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Literature / Mercy Thompson

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Mercy would probably hit the artist with a wrench if she saw these.

A series of urban fantasy novels by Patricia Briggs set in the Tri-Cities in Washington State. In the universe of Mercy Thompson, fantasy creatures like werewolves, vampires, and faeries have been in hiding for centuries, and are only recently emerging. The first three books each focus on a different kind of preternatural creature. Moon Called focuses on werewolves, Blood Bound deals with vampires, and Iron Kissed focuses on fae. The series is ongoing. All the novels are narrated by Mercy.

Mercy Thompson herself is a mechanic by day, but she is also a walker — a Native American shapeshifter who can turn into a coyote at will. She was raised by werewolves, and has strong connections with the werewolf community. She also has links with vampires and fae — she fixes cars for the local vampire seethe, and her mentor is a gremlin (or calls himself one, at any rate).

An offshoot of the series, set in the same world with some of the same characters, is the Alpha and Omega series, featuring Charles Cornick (the Alpha werewolf) and his mate Anna (the Omega werewolf). Omegas are rare werewolves who (a) are neither dominant nor submissive, making them an exception to the usual pack structure, and (b) tend to be peacemakers and keep other wolves calm. Alpha and Omega is set in Chicago, Cry Wolf is set in Montana, Hunting Ground is set in Seattle, and Fair Game is set in Boston. Dead Heat is set in Arizona.Alpha and Omega, Cry Wolf and Hunting Grounds were set during the events of Moon Called or soon thereafter, while Fair Game is set in the direct aftermath of River Marked, and lastly Frost Burned and Night Broken are set shortly after Fair Game.

A prequel comic, Mercy Thompson: Homecoming, deals with her arrival in the Tri-Cities and meeting the main characters of the story.

Mercy Thompson series

  1. Moon Called (2006)
  2. Blood Bound (2007)
  3. Iron Kissed (2008)
  4. Bone Crossed (2009)
  5. Silver Borne (2010)
  6. River Marked (2011)
  7. Frost Burned (2013)
  8. Night Broken (2014)
  9. Fire Touched (2016)
  10. Silence Fallen (2017)
  11. Storm Cursed (2019)
  12. Smoke Bitten (2020)
  13. Soul Taken (2022)
  • Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (2014)

Alpha and Omega series

  • "Alpha and Omega" in On the Prowl (2007)
  1. Cry Wolf (2008)
  2. Hunting Ground (2009)
  3. Fair Game (2012)
  4. Dead Heat (2015)
  5. Burn Bright (2018)
  6. Wild Sign (2021)


  • Mercy Thompson: Homecoming (2009)
  • Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly (2015)


  • "Star of David" in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (2008)
  • "Seeing Eye" in Strange Brew (2009)
  • "Fairy Gifts" in Naked City (2011)
  • "Gray" in Home Improvement (2011)
  • "In Red, with Pearls" in Down These Strange Streets (2011)


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  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
    • Excalibur and Carnwennen from Hunting Grounds are shown to be this. Then again, it’s Excalibur. It proves to be a werewolf weapon capable of killing said species easily when revealed.
    • Zee’s knife also shows this, though it’s balanced out a bit: over-using that particular power makes the hilt unbearably hot. Much like other (rare) enchanted weapons, it can slice through supernaturals like butter.
  • Abuse Mistake: Several times now, injuries Mercy got from fighting evil have garnered comments along the lines of, "Whoever that man is, you should dump him."
  • Abusive Parents: Jesse's mother (and Adam's ex-wife) is criminally neglectful, and has been known to go on vacation without telling her daughter that she's being abandoned for a week or more. If Adam wasn't such a softie with obvious buttons that the woman knows how to push, he would have sole custody.
    • He later gets sole custody, thanks to Jesse being as able to push her mother's buttons as well as her mother is able to push Adam's.
  • Action Girl: Pretty much every female character in the series, Mercy in particular.
  • Adaptational Villainy: A small case with Adam’s Pack, namely Darryl and Ben, in the Moon Called comic adaptation. In the main book, they were never given any antagonistic moments, Mercy simply took their conversation at the start of book out of context (something even she felt might have been an overreaction), and they ultimately prove they were both Good All Along. Although the comic book still continues with this twist, it plays up the Red Herring moments more by giving both men a few Traitor Shots and making them slightly more antagonistic, like Darryl threatening Warren and Mercy still distrusting Ben until he saves her life in the climax. Very likely to trick newcomers of the series.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: While werewolves in the Pacific Northwest aren't so incongruous, finding a seethe of centuries-old European vampires in the Tri-Cities smacks of this trope. Justified by the seethe's founder having been exiled from Italy and consigned to whichever trackless backwoods her Maker randomly picked from an atlas, which later became an urban area.
  • All Myths Are True: If it's not fae, spirit, werewolf, witch, or something else from some mythology, it's probably a human. Also Bran is the inspiration for Grendel. He never actually fought Beowulf, though; that was the result of someone attaching the stories of the scariest monster they knew to the oral tradition of an already long-dead king. Patty also once said that Sam was the Sir Marrok that Bran took his title from. Sir Lancelot, however, is pure fiction.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: All Demons are evil creatures whose only desire is to destroy and kill as much as they can. Black witches, witches that draw their power from wanton death and suffering, also tend to fall under this heading.
  • Altar the Speed: Played with. In River Marked, Adam and Mercy's wedding is expedited because Mercy doesn't want to deal with her mother... who's been been playing the crazy wedding planner because she has a bet on with Bran to see how long it will take Mercy to crack. The answer: not long.
  • Animal Eyes: A werewolf whose wolf is ascendant (most often from being close to Changing due to the moon or strong emotion) will have wolf eyes in their human face.
  • Anti-Magic: Mercy is resistant or immune to a lot of magic, particularly magic that compels behavior or otherwise interferes with her free will.
  • Apology Gift: Shows up in the short story "Roses in Winter." Roses are a very traditional apology gift; what makes it unusual is the context. You don't typically see a bouquet of roses being given by a very dominant wolf to his Alpha as a way of diffusing a possible challenge.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Werewolves have recently gone public and the fae have been officially out for a decade or so. Mercy still has to spend some time explaining to people that vampires are also real, her ability to see ghosts is frequently disbelieved, and by the sixth book, someone who has relatives who shapeshift doesn't believe that Mercy can do so too. There is much Lampshade Hanging.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Horrifyingly inverted when the Singer in Wild Sign assumes the form of Cthulhu.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Wolf packs in real life more closely resemble extended nuclear families than competition-enforced hierarchies. The "alpha" wolves in a pack are the parents, and the other wolves are their pups from the last few years. Actual fights between pack members are rare, with pups grown to adulthood dispersing to form their own packs rather than challenging their parents. However, the book does make it clear that werewolf behavior does not exactly parallel wild wolf behavior. (Werewolf behavior does resemble that of artificial wolf packs formed from random wolves forced together, such as those at zoos. And since werewolves generally can't have children and wind up making packs with other non-related werewolves they come across...)
  • The Atoner: David Christiansen, especially in The Star of David short story. Having killed his cheating wife in his first Change, he’s spent the rest of his life running a company of good-guy mercenaries who specialize in hostage rescue.
    • Stefan and Adam also both show shades of this.
    • Much of the plot of Fair Game revolves around Charles trying to be the atoner for all the people the Marrok’s been making him kill. He gets better.
    • Ben in the short story Redemption, which examines his character development through Frost Burned, the roots of his misogyny, and the truth of what happened in London.
  • Badass Family: All of the Cornicks — even Anna, who’s only a Cornick by marriage.
    • Also, the Hauptmans probably qualify, now that Mercy and Adam are married.
