She keeps on bringing new spectacular characters into the fold.

In Smoke Bitten, there are a few things that are going wrong in the Mercyverse.

For starters:

-A new being is trying to kill Mercy (nothing new there, right?).

-A pack of werewolves is trying to take over Adam's territory.

-Wulfe decides to tell Mercy something she doesn't want to hear.

-Last but not least, Adam and Mercy's mate bond has gone silent.

How can anything go wrong with these events happening simultaneously? I mean, Mercy is right when she says she's Chaos. She should advertise it with neon lights. Of course, Coyote is part to blame.

From the moment I opened the first page, I knew it was going to be a rollercoaster of events. There is non-stop action and poor Mercy is always in the middle of it. She has to deal with Fae, Underhill, Vampire and Werewolf politics to mention a few.

From the above, the one that annoyed me the most was the Pack issues.

For how long are they going to question her motives and when are they going to completely accept her?

Hasn't she proven her loyalty and love for Adam?

I wanted to give some of these werewolves a big slap on the face. I'm getting tired of their attitude. I almost got mad with Adam too until I understood what was going on with him.

One passage in Smoke Bitten made me wonder what might happen in the next book. I'm not sure it was intentional or I'm just reading too much into it. I guess I could only hope. If it happens, that could be explosive all way around.

I love Mercy, Adam, Ben, Jesse, Stephan and so many more. I'm not sure what I'll do when Patricia Briggs decides to stop writing these characters. It will be a sad, sad day.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Ace via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,991 reviews363 followers
March 17, 2020
You know when a story is good when it is impossible to put it down. When you devour it in a day and are left satisfied, but always wanting more.

This series is so outstanding, so well written and just darn real feeling. The characters, the story line, the emotions that pull on every heart string imaginable. It is fantasy yes but so well done that you feel completely immersed in the story and when you are done, having to slowly blink your way back into reality, even then, you find it hard to believe that it didn't all really happen. That is isn't true, that vampires and werewolves and the fae aren't really out there in your own backyard just waiting for their moment to come out and shine.

I have loved this series from the very first book and there is a reason why. Briggs is a master at story telling. Creating stories, settings, and characters that are tangible. So real you know them, you love them, you feel for them and are so emotionally invested that you hold your breath for them, smile along with them and even cry with them when things get hard.

Mercy and Adam have always been one of my favorite couples purely because they are always a united front. They have each other's back and as much as they don't want to put the other in danger, they know that there are things one is better doing over the other and what has to be done, has to be done. Adam is an alpha but he isn't an arse about it. He isn't controlling and he certainly doesn't want Mercy to be anything but herself.

To see them not be completely united...was hard. Gut wrenching even but I knew they would some how work it out. I trusted Briggs to make it right. These two have been to hell and back and I knew this hick-up wasn't going to stop them.

I was so right to put my trust in her. This story was amazing and brilliant and I loved it all, hard parts and all. It came together beautifully and I wasn't ready for it to be over.

This truly is an action packed story full of all the good stuff us fantasy and paranormal lovers adore. Friendship, family, loyalty, danger, love, romance, it really does have it all and with each new installment, continues to blow me away and prove just how strong it is. How much it deserves it's place in my top ten of all time.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Emma.
971 reviews966 followers
March 31, 2020
Some great moments but marred by subpar writing and painful repetition.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,683 reviews456 followers
March 17, 2020
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I loved this book! I have to admit that I am a giant fan of this series. These are books that I can read over and over without ever growing tired of them. When someone asks me for book recommendations, this series is at the top of my list. I went into this book with really high expectations and they were all met. I enjoyed every moment I spent reading this book.

Mercy always seems to have a lot of things going on in her life and things are no different in this book. The book starts off with some pack and ex-wife drama and that is before the fae leaves a doorway in their backyard. Before you know it, lives are at risk from the new enemy on the loose. It is a lot for a Volkswagon mechanic to handle.

