Moon Called is definitely one of my favorite Urban Fantasy novels out there. This intro into the world of Mercy Thompson, Washington’s one-and-only walker, is an absolute staple in this genre. Werewolves? Check. Vampires? Check. Fae? Check. ROMANCE? Of course! A captivating story and awesome characters? You know it!
Goodreads Bio: “Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…”
One of the things I like best about this book is how not melodramatic it is. It’s light and funny, with just the right amount of serious to make the story develop well, and blessedly lacking in whining or selfishly dramatic that make certain books an ordeal to get through. Mercy is a cool, kickass heroine, and all of her interactions with Adam (and Sam, and Bran, and Warren, and Kyle…) leave me with a fuzzy-warm feeling in my chest. Did I mention gay werewolves? Because yes, they exist, and it’s integrated seamlessly into the story to make my small queer heart soar. Representation matters, especially in genres that don’t see a lot of sexual diversity.
Speaking of representation, though, I have to admit that the female presence in this book is underwhelming to say the least. There are several female werewolves, but none of them get enough story time to really make an impact. I know that they do have much more fleshed out characters and plot lines in later books – just not in this one. If you’re looking for female badassery, you will absolutely get it from Mercy, but you’ll have to hold out for a later book to see any of the other women kick some serious butt.
While this is a very minor part of the book, I think my overall favorite part is how mundane some of the interactions in the book are. There were scenes that hit me like those magazine pages, ‘Stars – They’re Just Like Us!’ with how commonplace they seemed for a fantasy book. In one instance, Mercy gets pulled over by a cop for driving her car around a closed park at night. There are often things going on in the background, during conversations, that ground the novel in unexpected ways. I found myself looking out for these throughout the book, and feeling an odd sense of delight whenever it came up. Urban Fantasy isn’t all about action all the time. Paranormal Romance isn’t all about the sex. Sometimes the characters are just people, and it makes books like these relatable and visceral in ways you don’t typically see. It really made the book stand out to me personally.
Side topic: If you’ve read the Kate Daniels series as well as Moon Called, could you see Jesse and Julie being great friends, or enemies? I thought about Julie almost every time Jesse showed up in the book, and I would love to see them hang out and swap stories. Teen girl power all day every day.