  • Battle Couple: Two of them. Adam and Mercy are the first, Charles and Anna are the second. All four have killed people for (or along with) their respective partners.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. The amount of times that Mercy gets visibly battered, dirty, bloody, or some combination of the three, are beyond counting.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Or rather, Max Schreck was (still is?) an actual vampire.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Several in the first book alone.
  • Bigot with a Badge: Les Heuter is an agent of Cantrip, a government policing agency in charge of monitoring supernaturals in America. He's also a monstrous Serial Killer and Serial Rapist who targets fae and werewolf women out of a mix of sadism, lust, and bigotry.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Tons from Mercy and Adam in the first few books. It eases off when they become an actual couple, but they still throw jabs at each other for fun. Mercy states that she actually enjoys fighting with Adam.
  • Berserk Button: Mercy is one for a lot of people - Adam, Samuel, Bran, Zee, even Stefan. Hurt her and you might as well slit your own throat — it'll be a lot cleaner than what the aforementioned people will do to you.
    • In River Marked, Uncle Mike decides to report the deaths of five minor fae (who made the mistake of trying to kill Mercy in front of Adam) as “suicide by werewolf.”
    • Hurting/threatening Anna around Charles gets similar results.
    • Lizzie Beauclaire is very much so for her father the Gray Lord Alistair Beauclaire aka Gwyn ap Lugh, as shown when he calmly murders her attacker (the serial killer/rapist/senator's son Les Heuter) on national television.
    Beauclaire: "It is not meet that my daughter's attacker should live.
    • Like Beauclaire above, Tad is this for Siebold Adelbertsmiter AKA: Zee, or the Dark Smith of Drontheim.
    • In Silence Fallen, it's outright stated that if someone did actually kill Mercy, Bran would declare war. He'd regret it afterwards, he might even regret it while he did it, but he would utterly destroy whomever was responsible.
    • Mentioned in "Homecoming" when Mercy is cornered and about to be killed by werewolves.
    Mercy: "When the Marrok comes looking for me. Tell him I went down swinging."
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Being a werewolf, to a large degree. Yeah, you’re nearly indestructible, functionally immortal, and capable of changing into an uber-wolf at will. However, you’re going to outlive every vanilla human you love (and attempting to turn them is much more likely to kill them or get them killed), the Change is agonizing and can take up to a quarter of an hour, and you’ll spend the rest of your life struggling to control the bestial personality sharing space inside your head. Oh, and you can’t swim.
    • Also, female werewolves can't have children, as the fetuses can't survive their mothers' monthly change into wolf form. Male werewolves, meanwhile, can engender children with human women, but only the fully human fetuses are able to come to term.
      • Mention is made of one woman who tried to get around this by staying in wolf form full-time until the birth, but doing so meant she completely lost control, ate the baby, and had to be put down. Only one werewolf woman has ever successfully managed to bear a child — Bran's wife, who was able to use her own people's magic to suppress the change long enough to bear Charles, but was so weakened by this that she died in childbirth.
    • Being a White Witch can be a pain, since they're usually very weak and easy prey for less scrupulous Black Witches, who see them as an easy meal.
    • Being part-fae sucks, since the vast majority of them are ostracized by both their non-human and human parents and both their respective races. This is coupled with a high rate of defects, and they are also seen as easy prey for their full fae brethren.
  • Brainless Beauty: Subverted: Honey, one of Adam’s pack members, seems like this — blond, busty, and not too bright — right up until the point that she clues Mercy into some important points of werewolf politics that had slipped her notice. To boot, Mercy remarks that if she were allowed to hold her own rank in the pack (rather than inheriting her mate’s, as all female werewolves do), Honey would be in the top tier.
    • It's stated in Night Broken that Honey is considering going back to school in order to give her something to do with her life, which would imply that she either has previous education or is fully capable of handling it.
  • Break the Cutie: Anna’s original pack Alpha, Leo, attempts this in order to keep her from realizing exactly how little hold he has over her. If it wasn’t for Charles, it would have worked, too.
  • Bury Your Gays: Discussed. The strongly patriarchal werewolf society is instinctively homophobic (lust tends to inspire aggression in werewolves, so male werewolves that are attracted to other male werewolves tend to cause a lot of fights); most homosexual werewolves don't survive for long. Warren is a rare and obvious example, having survived thanks to a combination of physical and psychological strength. During Moon Called, it is said that he can't reveal himself as a werewolf to his boyfriend, or the two of them will be killed. Thankfully for them, Mercy takes a third option (which both Adam and Bran were actually waiting for her to take).
  • Butt-Monkey: It's sad to admit, but Mercy herself pretty much falls under this. The number of times she ends up hurt, injured, kidnapped, and more are endless. It's played straight for the most part, but Mercy always ends up on the short end of the stick. It's made worse since she lacks the Healing Factor that the werewolves have.
  • Camp Gay: Kyle, Warren's boyfriend. Played with, in that he turns it up and down depending on who he's around and who he wants to annoy.
  • Canis Latinicus: Anna picked up the habit of using this from her father, and used it to snark back at her tormentors in Leo's pack without them realizing it. Some of them knew what it meant anyway, and simply kept silent.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: The fae are incapable of lying, though they can still be perfectly dishonest with the truth.
    • Revealed to not quite be true both in passing and in actual actions. The fae can break their word or tell lies, but they are forbidden from doing so, and the punishment for such transgression is death. Nimue appears in the second Alpha & Omega book and is both a Gray Lord and the Lady of the Lake, but neither distinction stops a target being placed upon her head for breaking her word.
  • Child Eater: The comic series "Hopcross Jilly" introduces the titular Fae, who craved naughty children in particular. While she wouldn't eat naughty children whole, she would eat only their fingers and toes because it was "the parts that got them into mischief to begin with."
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In Iron Kissed, the alarm system installed by Adam's firm, and its codes.
    • Pretty much every time Mercy's Fae-created walking stick shows up, it's going to be used in the book's climax.
      • In Night Broken, The walking stick was absent during the climax, but did show up during the last few pages of the book.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mercy's ability to see ghosts comes in handy more often as she gets embroiled in more supernatural messes.
  • Cleanup Crew: It is implied that most werewolf packs have a specialist, usually a witch, to clean up their messes. Adam's pack, for example, keeps the witch Elizaveta Arkadyevna on retainer, and the Marrok's pack has Charles Cornick, who has magical talent inherited from his mother's side of the family.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The fairy walking stick that Mercy picks up is one of these for quite a while, until she gives it away to Coyote in River Marked. And it returns once again at the very end of Night Broken.
  • Cock Fight: Adam and Samuel attempt a couple of these in the early books. Quickly turns into a CMoF when Mercy breaks one up by throwing cranberry juice on them both.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation- The Mercyverse has been adapted into comic books by Dynamite comics.
    • Homecoming is a prequel graphic novel. Set years before the events of Moon Called, it details Mercy’s first year in the Tri-Cities and her first meetings with Adam and Zee.
    • Moon Called is an adaptation of the titular book, split into two volumes. It also contains an extra story detailing Alan “Mac’s” capture at the hands of Leo.
    • Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf is an adaptation of the titular book.
    • Hopcross Jilly is an original comic book set after the events of Frost Burned. The comic details Mercy and Adam aiding the local sheriff’s department’s investigation into the mysterious titular fae. The comic is notable for focusing on Jesse and her hardship in school.  
  • Combat Pragmatist: Werewolves are fairly pragmatic, for the most part, but Mercy is so to an even greater degree (largely due to constantly having to punch above her supernatural weight class).
    • In Moon Called, it takes the werewolf member of a trio of trained mercenaries to restrain her completely. (Although it should be noted that they were trying to NOT harm her, while she was out for blood.)
    • Also exemplified when Mercy silences a wolf about to take advantage of a weakened Adam… by shooting him in the throat.