Mercy is an amazing character. I love how calm she is in even the most extreme situation. When the situation seems to be almost impossible to manage, she is able to make reasonable decisions that have a big impact on the final outcome. Mercy turns into a small coyote but she has the bravery of an entire large pack. I love that if there is a problem with her mate or someone else in the pack, she will address it and if someone or something is threatening those she feels responsible for, she will do something about it.

This was an exciting story. There was plenty of action scattered throughout the story to keep things interesting. I thought that Mercy, Adam, and the rest of the pack had already faced every monster imaginable but Briggs was able to conjure up something really unique that I did not see coming. I loved the way that the book wove together several different threads that I found equally entertaining.

I would highly recommend this series to others. This is the twelfth book in the Mercy Thompson series which really should be read in order. Trust me, all the books in this series are so good that you don't want to miss any of them anyway. I cannot wait to read more from this amazing author!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
Wow! This book was just as good as I hoped it would be and my expectations were incredibly high. Just when I thought that Mercy, Adam, and the rest of the pack had faced every monster imaginable, Briggs conjures up something I never saw coming. This was just a fantastic read from beginning to end. The story kept me guessing, the characters were at their best, and there was enough action to keep things very exciting.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,368 reviews376 followers
March 28, 2020
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

Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 66 books16.8k followers
November 19, 2021
I wanted a quick read when I returned from my trip, so I read this book. I can't believe it's book 12! This series has been going strong, which is why I'm still reading it. I'm sensing there might be an end to the series in sight, but it could just be the next big bad. Either way, I'm invested and will continue to see what troubles Mercy and her pack get into!
April 9, 2021
3 ☆ - the honeymoon is over

Smoke Bitten may be book #12 in the Mercy Thompson series, but in the Mercy universe, this is actually book #17. As much as I like Mercy as the main protagonist, the series is becoming tired in the creativity aspect.

My reaction to this installment primarily stems from my desire for consistency of world building in my urban fantasies. This often means that I don't like it when the heroes gain new special abilities as easily as shopping for food in a supermarket. Mercy has always been presented as a supernatural underdog amongst the big leagues of Fae, vampire, and werewolves. It's true that Mercy doesn't know much about her full potential as a coyote walker, but new powers popped out of nowhere in this installment. I'm also becoming less tolerant of this hierarchically sexist world in which few likeable female characters appear on a recurring basis. To see this much misogyny in a series with a female main protagonist who has been created by a woman author is disappointing to me. Although this book began really well, its conclusions didn't deliver an equivalent payload.

The main plot is about a Fae monster that had once been imprisoned within the Fae realm of Underhill. It bites its victims, the wounds "bleed" smoke, and then its victim's body becomes the monster's host. As it kills, it acquires strength and power. It is so terrifying that leaders from both the local vampire and Fae communities tell their members to retreat into lock-down mode, which is suspect since the Fae can police themselves. After a good and solid build-up with a mounting number of victims, only Mercy is able to identify the monster and vanquish it. In the previous books, Mercy usually prevails because of joint or team efforts. I couldn't initially believe Briggs' choice of monster but in the end accepted that it was a clever spin even though the resolution seemed anticlimactic.

Briggs typically incorporates multiple subplots in her Mercy series. When Mercy and Adam began investigating the monster's existence, they learned that there were at least three strange werewolves in their pack's territory. Could it be that their pack, cut off from the Marrok's protection since Fire Touched #9, and therefore their alpha Adam are being challenged? I was mostly satisfied with the development and conclusion of this subplot, but .

But there were several other storylines that involved Mercy's relationships with her mate Adam, her female packmate, and a vampire that left me displeased or in disbelief. The first chapter revealed marital problems for Mercy. Something has been making Adam irritable and withdrawn since they dealt with the witches in Storm Cursed #11. He refuses to tell Mercy what's bothering him; the honeymoon phase is over after one year of marriage. I had no objection to the problem because I had expected it, Adam's response was credible for his personality, and I liked the insight into his psyche. But I didn't like the resolution because it seemed fantastical and that it appeared to be a solution pulled out of nowhere .

