Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Something venomous has come to Temperance …
It's been two months since Petra Dee and her coyote sidekick Sig faced off against Temperance's resident alchemist, but things are far from quiet. When an Internet video of a massive snake in the backcountry of Yellowstone goes viral, a chase for the mythical basilisk is on. Monster hunters swarm into the area, and never one to pass up the promise of discovery, Petra joins in the search.
Among the newcomers is a snake cult on wheels―the biker gang Sisters of Serpens. Unlike some, the Sisters don't want to kill the basilisk―they want to worship it. But things get complicated when the basilisk develops a taste for human flesh that rivals the Sisters' own murderous skills.
Meanwhile, the alchemical tree of life is dying, and the undead Hanged Men of Temperance who depend on it know the basilisk may be their last chance for survival.
With time running out for everyone around her, Petra will be forced to decide who survives and who she must leave behind in this action-packed sequel to Dark Alchemy.
I am a Laura Buckle fan, her fantasies are dark and her monster-infested worlds aren't some romanticized or sanitized version we would often find in the genre. It's terrifying and dangerous and the odds are usually stacked up high against the heroes.
Her adult dark fantasy series, Dark Alchemy, is another hit IMO. I love the Western rural setting of Temperance, Wyoming by the Yellowstone park. The myth is a fusion of wizardry and Native American literature, and the tone is always eerie and more horror/thriller than an adrenalin-filled adventure.
MERCURY RETROGRADE follows the formula and continues the saga regarding the Hanged Men, undead men whose lives are tied to the Tree of Life currently dying. Their leader Gabe is trying to reverse the damage by hunting a basilisk for its blood. A BASILISK! But Gabe's not the only one after it, a coven of biker witches got wind of its presence in Wyoming and are also after the creature. Then there are a few other continuing side stories that completed this installment. And if there's one thing LBickle is great at, it's peeling the layers of her mysteries in a slow yet captivating way.
MERCURY RETROGRADE closed a few arcs in a satisfying but heartbreaking way. I will miss the mysterious Hanged Men and their raven counterparts which made the series even darker andin terms of function, they provided some sort of a crutch for Petra and the local PD's in solving the mysteries. That said I look forward to the third book, Nine of Stars coming 12.26.16. There's a new Sheriff, and a brand new evil, in town and I am curious to know if the two are connected or if the Tree has something to do with it.
If you're a fan of dark fantasy with peculiar myths and minimal romance, Dark Alchemy is a great series for you to try.
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