  • Cool House: As an extremely successful divorce lawyer, it's only natural that Kyle owns a Big Fancy House. But he takes it to the next level by turning it into a safe haven for (soon-to-be) single mothers and their children - with lavish creature comforts, numerous safes, a bleeding-edge security system (in addition to Warren, his werewolf lover), and a fair number of secret passages (just in case).
    • His home also features a pair of nude marble sculptures he named Dick and Jane. Although their outfits change according to Kyle's whims, Dick wears only a hat (and not on his head) while Jane wears only a skirt.
    • Odder still is the fact that, despite having a Cool House, Kyle spends most of his time living with Warren in Warren's low-budget apartment.
  • Creepy Child: A few show up, though they're generally Really 700 Years Old (otherwise, they wouldn't be nearly as creepy).
    • Wulfe (a.k.a. "The Wizard") is the vampires' creepy child (vampires don't age).
    • Yo-Yo Girl is the fae's creepy child (fae can use Glamour to appear however they wish — in general, the more harmless they appear, the more you should worry).
    • Later books introduce Aiden, a centuries-old human child who was trapped Underhill (where time passes oddly), and Tilly (a.k.a. (Underhill itself'').
  • Compelling Voice:
    • Sufficiently powerful werewolves tend to possess one of these, at least to their pack. Adam and Samuel exhibit a combined one at the climax of Moon Called. Dana Shea (a fae) tries to use one in Hunting Grounds only to be countered by Anna’s instinctive use of her own.
    • Mercy has one in later books because she's borrowing Adam's, though she also develops an ability to command the dead that comes from her heritage.
    • Vampires can command those they have enthralled with their gaze or through blood exchanges.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Many.
    • The River Devil slaughtering Coyote and his kin is a memorable example.
    • In Frost Burned, Adam delivers a bloody one to the rogue government agents who've captured his pack.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Many werewolves end up feeling this way about the Change. Sure, you get temper and territoriality issues, but you also get superhuman strength, a Healing Factor, and near-immortality. Many consider it more than a fair trade, which is why a number of people volunteer to be attacked in order to try to become werewolves themselves. Many don't survive, however.
  • Curse That Cures:
    • In one book a werewolf talks his father into getting turned to save him from cancer. It does cure the disease, but the father fears and refuses to accept his werewolf side, leading to his Alpha killing him before he completely loses control.
    • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Stefan has discovered that blood-binding humans can at least suppress several types of disease, including leukemia.
  • Damsel in Distress: Played with. While Mercy is a pretty damn hardcore Action Girl, the fact that she’s mostly a Badass Normal means she’s often at the mercy of the bigger bads of the universe. So, in a compromise, she’s usually just about as fierce as the power level of the villain allows, even if it takes the help of Adam and his pack to truly win the day.
    • Anna often ends up in this position as well, though like Mercy, she’s hardly defenseless (and has the added advantages of werewolf strength and Healing Factor, to boot).
    • Subverted in Frost Burned. Adam and the entire pack get captured, and Mercy's the one left active. Then it's averted when Adam frees himself (with help) and slaughters their captors single-handedly.
  • Deal with the Devil: The community of Wild Sign thinks they're getting the better of a fae spirit by making an agreement to have its children in exchange for protection from black witches, but use magical birth control to prevent them from actually conceiving. Becomes Evil Is Not a Toy when they are subject to his horrifying revenge.
  • Deadpan Snarker: While many characters qualify (Mercy, Mary Jo, and even Stefan), Ben really takes the cake!
    (while Ben and Warren are safeguarding Mercy prior to a meeting with the Seethe Mistress)
    Mercy: (to Ben) You don't have a heart!
    Ben: All the more reason to give me yours.
    Mercy: (to Warren) Please tell me Ben isn't flirting with me!
    Ben: Hey! I was talking about cannibalism, not romance.
  • Determinator: Mercy. Especially at the climax of River Marked; by the end, the only thing keeping her upright (and not screaming) is willpower.
    • Mentioned but not shown is a girl who became a werewolf at age ten. Girls rarely survive the Change to begin with — Mercy, Honey, and even Bran note that a ten-year-old girl that survived must have willpower to spare.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In the comic "Hopcross Jilly", the titular fae attacks and devours the fingers and toes of children who behave badly. If that isn't bad enough, she then buries them alive (while still missing their parts) and dances over their burial ground. Yikes. Hopcross Jilly also ends up Hoist by Her Own Petard by this, as she keeps trying to find a reason to go after Adam's daughter Jesse and ends up burned to death, as even by Medieval standards of children's behavior (and the Fae), Jesse is a good girl.
    • Essentially the basis for Wild Sign, where they investigate a small commune of white witches who made a compact with a being called the Singer. The locals thought that it was fae and bound to the letter of their agreement. Instead, it was a god and was royally pissed off by their attempt to violate the spirit of their agreement. What happened next was horrifying, even to Charles and the other werewolves.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In Frost Burned, the mercenaries hired to kidnap and hold Adam and his pack realize that their employers are okay with letting them die or killing them if they get captured. They promptly decide to cut their losses and flee, but not before giving Adam some useful information and a way to escape.
    • Anna gets shades of this when she kills the mate of the Alpha who brutalized her.
  • Domino Revelation: First we learn that werewolves, walkers, and vampires exist. Then come sorcerers, demons, and fairies.
    • In-universe: the fae revealed themselves to the world, then, two decades later, so did the werewolves. Several characters voice the opinion that the vampires will probably come next, but everyone agrees it will mean a huge deal of trouble for everyone (because, contrary to the fae and the werewolves, there is simply no way to sugarcoat vampirism).
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Mercy as a child and teenager was prone to pranking Bran whenever he did something that made her angry. Bran is the leader of all the werewolves in North America, among the most powerful individuals of any species alive, and has a legendary temper to boot. Everyone else in the town was in awe of her, because if anyone else in the world had tried doing half of what she did, he'd have killed them.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • Mercy kills the River Devil with Lugh’s walking stick at the end of River Marked.
    • Jesse, a fifteen year old girl, kills Hopcross Jilly — a centuries-old child-murdering fae Serial Killer.
    • Becomes literal when the Singer assumes the form of Cthulhu in order to fight Charles, Leah, Tag, and Anna. They win with the help of Bran.
  • Dying Race: Walkers like Mercy are extremely rare, as they and other Native American magical beings went into decline along with the cultures that believed in them. Also, vampires wiped them out whenever they could find them, as the walkers' ability to see ghosts also allows them to locate vampire lairs by day, and their heritage lets them shrug off certain vampiric magics.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: An interesting case with the werewolves' Healing Factor in the earlier books. Initially, it wasn’t as fast nor as strong and it appeared that it greatly required pack magic for a werewolf to heal instantly. Otherwise, it would take several days and several meals for a werewolf to completely heal all of his or her injuries, and even then it was only quicker when they are in wolf form. The later books seemed to abandon this in favor of werewolves healing nigh-instantaneously, even regrowing lost limbs. It’s especially noticeable with Adam in the earlier books (Moon Called to Silver Borne) where he would be taken out of commission as his healing would take several days; even then he could barely walk in human form after healing, vs the later books where he is more or less like Wolverine.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Mercy and Adam have a decently happy ending by the conclusion of River Marked... but damn if they haven’t paid for it in blood and pain.
    • Pretty much all of Anna and Charles’ happy endings are this as well.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The River Devil, which would eventually be capable of eating the entire world if left to her own devices.
    • The fae also sort of count, both because they come from another plane of being sidelong to ours (Underhill), and their true forms can border on nightmare-inducing (such as the Doll Maker from Dead Heat).
    • The Singer is a direct homage to this trope, as it is a nature spirit "becoming" something else and assumes the form of Cthulhu.
  • Enemy Mine: Every time Mercy has to work with vampires other than Stefan.
  • Eternal Love: Any long-lived werewolf pair could count, but also Sam and Ariana (Sam rescued her hundreds of years prior to the series, and they get back together shortly after they meet again).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A very powerful fae isn't especially concerned about rape or murder, but forcing someone to drink from a Mind Control goblet that many times (because it kept wearing off) is beyond the pale.