A female packmate, Aurielle, has been once again agitated by Adam's ex-wife Christy into falsely blaming Mercy for something. Christy is an incredibly manipulative nemesis as Night Broken #8 revealed. But this just makes Aurielle, a tough high school teacher, look meddlesome, gullible, and tiresome. Why won't Briggs write other recurring female characters - aside from Mercy and her step-daughter Jesse - who are likeable? Honey, a female pack-mate who started publicly defending Mercy in Fire Touched #9, barely gets mentioned in this book.

The wizard vampire Wulfe has topped Mercy's list of most frightening monsters since Moon Called #1. After helping Mercy in battling the witches in Storm Cursed #11, Wulfe gained access to Adam and Mercy's home. It's been weeks, and yet Mercy never got around to learning how to revoke a vampire's invitation to her home. Although Wulfe hasn't entered their home since, he has been lurking around their property because he is stalking Mercy.
Wulfe was stretched out on the roof of my parts car. He'd placed small LED lanterns on the four corners of his chosen stage ... I was pretty sure he was naked. And there went any chance that I was going to sleep any time soon.
Again there's this incredible build-up of tension, but Briggs pulled back in delivering her punches.

Finally, this also feels like a transition staging book (I say this pretty frequently for this series). The smoke weaver is just the warm-up act because . Wulfe is such a delicious character because his loyalties are fluid, to put it mildly, and Briggs has steadily been making known more of his unusual and powerful capabilities with each book.

#0.3 Homecoming 3 ☆
#1 Moon Called 3.5 ☆
#2 Blood Bound 4 ☆
#3 Iron Kissed 4 ☆
#4 Bones Crossed 3.5 ☆
#5 Silver Borne 3.5 ☆
#6 River Marked 4 ☆
#7 Frost Burned 3.5 ☆
#7.5 Hopcross Jilly 3.5 ☆
#8 Night Broken 4 ☆
#9 Fire Touched 3.5 ☆
#10 Silence Fallen almost 4 ☆
#11 Storm Cursed 4 ☆
42 reviews2 followers
April 2, 2022
This one was a dud - which came as a sad surprise, because I previously enjoyed the Mercy Thompson series. I have grown to expect a lot from Patricia Briggs and am all the more disappointed.

It starts with Christie-related chaos and unfairness, and Mercy feeling insecure and hurt and unloved. Oh dear, not again - didn't we solve those relationship issues REPEATEDLY in the previous books?

When Mercy starts gathering information about the smoke-weaver's identity, my first thought was, Come on, she can't be talking about "X", that is too obvious and too unoriginal and too cheap (X just in case there is one singular person who might not hit on it in advance)
The evidence kept heaping up... Please don't... Please don't... Nooooooo
And guess what, of course "X" was "X". Yawn.

The way Adam's monster is described, as well as some of the pivotal scenes, are right out of a really cheesy fantasy-B-movie. The scenes in the "otherness" are ridiculous - a bad mixture of icky, silly and boring. I am aware of the fact that Patricia Briggs likes graphic novels, but I'd like to ask her to keep this penchant separate from her future novel writing and stick to story telling (which is her forte anyway...)
If I wanted to read a graphic novel, I'd buy a graphic novel. I don't want to be forced to read books that have the same tacky comic-stripe-feel.

Near the end it gets awfully sappy. As in, no-holds-barred Disney-style, which has never been my cup of tea. The previous books of this series did not prepare me to anticipate this kind of schmaltz so it was doubly painful.

The only interesting part was learning more about the fae-bargaining business. This subtle finagling and "loop-hole-ferreting" was an amusing parody of nowadays world politics. One single point for that.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,052 reviews384 followers
March 17, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and Berkeley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Dearest Richard, brace thyself for ecstatic warbling.

Relationship woes affect even the best of us, especially when each of us brings our baggage from the past into the present, and Mercy and Adam are no exception. Of course, when you throw a bunch of supernatural into the mix, you have to expect a lot of hard to go along with the easy.

Also, it's really hard to deal with personal things when preternatural smoke monsters that control minds and can look like anyone show up. (It's best not to think of LOST when reading this book, even if smoke monsters made you go straight there!)