    • Similarly, while the fae aren’t above rules-lawyering and have a rather inhuman sense of justice… the over-the-top injustice at the end of Fair Game is enough to enrage even them. The consequences are unpleasant.
  • Exact Words: The fae are bound to these whenever you make an agreement with them. It is thus possible, if difficult, to get the better of them. Subverted in Wild Sign where some locals attempt this on a local spirit, thinking that it will prevent them from being punished. It's a god, not a fae, and doesn't work. It is also pointed out that attempting to trick fae this way is still stupid; even if you succeed, you've pissed them off, and they have all the time and motive in the world to plan their revenge, which is more likely than not to be disproportionate as hell.
  • The Fair Folk: The fae are significantly less cuddly than they wish humanity to believe. Delve below the facade they present to the world and you'll find a lot of monsters from the old fairy tales that haven't changed much over the years.
  • Fantastic Racism: Several instances.
    • Most of the fae (at least those that are out to the public) live on reservations, in part because they are targets for hate crimes. And in many cases, the feeling is mutual with regard to how the fae feel about humans.
      • And, by the end of Fair Game, it's driven the Fae into secession from human society, and while outright war has thus far been averted, tensions are still high.
    • Jesse got beaten up in Iron Kissed because her father's a werewolf. This, in turn, nearly got her attackers murdered by an enraged Alpha.
    • Supernatural vs. supernatural example: Most vampires hate walkers, and there was even a concerted effort by the vamps to wipe them out completely.
  • Fights Like a Normal: The villain William Frost has modern hand-to-hand combat skills in addition to his vampiric abilities.
  • First-Person Smartass: Mercy, full stop.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Stefan at least approaches this. Though it takes a beating after the Heroic BSoD that followed the destruction of most of his menagerie.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Mercy's mother, in an entirely justified example. She had found out from the newspapers that her daughter had been raped and killed her rapist rather than a phone call from Mercy.
    • Alphas and master vampires usually call their subordinates by doing this.
  • Genius Bruiser: Darryl is this in spades. He’s Adam’s second, fought Warren to a standstill, and looks like a big scary African-American/Asian dude. He’s also got a Ph.D, and he teaches at the local college.
    • Charles is a decent hacker, a very good accountant, and an excellent detective. Comes with being the Marrok’s hatchet man.
    • Lots of werewolves are Genius Bruisers, really. Being immune to aging means you have plenty of time to pick up all sorts of skills and knowledge.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Subverted. The guy who seemed so nice was using Charm Person fae magic.
  • God of Fire: Guayota is the God of Mt. Teide, a volcano on the Canary Islands. He has the power to convert innocents into fiery dog-like monsters under his command.
  • Going Commando: In Bone Crossed, Mercy shifts to her coyote form to snag a bag from a snow elf, leaving her dress and underwear behind in a crowded bar. Uncle Mike is able to retrieve Mercy’s dress for her, but her bra and panties are lost somewhere. Mercy just wears the dress without the underwear, satisfied she at least isn't naked.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Many of the werewolves showcase — and openly understand — this trope. Bran and Charles Cornick in particular are very aware of the nasty, brutal things they sometimes have to do to keep the peace and keep people safe.
  • Good Stepmother: Mercy is beloved by Jesse, the daughter of her neighbor — and future husband — Adam.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Mercy's foster father loved this: "Cheeses crusty, got all musty, got damp on the stone of a peach." Which translates as “Jesus Christ, God Almighty, God damn the sonovabitch."
    • Adam is particularly averse to swearing around women - Mercy considers it a personal triumph when she can drive him to slip up and actually swear around her.
    • A lot of the werewolves do this, because many come from eras where cursing was quite the faux pas.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Mercy herself, being the daughter of a vanilla human and Coyote in human form. She eventually meets other walkers like her, but descended from other Native American spirits. There are also half-breed fae (who are significantly easier to produce than full-blooded fae).
  • Hate Plague: The demon in Blood Bound starts causing people to become more argumentative and violent just by its very presence. The more naturally-inclined a person is to violence and the longer they stay near the demon, the stronger the effect is.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: While it isn't exactly that lame to start with, seeing ghosts, most of whom just do the same thing over and over, doesn't seem that useful compared to walkers' other powers of shapeshifting and magic resistance. However, it turns out it's one of the main reasons the vampires tried to exterminate them: vampire lairs tend to have a lot of violent deaths around them, so someone who can see ghosts can locate them easily.
    • Additionally, as Coyote is an adaptive Great Spirit who breaks the rules as he sees fit, Mercy is shown to be able to do the same. For starters, not being a werewolf should have made joining a werewolf pack impossible in the first place. Even after joining the pack anyways, she's also able to use pack bonds in an irregular fashion, such as using them to draw the silver out of her pack through her husband to the point that it manifests as pure undiluted silver, rather than the silver nitrate which has been used on the pack. This doesn't come without drawbacks, of course.
    • An Omega’s empathy and peace powers seem like a crappy power to have around a bunch of deadly werewolves — right up until you make a berserker-raging werewolf king lay down and play nice with them.
      • Anna's Omega abilities are shown to be improving as time goes on: in Dead Heat she accidentally lets off such an aura of calm through her abilities that she reduces her husband, the Salt River Pack Alpha, and a newly-minted wolf to a drunken stupor of joy and giggle fits.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Ben, though he's been getting better over time. Mercy still wouldn’t allow him to be alone with her sisters, though.
  • Heroic BSoD: Several, often with nastier consequences for werewolves than humans. For example…
    • Mercy gets a massive one after being raped by Tim in Iron Kissed.
    • It takes Samuel most of Silver Borne to get out of an age-induced one.
    • Stefan gets one when his menagerie is destroyed. It takes him a couple books to start returning to being a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Any religious symbol (crucifixes, the Star of David...) up to and including Mercy's lamb necklace (representing "The Lamb of God" and not a regular sheep) can hold off a vampire or some of the nastier Fae, assuming the wielder truly believes in their chosen faith. Mercy is able to inflict a temporary burn on a vampire and make her sheep glow with the power of her faith when necessary.
  • I See Dead People: Mercy can see and talk to ghosts (and often quotes the Trope Namer when explaining it). She thinks it's part and parcel of being a walker until River Marked. Night Broken suggests it's common to all coyote walkers, as Mercy's half-brother Gary can also see ghosts.
  • Inconveniently Vanishing Exonerating Evidence: Avoided big time in Iron Kissed. After Mercy was raped by Tim, Gray Lord Nemane was going to take all the fae items Tim stole along with the mind-warping goblet that Tim tricked Mercy into drinking from. However, Honey stood up to Nemane and argued that they needed at least the goblet as proof of Mercy’s innocence in the matter. Without it, it would just appear as if Mercy had decided to randomly kill Tim after having “sex” in the surveillance videos. After some convincing from Adam and even Samuel, Nemane acquiesced and allowed them to keep the goblet until Mercy was free of all charges.
  • Interspecies Romance: Few female werewolves exist, so most males have human mates. Mercy herself has never actually met another walker before River Marked, at least, so her love interests have all been this trope.
    • Fae/human romances also exist.
    • Sam (werewolf)/Ariana (fae)
    • Walkers like Mercy are the result of human/Native American spirit relations. In Mercy's case, her mother is a human and her father is Coyote (sort of).
    • While they're still kinda in the awkward beginning stages of their romance, a fae/vampire couple is the subject of the "Fairy Gifts" short story, and they later make an appearance in Fire Touched.
  • Karmic Death: Hopcross Jilly murdered hundreds of children for petty reasons because they were "bad"; for example, they were liars, disobeyed their parents, or smoked. Jesse, by being good even by Jilly's ridiculous standards burns her at a touch when Jilly tries to kill her. Jesse then uses this to burn her like a torch.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ben is this, full stop. He’s an accused rapist (though Adam says he didn’t do it) and an open misogynist. He also literally puts his life on the line for Mercy at one point, putting himself between an enraged Adam and Mercy to make a point. When someone points out in the second book that he only ever refers to women using slang terms for female genitalia, he makes an effort to stop.
    • Darryl qualifies sometimes, too — he protects the pack selflessly, but he can be a real asshole about it.
    • Zee can be (and is) a curmudgeon to pretty much everyone, but when Mercy asks, he'll bend rules even where the Grey Lords are involved.
  • Land of Faerie: Commonly known as Underhill, it was a realm apart ruled by the fae of long ago until its connections to the mortal world were severed. It is later rediscovered by the fae. Oh, and she's sapient, and is just as capricious and deadly as her former tenants.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: In Night Broken, the Hauptmans' lawyer Jenny does a pretty good recap of the events so far in the book. More impressive is that she manages to discuss volcano gods and such with a completely straight face.
    • Whenever Mercy describes Stefan (a vampire) as her friend, many characters have double checked to make sure they heard her correctly.
  • Living Lie Detector: Most of the werewolves and Mercy herself can smell if you're lying, though some people can hide it better than others. Vampires can frequently do this as well, as can most fae.
  • Logical Weakness: In Iron Kissed, Tim uses the Druid's Hide to keep himself protected from any enemy. He ends up killed by Mercy, whom he had forced into becoming his love slave.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Silver Borne, the faerie queen forbids Mercy from talking about her to the werewolves or the other fae. The loophole in this case is that Mercy figures she can just talk to Jesse (who is neither a werewolf nor fae) instead, with the wolves and fae listening in.
    • The fae love this as well, and Zee uses it frequently to feed information or aid to Mercy when he's not supposed to.
  • Love Potion: Tim uses Orfino's Bane to make Mercy fall in love with and have sex with him in Iron Kissed. She smashes his head in with a crowbar when she snaps out of the spell.
  • Love Triangle: Mercy in the middle with Adam and Samuel on the other two corners. Possibly a Love Quadrangle, given Stefan seems very attached to Mercy as well — attached enough that he protected her from the seethe and chose her over his Mistress. Stefan's attraction for her is more or less confirmed in "Night Broken".
    • This seems to have gone away starting in Bone Crossed and definitely at the end of Silver Borne when Samuel and Ariana reunite.
    • And, as of River Marked, it's pretty much gone, following Adam and Mercy's wedding.
  • Magical Native American: Mercy and Charles, somewhat literally. Mercy is a part-Native American shapeshifter, while Charles is a half-Salish werewolf. Hell, Charles can even talk to spirits; he just avoids doing so most of the time because he finds it distracting.
    • Two more walkers, a couple medicine men, and the incarnations of Coyote and Thunderbird make appearances in River Marked.
  • Manly Gay: If a werewolf who spent the Wild West years as a cowboy isn't tough and muscular enough to qualify, nothing is.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Happens to many supernatural creatures with human mates. In particular, Samuel outlived three wives and many of their children. In Hunting Grounds, Arthur chooses to have his wife assassinated by vampires rather than suffer seeing her die of old age.
  • Mindlink Mates: Werewolf couples can be this, though the degree varies from couple to couple.
  • Monster Mash: Werewolves, vampires, various types of Fae, witches, Native American monsters, the odd Eldritch Abomination or two...

  • Named Weapons: Excalibur shows up, as does Carnwennen (“Little White Hilt”). Both are shown to be exactly as deadly as their legends say.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Beast of Gevaudan. The Marrok. The River Devil. La Belle Dame Sans Merci. The Monster (named such by vampires, of all people).
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Cantrip seems to be going this way, since its members openly talk about wanting to kill all the werewolves and may have arranged a bombing attempt on a fairy reservation.
    • Averted in Dead Heat by the Cantrip Agents Jim Marsden and his half-fae partner Hollister Leeds, who are decent, hardworking, and a far cry from the late and un-lamented Agent Les Heuter.
  • No Body Left Behind: Whenever a fae dies, their body disintegrates into fairy dust.
  • Noodle Incident: Mercy had a history as a child and teenager of playing pranks on Bran whenever she was annoyed at him for something. The stories of how she peanut buttered his pants, wrapped his brand new and very expensive car around a tree, and stole his wife's shoes have all been told. What she did that involved a chocolate Easter Bunny has not. Soul Taken finally reveals what she did: she'd given chocolate Easter Bunnies that had been laced with powerful laxatives to werewolves who'd been mean to her. She doesn't like to talk about it because after she'd done so, she'd realized that any laxative powerful enough to incapacitate a werewolf would have been life-threatening to a human, and she was therefore very lucky that all of her targets ate the chocolate themselves instead of, for example, sharing it with a human kid.
  • Not Quite Dead: Played with in Wild Sign, as the Singer in the Woods survives its battle against the werewolves without the latter knowing. Then Coyote enters the scene, noses around, and finds it hiding in a cave in the form of a fingernail-sized, squid-like creature. Apparently, it tastes like eel.
  • Older Than They Look / Really 700 Years Old: Werewolves and vampires don’t age. Among the wolves, notable examples are Bran and his eldest son Samuel, who were both born before Christianity reached Wales (mention goes to Bran for looking like he hasn’t reached his mid-twenties yet). Among the vampires, Wulfe is noted as looking like he's 15 despite being one of the oldest vamps alive.
    • One thing to note: becoming a werewolf sets your appearance to sometime in your twenties to thirties, while becoming a vampire just stops you from aging further. So, while there are vampires like Wulfe with very youthful appearances, there are also vampires that look middle-aged or older.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts have a few classifications according to Mercy's observations.
    • Repeaters just repeat an action — either the moment of their death, or some action that was very important to them in life.
    • Some ghosts can function in a semblance of life, but only up to a point.
    • Still others can function nearly well as they did in life, to the point that Mercy may not realize they're dead right away.
    • Most ghosts are mere traces left behind after the deceased person's soul has moved on. In Frost Burned, Mercy discovers a bunch of ghosts who still have their souls.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires become weak if they don't drink blood every so often. Most vampires keep a "flock" of humans at their house to feed on. They can avoid killing if they want to, but of the vampires we've seen, only Stefan really makes an effort to do so. Being a vampire's "sheep" has fringe benefits — it extends your natural lifespan and gives you resistance to blood-borne diseases like HIV or leukemia. Vampires are dead during the day (but they don't need to return to their original coffin — at one point, Stefan spends the day in Mercy's closet), but come back to unlife at night. They can be killed by the standard methods, but the best one is fire. Beyond that, the circumstances under which any particular vampire is created can sometimes provide them with unique abilities shared by few, if any, of their own kind.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves can change shape more or less at will, but changes may be spurred on by strong emotion, and they are forced to change under a full moon. They’re also immune to disease, poisons, and old age (the physical effects, at least — especially long-lived werewolves can and do suffer from madness and dementia). The initial conversion from human to werewolf reverts physical age to mid-twenties or thirties, and most werewolves are somewhere between physically fit and musclebound. Silver is poisonous to them, and more unusually, they can't swim, or only very badly (they’ve got so much raw muscle mass, they become too dense to float). The change is agonizing, and changing from wolf to human takes several minutes. They also have minor Weirdness Censor powers that encourage Muggles to mistake them for dogs, even though they're larger than wolves and have odd anatomy for canids. It won't fool someone who already knows about werewolves and expects to see one, and an actual angry werewolf is too different and dangerous to fool anyone, but a werewolf that's stuck in wolf form but otherwise in control of himself can blend in by just having someone put a collar on him. Werewolves can stay in wolf form for weeks or months at a time, but typically lose control long before then. Last but not least, a single bite won’t Change you — only being savaged to the point where you either become a werewolf (and gain super healing) or die.