Throw in a handful of great side characters (Warren, Kyle, Honey, George, Ben, Jesse, Tad, Zee, etc), some mysterious ones (Underhill, Aiden, Marsilia, etc) and a handful of obnoxious ones (I dunno, Auriele ringing any bells?) and you've got yourself some chaos!

Honestly, while I'm a huge fan of this series so my opinion is a little biased, this might be my favorite in the series so far. It's definitely up there.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books328 followers
September 24, 2020
I have been looking forward to this book forever and it didn’t disappoint. Mercy and Adam’s marriage is in a rough spot after the events of the previous book. And there is no clear explanation why. Pack politics come into play (with some GREAT scenes) and of course everyone’s favorite nemesis… Christy. Mwah ha ha. But of course there’s more going on in the tri cities area. Murders are being committed and there’s the scent of magic at the crime scene. But which supernatural being is involved this time?

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books695 followers
March 8, 2020
I never get tired of returning to the world of Mercy Thompson. Jumping into this latest installment was like sinking into a favorite chair--it's comfortable, fits just right, and makes you want to relax and stay awhile.

We're dealing with the aftermath of the last book's showdown with the witches, and there's trouble between Mercy and Adam...again. Christy rears her ugly head for some initial tension in the pack, but it's only a precursor for the larger issues brewing between our heroine and her husband. I feel so invested in their relationship and the way Patty Briggs crafts Mercy's voice makes me hurt and worry right alongside her. And to get angry along with her too. I'd hoped the tension in the pack had been put to bed.

It hasn't.

Anyway, there are a few things going on at once. Underhill has created a door in Mercy's backyard...there's a smoke-monster masquerading as a rabbit, possessing and killing people. Not to mention the appearance of some rogue wolves and the aforementioned problem with Adam. I've got to say the Adam thing was the emotional focus, but the plotting was solid and it moved the story along at a solid pace.

As always, the characters deliver too. Nearly the entire cast shows up or at least gets a mention. Jesse, Bran, Stefan, Zee, Tad, the pack... and more. I'll admit, once or twice I had to stretch my memory with some of the names, but as a longtime fan of the series, I appreciated the breadth of the story. I'm really getting invested in Aidan too. I'm fascinated by the contradiction of his agelessness and youth--and he really feels like he's becoming part of the family. I'm also interested in seeing how things continue to unfold with Wulfe.

Briggs does a fantastic job setting up Something Big coming on the horizon. Can't wait for her to reveal what she's got planned with Underhill... and the pack... and this couple I enjoy so much.

Another winner in a fantastic series.

*ARC provided by publisher
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
2,999 reviews637 followers
March 16, 2020
I love Mercy. She is such a unique character and even though she married the Alpha; she continues to be herself. So much happens in Smoke Bitten I am already itching to do a reread!

The tale begins with a bang. We’ve got an issue with the pack, thanks to Adam’s ex, and an unwanted door 🚪 has appeared in their backyard. Worse, it looks like something nasty has escaped. It’s fae, but nothing Mercy and the others have ever smelled. It was freaking fascinating and not something I’d mess with. Briggs wove in folklore, and I loved it. Before Briggs’ revealed all, I guessed who we were dealing with and fist-pumped air when it was confirmed.

Wulfe is present and integral to the story for a spell. I am so intrigued by him, and curious to learn more.

Since cutting off ties, it has left Adam’s pack vulnerable and an outside pack is attempting to take over the territory. This was interesting, and Briggs created some of the best scenes involving them. I loved Mercy’s phone call for advice. ☎️

Adam has cut off his mate bond with Mercy. This creates tensions in the pack. It is clear he is struggling with something and fears for Mercy. Of course, you all know how Mercy reacts! This was an intense thread, with interesting developments. I am still mad at Adam.