    • Though there is a single instance, in Iron Kissed, of a werewolf changing into something like Crinos form from Werewolf: The Apocalypsenote . It's implied that to get that form, the wolf and the human have to be absolutely united in one purpose and one emotion. In this case, it's Adam, enraged over Tim's brutalization and rape of Mercy.
    • It should also be noted that it's made clear in the series that the wolf aspect of a werewolf is a distinctly separate entity, entirely sentient, that exists independent of, though intertwined with, the human half. This is part of what makes them so dangerous — the wolf half is capable of usurping the human half in certain situations where it feels cornered or enraged.
  • Our Witches Are Different: Witches are magic-users who have power over body and mind (which differs from other magic users like wizards, who have power over objects). Witches gain power through sacrifice; the manner of the sacrifice (and what precisely is being sacrificed) gives rise to the three main varieties:
    • White witches are witches that rely on themselves for power. They are generally more innocent and good-hearted spellcasters, but are also often weaker than black witches. There are exceptions, however — one particularly powerful white witch essentially burned out her own eye for magic.
    • Grey witches draw power from others, but with their consent. This gives them a lot more to work with than white witches, and while they tend to get more power from negative emotions like pain or grief, the fact that they have consent to obtain their power means they avoid the worst that witchcraft has to offer.
    • Black witches gain their powers from inflicting pain and death on others regardless of consent or reason, and are considered Always Chaotic Evil. White witches and other magical beings make particularly potent sources of power for black witchcraft.
    • Witches in the past formed covens that could number in the dozens of bloodlines, but many of those were destroyed in The Spanish Inquisition. Organized witchcraft still hasn't really recovered from the widespread destruction of so many of its elite practitioners by the time the books take place. However, one clan of witches, the Hardestys, appear to be making a comeback and are revealed to have served as The Man Behind the Man for a number of the series' conflicts.
  • Painful Transformation: Werewolf transformations are quite painful and are often rather prolonged, with some of them taking as long as fifteen minutes. As werewolves are already rather short-tempered, it's generally a good idea to tread carefully around a recently-changed werewolf until they get themselves back under control.
    • Averted with Mercy — as a walker, switching between coyote and human is painless and nearly instantaneous.
    • Charles, who inherited some powers from his Native American mother, still feels pain when he shifts, but his transformations are much faster and smoother than normal. He can even clothe himself while transforming.
  • Papa Wolf: Adam, quite literally. Also, Bran Cornick, the Marrok. Two notable fae that also have those traits are Zee and Alistair Beauclaire
  • Part-Time Hero: No matter what is going on around her, Mercy keeps up her day job as a mechanic. If things get REALLY bad, she'll call Zee and ask him to run her shop until the current crisis is over.
  • Planet Eater: The River Devil is a snake-like demon that plans to consume Earth. The more it consumes, the bigger it gets, and it eventually plans on growing so large it can consume the world.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Any holy symbol can affect a vampire, so long as the wielder believes in it. Mercy uses a lamb (as in "The Lamb of God") due to a distaste for crosses (her first encounter with one as a child was an up-close and personal with a full-sized crucifix, complete with dying savior painted in color). Otherwise, mostly averted.
  • The Power of Love: Love is indicated several times to be a very powerful component in various types of magic.
  • Premature Empowerment: Common practice in Urban Fantasy stories, most notably those dealing with werewolves, vampires, or other infectious paranormals. These books feature a number of characters to whom this happened, such as both Alan Mac Kensie Frasier and Anna Cornick née Smith.
  • Rape as Drama: A villain with mind-control magic is not a good thing. Thankfully, the issue is treated with tact and realism.
    • Anna was also passed around to the males in her first pack, to try and break her.
    • Honey mentions that unmated females belong to their alphas, and many are happy to take advantage of this. It's all but stated outright that she's been used in the past. Sage of the Marrok's Pack has also had this happen to her in the past before she joined his.
    • Bran (and likely most other werewolves) consider turning someone into a werewolf against their will (what happened to Adam, Anna, David Christiansen, and Mac from Moon Called) to be a form of rape.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: In Silence Fallen, Adam forms a group to go Europe to save the kidnapped Mercy. In the group is Stefan Uccello, Marsilia, Honey Jorgenson, Elizaveta Arkadyevna, Larry Sethaway the Goblin King, “newcomer” Matt Smith (actually Bran Hidden in Plain Sight) and eventually joined by Bonarata himself.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Adam and Bran Cornick are both (usually) this.
  • Red Baron: Vampires that grow old and powerful enough tend to acquire nicknames/titles. Examples include Stefan ("The Soldier"), Wulfe ("The Wizard"), Marsilia ("The Blade")... Mention is made of how bad you have to be when vampires go around calling you something like "The Monster". (Pretty bad, it turns out — that particular vampire could absorb powers from things he fed on and had amassed a suite of really nasty abilities, including resistance to sunlight.)
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: The inhabitants of Bran's town treat all the pranks Mercy played on him when she was young like this. She finds the memories embarrassing and wish people would stop bringing them up.
  • Resurrected Murderer: Cory Littleton started off as a wicked killer of innocents even when he was human. Cory was eventually possessed by a demon and transformed into a vampire; as a member of the undead, he now has taken to escalating his killing spree across the Tri-Cities.
  • Sacrificial Lion: As of Frost Burned, Peter, the pack's only submissive wolf.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Used twice by Mercy to explain injuries to a friend. The first one doesn't believe her, but the second one does.
  • Save the Villain: Mercy briefly considers letting the ghost of Peter's murderer be devoured by a necromancer vampire, but decides that it would go against her morals.
  • Scenery Porn: It's not usually Briggs’ stock in trade, but in Cry Wolf, she does a damn good job of painting the wilds of Montana as a beautiful, if inhospitable, place.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The River Devil, which Coyote trapped in hopes that it would work better than killing her again. It didn’t.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Tim killed both of his parents and lived off his inheritance afterward.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Silence Fallen is so far the only book not set in the United States. Parts are set in Milan, Italy, while others are in Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Serial Killer: At least one appears in every book, but for the most prominent we have:
    • Corey Littleton is a vicious Evil Sorcerer and vampire whose primary joy is killing and torturing people to death. He was a killer even before he became a vampire.
    • Travis Heuter and his nephews Les and Benedict are rapists, torturers, and killers who prey on werewolf women and fae of any gender. That said, they're not very picky with their victims and will happily kill anyone who gets in their way. One of their victims is even a young boy.
    • The Doll Collector is a wicked fae who kidnaps children and then drains their lifeforce to create a "doll" for her collection. This process is fatal.
  • Sexy Packaging: Reading the books in public can be uncomfortable, since the US covers tend to over-sexualize Mercy, showing her dressed a lot more provocatively than she is in the actual text. The UK covers are not nearly as bad. For example, the U.S. cover of Blood Bound shows Mercy in her mechanic's coveralls - but unbuttoned to her navel and with just a bra underneath. Needless to say, Mercy would never dress in such an impractical way while working on a car.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: As a long-time shape-shifter, Mercy doesn't mind being seen nude by those who are familiar with shapechangers, but makes a conscious effort to keep herself covered in front of those who might misinterpret her casual nudity as casual sexuality.
    (After Mercy undressed in front of Stefan in Kyle's neighborhood in Frost Burned)
    Mercy: I jerked down my jeans and underwear so I was naked on the dark sidewalk. Anyone looking out their window or driving by would get a show. I didn't care. Being a shapeshifter had gotten me over modesty by the time I was old enough to know what the word meant. That didn't mean I was comfortable running around naked in front of everyone I knew. Once upon a time, Stefan had kind of had a thing for me. I usually avoided being naked in front of him just like you don't hold out a slab of meat in front of a lion while planning on keeping the food to yourself.
    • As a matter of fact, many of werewolves fit this as well.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: This is Mercy's opinion of her looks; since she works as a mechanic, she typically just wears grubby clothes with no makeup, her hair pinned back, and has oil stains up to her elbows. Other people disagree.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Adam and Mercy flirt with each other shamelessly, often to the exasperation of the people around them, especially Jesse.
  • Silk Hiding Steel:
    • Since Mercy can't directly confront stronger male wolves, she works indirectly by smiling and nodding and misdirecting. (Though it might be a bit of a stretch to call her a “proper lady.”)
    • Anna Cornick too. Her silk is made of empathy. Her steel is made of backbone and the ability to call on Charles’ not-inconsequential power.
  • Silver Bullet: Reconstructed. Mercy uses silver bullets when she needs to actually kill a werewolf, and makes her own. After a few gun owners in Patricia Briggs's readership wrote to her that casting silver into bullets isn't nearly as easy as it sounds, Briggs consulted a metallurgist to learn how to do it properly and blogged extensively about the process.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Subverted in Burn Bright, when Leah is set up to look like she's betrayed the pack. She's innocent. It's actually Sage, another character who's barely had any screen-time before that novel, who's the real traitor.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Alan Mac Kensie "Mac" Fraser and Gerry Wallace. Mercy's involvement in the first novel could arguably be described as a complete coincidence. Without her connection to Alan, she may never have known about the funny business going on, or even been awake around the time that Adam was attacked. Her involvement in the foiling of the overall plot caused her to incur a debt to the vampires, a debt that would lead into the next book (Blood Bound), where she both incurs a further debt with the fae (Iron Kissed), and slights the seethe (Bone Crossed). Mercy's life may have been very different had Alan looked elsewhere for work, or if Gerry had simply had more spine.
  • Spree Killer: Cory Littleton of the novel "Blood Bound", is an unconventional supernatural version. Starting off as an evil and psychopathic killer in Chicago, after gaining powers and being accidentally freed from the control of his vampiric Sire, Littleton massacred all of the inhabitants of a motel (4 people in all) and had one tortured to death as well. He then spread a Hate Plague across the entire Tri-Cities, Washington area, which induces rage in the hope of causing people to fight each other to the death, racking up his body count into the dozens.
  • Sunglasses at Night:
    • Moira wears them — and rightfully so, given that both of her eyes were used up for magical purposes. They're not pretty.
    • Some of the werewolves will also do this to hide the shift in eye color that signals one's wolf-side coming to the fore.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Since werewolves are pretty much solid muscle, they tend to sink like rocks. This makes it a favored suicide method among old werewolves who don't want to die fighting (or are strong enough that they aren't guaranteed to find someone who can kill them).
  • The Trickster: Coyote himself shows up in River Marked. note  His response to Mercy asking how big a prehistoric monster is? Throwing her in a river with said monster so they can find out. When Adam complained, he said he would have thought of something to keep her from getting killed. Yep. He's a trickster.
    • In Night Broken, Mercy's brother asks her how many times Coyote has tried to kill her so far. She has to really think about it and isn't entirely happy with the answer.
    • Mercy herself is this to some extent, though more in her past then her present. She seems to have mostly used it to get retribution when her own power as a child and a coyote in a werewolf pack would not otherwise allow it. However, since Asil states that the story of her peanut buttering the leather seats of Bran's Porche and consequently his very expensive pants reached him all the way in Spain, and even Samuel never figured out how she stole half of each pair of Leah's shoes without ever getting caught, she seems capable of fairly high-level trickery.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The villain of Iron Kissed. Adam even says later that even if he had known where Mercy was going he wouldn't have been worried, since he, like Mercy, mistook the crazy, bigoted, murderous rapist for a nice guy.
    • Technically, the werewolves themselves, who look almost perfectly human when not Changed.
    • Fae can use glamour to look like whatever they want. Often, it's the most harmless-looking ones that are the most dangerous.
  • This Means War!: In Fair Game, the son of a United States senator is directly involved in kidnapping the daughter of one of the Gray Lords, torturing her to the point of permanent crippling, and would have added her to a long list of murdered victims — but he is acquitted, thanks to his defense team playing up the "scariness" of the victims, who were all supernaturals. The girl's father appears outside the courthouse with the Wild Hunt and declares that as this verdict has clearly shown that the United States doesn't consider the fae to be people, the fae are now at war with them. He then decapitates the murderer and orders all fae in the US to retreat into their reservations.
  • Title Drop: The titles of the books tend to be significant. Particularly notable examples include:
    • Metalworking fae like Zee are referred to as "the iron kissed", and Zee's situation is a major factor in Iron Kissed.
    • The Silver Borne is the name of a particular artifact central to the conflict in said book.
    • Mercy is said to have been “river marked” by the villain of the same book.
    • Fire Touched refers to Aiden, a human child granted power over fire by Underhill (and who is a target for the fae as a result).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Said almost word for word in River Marked about some fae who tried to kill Mercy in front of Adam. Their deaths were officially listed as "suicide by werewolf."
  • True Companions: Ideally, werewolf packs, which may also include any human mates or children. Inter-pack conflicts can cause issues with the cohesion of the pack as a whole, though.
  • The Undead: several types.
    • Besides vampires, Bone Crossed has at least one ensorcelled, mostly-aware, decaying body. Zombies, perfectly preserved and undying bodies are mentioned, and some eventually appear in Storm Cursed.
    • There is a zombie appearance in the short story In Red With Pearls.
    • Also, the Fae assassin in Frost Burned is referred to as a zombie, though she was raised by a Necromancy-wielding vampire, so she might be different than the traditional sentient raised-by-witches zombies. She doesn't get enough page time to clarify this point.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Marsilia and Adam, on their mission to get Mercy back from Bonarata, decide to pretend to be in a polyamorous relationship with her. And Stefan. And Honey. It's unclear whether anyone actually bought it.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • The Columbia Basin Pack Note  is always this toward Mercy. No matter how many times Mercy has stood up for the pack or put her body and life on the line, the pack just refuse to accept her as Adam’s mate or as a pack member, often blaming her for their troubles or ridiculing her. It gets worse in Night Broken when most of the pack takes Christy’s side and show they prefer her over Mercy. The situation got so bad, that Adam finally addressed the issue in Fire Touched by promising to kill anyone who disrespects Mercy again.
    • One person who fits this trope particularly well is Mary Jo. In Bone Crossed, Mary Jo was killed in an incident caused by vampires; as the incident happened at a fae establishment, Baba Yaga, who was there at the time, offered to revive Mary Jo as recompense. Mercy agreed, and Mary Jo was brought back to life. So how does Mary Jo thank Mercy? In Silver Borne, she joins a group in the pack that is trying to drive Mercy and Adam apart. When Mercy's trailer is blown up, she deliberately does not inform Adam that Mercy was not inside, which almost gets Adam killed when he runs in after her. All because Mary Jo was jealous that Mercy was chosen as Adam’s mate instead of her, despite the fact that Mary Jo never stood a chance with Adam in the first place. Even Mercy brings up the fact she saved Mary Jo's life, but Mary Jo just brushes it off. This action has caused Mary Jo to become a near-universal scrappy for many readers.
      • Mary Jo's gradually been getting better. Mercy confronting her over the events helped get their conflict out in the open, and it helps that the splinter faction of the pack Mary Jo was working with was revealed to have been manipulated into trying to overthrow Adam by her then-boyfriend, who was jealous of her still holding a torch for Adam despite it not being a possibility. Mercy and Mary Jo still don't really like each other, and Mary Jo tends to verbally snipe at Mercy when she can, but as both of them are committed to the pack and Adam, they've managed to establish a tenuous respect.