Smoke Bitten was fresh, delivered some developments that may change the dynamics of the pack and hooked me from the first pages. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for TJ.
2,647 reviews155 followers
June 11, 2020
As always, Ms. Briggs creates a fabulous installment to one of my most beloved series. The weird “otherness” where gemstones and flowers pop out of Mercy’s mouth and help her fight evil isn’t really my cuppa at all, so I couldn’t rate this one an absolute favorite...
BUT, the relationship between Mercy and Adam is stronger than it has ever been through what they go through in this book. They have to fight for their love in very unexpected ways that brings them into a more honest and rock-solid place. That, along with the absolute joy of re-visiting all the amazing characters that inhabit this world, is well worth the read!
Profile Image for Ginger.
738 reviews341 followers
May 16, 2020
This is a very good addition to the Mercy Thompson series!

Smoke Bitten is the 12th book in the series and should not be read without reading the other books. There's too many past plot points in this book along with trying to understand the motives of the characters.

Smoke Bitten has about a gazillion plots going on in this book but Patricia Briggs finds a way to bring them all together at the end.
I think I would have rated this higher if it was a bit more streamlined into just 1-2 plots...
BUT, I can see where she is planning to go for upcoming books! I can't fault her for getting me excited for that!

The book starts off with Mercy and Adam having issues with their mating bond. Adam has stopped communicating with Mercy through their bond and it's making Mercy sad and worried.

Adam is the alpha of the local werewolf pack of the Tri-Cities in Washington.

I love this series since it's local for me and I've been to the Tri-Cities multiple times.
The Tri-Cities is Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland and it's located in the middle of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. It's really a cool location for a series along with having lots of land for the werewolf pack, the fae along with the local vampire seethe.

While Mercy and Adam are having martial problems, there is a smoke demon that is biting people and creatures. After biting the victim, the demon takes on their shape, power and kills others with the power. Mercy along with the werewolf pack are trying to figure out where this creature came from and how to stop it.

Along with this going on, a rogue werewolf pack is trying to take control of Adam's pack and Mercy has a vampire stalker on the loose.

So, yeah...there's a lot going on in this book. 😂🤣
Lots of plots, characters and action going on all at the same time. The ending was very satisfying and sets up for upcoming books.

I definitely recommend this series if you're into urban fantasy and badass female characters.
Mercy is a favorite of mine and I've enjoyed every book in this series!
It's such a fun and addicting series to read. Plus, the characters in this book are fantastic and become like family to you when you pick up the next book!
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,825 reviews836 followers
May 18, 2020
Re-read May 17th 2020 with the hubby by audio. He's a big fan of Mercy Thompson, too!

The new badie in town is a creature that can take over the will of another with a bite. Also,there's some trouble with Wulfe, apparently after-effects from the last story, making Mercy a focus for him, and there's another set of werewolves stirring trouble for the Pack. Add to all of that, there's some unease between Mercy and Adam, and that's what concerned me the most.

I paused my re-read of past books to read the latest Mercy Thompson because my curiosity got the better of me after reading a few reviews. I was anxious because I saw a few readers talking about problems with their mate bond and some marital discord between Mercy and Adam, and I had to find out what was going on.

Yes, there was some trouble, but as with any relationship/marriage things are not perfect, . The marriages that survive are the ones work through whatever trials that come at them. That's exactly what Mercy and Adam do! I just love these two (yes, I realize they're fictional, lol) and I was happy with how it all worked out.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,112 reviews301 followers
March 31, 2020
After a bit of a rough patch with Storm Cursed, it feels like things are back on track in Smoke Bitten.

There were a lot of things going on in this book, many of which had their genesis in previous ones. However, the picking up of old threads and weaving in new elements is what gives the series as a whole richness and depth. We are continually learning more about the characters and their world even as they learn these things themselves.

I like that while Mercy and Adam have a very strong relationship, it still has issues borne of all too human weakness and self doubt that make it seem real and ultimately more precious.

The monsters Mercy and Adam face are becoming more complicated too. Underhill is capricious and hard to understand, with a fearful amount of power. The same goes for Wulfe. The witches are just downright scary. I think there is a big fight on the horizon that this book is laying groundwork for, which made it feel slightly unresolved at the end, but it is still a great entry in what is one of my favourite series.
Profile Image for Soo.
2,598 reviews255 followers
March 18, 2020

Well, I was super excited for this release but not thrilled by the content. Transitional piece that didn't really add much to the plot or characters.
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