    • Even Mercy shows shades of this toward Ben after Moon Called. Ben saved Mercy and Adam’s life at the climax of Moon Called, even took a few shots for them. Yet, Mercy still thought very low of him at the end of the book and the following Blood Bound. But it’s very heartwarmingly subverted in Iron Kissed when Ben stood up for Mercy and talked some sense into Adam over their feelings for each other. Mercy afterwards began to warm up to Ben, even personally requesting him to escort her. Since then, she trusts Ben as a loyal member of the pack.
    • Subverted with Zee in Iron Kissed. Zee is by no means ungrateful to Mercy for trying to prove his innocence for murder. However, he is upset at her because her involvement in his case only got her into deep trouble, and her eventual rape.
    Mercy: Are you still mad at me?
    Zee: I want you to know this. I would rather have died in that cell than have you suffer that madman's attack.
  • The Unmasqued World: At least partially, and growing increasingly so as the series continues. The Fae came out about 20 years before the start of the story, making it sort of an Alternate History, although they are being far from open with the general public about exactly how much their magic can do. Werewolves came out at the end of the first book, and they too are working hard on public relations and spin control. Vampires are still considered to be a myth, but a lot of Muggle characters have found out or are starting to suspect, and some characters are wondering how and whether vampires could come out.
  • Unstoppable Rage: All werewolves are susceptible to this, but don’t mess with Mercy around Adam, or Anna around Charles. Unstoppable rage will sound pleasant compared to what happens next.
    • Messing with Charles, Samuel, Anna, or Mercy often gets the same reaction out of the Marrok.
    • Also what Gwyn ap Lugh aka. Alistair Beauclaire unleashes at the end of Fair Game.
    • Poking the Berserk Buttons of ancient, powerful, magical entities is just unwise in general.
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle: A somewhat subtle one — Mercy herself might deny its existence, but neither of her (prospective) beaus seem to have gotten the memo even by Silence Fallen.
  • Vapor Wear: In Iron Kissed, Mercy has to leave her clothes behind on the road after shifting to her coyote form to escape a monster fae. After shifting back and taking a shower at Adam's house, she borrows Jesse's clothes, which happen to be smaller and more form fitting. When Mercy puts on the shirt with her own skin still damp and with no bra, her breasts soak right through. In Mercy's own words she looks "like a refugee from a wet T-shirt contest."
  • The Warlord: A Vietnamese Werewolf warlord was responsible for turning Adam into a werewolf. During the Vietnam War, the Warlord took advantage of the chaos, using his powers to carve out a fiefdom which he ruled as as a vicious tyrant. Not knowing what he was, Adam sent his squad in to eliminate the warlord. All of them were slaughtered, save Adam and David Christiansen, who the warlord turned with the expectation that they'd serve him. However, Adam proved strong-willed enough to resist his control, instead using his new powers to kill the warlord and avenge his murdered comrades.
  • Werewolves Are Dogs:
    • The werewolves have a tendency to act like dogs when surrounded by those unfamiliar with werewolves. It’s stated that they have a Weirdness Censor that influences people to see them as dogs unless they are already aware of werewolves (or the werewolf is too worked up to try to hide).
    • Mercy has done this quite a few times when in her coyote form in public. Sometimes she will wear a dog collar with Adam’s name on it just in case she is seen around a neighborhood. Blood Bound had a funny scene of Mercy playing fetch with some young boys until her “owner” came to pick her up.
  • Wham Episode: The ending of Fair Game: the fae have declared independence, and now consider the United States a hostile nation.
  • Wham Line: “Bran is funny about Mercy. If you were that funny about Mercy, I would feel the same way Leah does — no matter how likable I might find her."- Anna in Burn Bright. Note 
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Samuel struggles with this, especially in Silver Borne.
    • Most older creatures, be they fae, wolf, or vampire, struggle with this. Senility and madness are common problems among the long-lived magical creatures.
    • Subverted with the Marrok, who seems to be content about his immortality.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted. When Henry attempts to take advantage of Adam’s weakness during Silver Borne, Mercy simply draws her pistol and shoots him in the throat before he can finish his challenge.
  • Wild Wilderness: Mostly avoided in the Mercy Thompson books (which are pretty solidly set in Urban Fantasy), but in the Alpha & Omega series, Charles and Anna have several adventures in the Montana wilderness.
  • Woman Were-Woes: Whilst it's perfectly possible for women to become werewolves (and the series features a number of prominent examples, most notably Anna Cornick the protagonist of the spinoff Alpha and Omega), becoming a werewolf requires having your body ravaged to the point that if you don't turn you die and the transformation itself is extremely agonising. All this means that by nature, the vast majority who survive are men. Case point: Adam Hauptman's pack, and thus the entire Columbia Basin werewolf population (which is considered quite large by their standards), only has three female members. Due to their rarity, female werewolves are highly prized, with packs even having been known to go to war to induct them into their membership. They likewise aren't able to hold rank in their own right (regardless of how dominant or powerful they are) being forced to share the status of their mate.
  • Working-Class Werewolves: Zig-zagged. Most Alpha werewolves tend to be quite well-off. Their innate desire to lead others tends to translate into having important and high-paying jobs; even if it doesn't, they can get tribute from their subordinates. Adam, the Alpha of the Tri-Cities pack, runs his own security company. However, some werewolves (particularly lone wolves without packs) still get stuck working menial jobs and struggling to make ends meet. Warren, one of the members of the Tri-Cities pack, worked as a clerk in a convenience store for a long time until his boyfriend (a well-regarded lawyer) got him licensed as a private investigator. Zack, another member of the pack, was working as a dishwasher while living in a cheap motel.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • The eponymous River Devil eats multiple children over the course of the book.
    • The mercenaries in Frost Burned have a kill list that includes all of Adam's wolves and everyone who's involved with them, kids included. Even Sylvia Sandoval's children, whose connection to the werewolves is tenuous at best, appear on that list. This in turn leads to a bloody Papa Wolf moment from Adam.
    • Hopcross Jilly from the comic book of the same name enjoys killing "naughty" children for petty reasons.
    • The Monster of the Week in Dead Heat has been abducting kids for decades, and a bunch of their mummified corpses are found in its lair.
  • Wrench Wench: 'Mercedes the VW Mechanic', her day job.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In Wild Signs, a group of white witches make a deal with an ancient being. They assume that it's a powerful fae of some sort and they'll therefore be safe so long as they hold up the letter of their bargain. Unfortunately for them, it's not fae at all, but some sort of Native American spirit that is infuriated over their breaking the spirit of the deal, and kills them for it.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Done by the Grey Lords of the fae in the backstory. The fae coming out was an accident as far as the general public knows, but fae and other supernatural characters are aware that it was ordered (or at least, manipulated into happening) by the Gray Lords. Coming out resulted in Fantastic Racism and getting forced into reservations, so it seems like a very bad thing for fae as a whole, but over the course of the series, characters have discovered that the Grey Lords wanted to have high population densities of fae living together because that would give them access to Underhill again, a Magical Land which the power of the fae is tied to.
    • In short, the breaking of masquerade would, one way or another, accomplish the Grey Lords’ mission.
    • In Silence Fallen, this turns out to have been Bonarata's plan all along — kidnapping Mercy would bring both the werewolves and his old lover Marsilia to Milan, where they could be suborned, or used to rid himself of a particularly Ax-Crazy old werewolf he was addicted to feeding from (and possibly deal with some other plots against him besides). And it turns out that even Bonarata's machinations were the result of an even deeper gambit by Coyote to get Mercy to deal with the nature spirit that had been bound into the Golem of Prague.
  • You Need to Get Laid: In Soul Taken, Mercy comments that Mary Jo, the member of the Columbia River Pack that she's had the most trouble with, has become much nicer ever since getting a boyfriend. They're still not friends, but Mercy's happy that Mary Jo is no longer sniping at her or attempting to undermine her.
  • Your Mom: Zee tends to get creative when he's cussing out recalcitrant cars.
    "Deine Mutter war ein Cola-Automat!"Translation