Thursday, April 08, 2010

Review: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Don't you hate it when your planning goes awry? I was going to blog-hop and write the review yesterday while at work between my experiments. I was all psyched up, because seriously, I do miss blogging and commenting. Lo and behold though, there was no freaking internet connection for the whole day!! I mean, do you realize how much we depend on internet nowadays? And not just as a hobby but for work too! I was going to blog and blog-hop yesterday evening, but my sister used my computer for a while and I fell asleep ^_^;

Then again, there's always today right? :P

19 days till RT 2010 in Columbus!! Woohoo! I'm really looking forward to it :) You can't believe how my hands are itching to go buy books ^_^; but I'm trying hard not to. Really hard LOL.

*Warning: I usually do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum in my reviews. However, it wasn't possible for this one. Therefore, read at your own risk!

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
published by Berkley in March 2010

When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secret knowledge-and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side - leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Mercy Thompson, Book #5

The Story: Seriously, I think the blurb has left out the most important element of Silver Borne, Adam and Mercy have to face "their" Pack. Okay, let's take it back from the beginning.

Mercy and Adam's relationship is deepening, but yet they're still at the dating stage. That's because Adam's Pack is still struggling from the past few events: accepting a gay werewolf in, taking a coyote shapeshifter for Alpha's mate, Mercy not knowing about Adam's declaration and her belated acceptance of the mate bond which kind of set Adam on the edge. You'd think things couldn't get worst, but they always can and what happens is a couple of wolves getting together and using Pack magic to create a gap between Mercy and Adam. While it doesn't work, it does declare loud and clear that there are issues in the Pack that Adam has to address and Mercy's decision not to move in has been the right one...

In the meantime, Mercy gets a phone call from Tad warning her to take care of the book about Fae that Phin lent to her. Mercy thus decides to return it, but the bookstore is closed and Phin cannot be found. After an incident at Mercy's garage, it quickly becomes apparent someone is after Phin, the book and Mercy... which means trouble for Mercy.

As if this wasn't enough, Mercy also has to deal with Samuel whose latest suicide attempt has failed and whose Wolf has taken over to keep them both alive. The only problem is letting the Wolf in control - that's usually a death sentence and now, Mercy has to figure out a way for Adam and Bran not to find out.

My Opinion: I'm a self-professed fan of the Alpha and Omega series by Ms Briggs. I'm not saying I don't enjoy the Mercy Thompson series, I do, but between the two, I prefer Alpha and Omega. I guess it's Charles and Anna :P Still, I've been looking forward to Silver Borne because I do enjoy the series, but I wasn't super excited like I can be for other books because I didn't really know what to expect of it.

After reading Silver Borne, I was content. The book doesn't disappoint, it's a solid good read, but it didn't blow me away either. As always, Ms Briggs' writing is great, she has captured Mercy's voice and the style is easy to read. There's also a lot of characters/relationships development and this is always something that readers look forward to. Where the book falters a little bit in my opinion is the plot.

As you can see in my summary, I would break down Silver Borne into three parts/storylines: the Pack,Samuel and the Fae. My favorite part of Silver Borne was Pack business and this is something Ms Briggs excels at. Unlike other werewolf series, I feel that Ms Briggs has done a great job throughout the series with her world building of Pack - the hierarchy, the dominance, the interactions, etc. She hasn't simply told us about it, but has shown us - mostly through the Alpha and Omega series. In addition, Ms Briggs' werewolf packs are very similar to royal courts with their intrigues and politics and it's just something I find interesting and fascinating. I thought Ms Briggs had a great plot concerning the Pack in Silver Borne, it was exciting and clever and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out more :D Basically, Adam's Pack hasn't been united for quite some time and there is a number of reason for it: Warren - the gay werewolf, Mercy - a coyote skinwalker, and the fact that it took so much time for Mercy to accept Adam as a mate which put Adam's on the edge and almost broke the Pack. Obviously, not every werewolf is happy and some have taken it upon themselves to create even more havoc - either to break up Adam and Mercy or simply take Adam's place as Alpha. Like I said, this was the best part of the book because I was really engaged. The bonus was getting more on Mercy and Adam's relationship since their relationship is somehow intertwined with Pack business. I enjoyed seeing Mercy and Adam together, how much they care about each other and have each other's back. I'd say this is the most romance/interaction between the two that readers have been able to witness and I'm really glad for it :D

Samuel's storyline was okay. I have to say, this was the storyline that worried me the most coming into Silver Borne because I read somewhere on blogland (I thought it was Renee's blog, but perhaps it's Mandi...) that Samuel's situation would get resolved. For some reasons, I assumed that meant he would be featured predominantly/the focus would be shifted to him. That worried me because while I like Samuel's character, I don't feel a connection to him. He's been quite on the sideline, coming out only when Mercy needs help. I just feel we don't know him enough to have him suddenly be the focus of an installment. However, I was wrong. Yes, Samuel was more present, but the focus wasn't really on him, so that was good :D Unfortunately, as I said, his storyline was only okay. I liked the part where Samuel's wolf (Sam) took control because he wanted to survive. The whole situation was quite interesting and I liked seeing Samuel's wolf and everyone else's shock and fear, but also the whole repercussion, i.e. hiding it from Adam and Bran :P What didn't work for me though was how his situation was resolved. Samuel's longevity has taken a toll on his mind, especially the loss of his children - that none of them made the transition. As a result, Samuel is depressed and suicidal... so what would bring him out of this funk? The answer was quite obvious - bringing up a love interest. However, I'm disappointed because it felt to me Ms Briggs took the easy way out: bring someone from Samuel's past up, someone that apparently, Samuel has been in love with. It seemed to me, if Samuel has really been in love with Ariana, who's a Fae by the way, he'd have kept track of her... or at least, he wouldn't be in the situation he is. When he started being so depressed, he could have tried to look for her, do something. Sure, Ariana is not really fond of werewolf so that's why they couldn't be together in the past and Samuel was being considerate and etc. However, everything just seemed to be resolved so quickly and easily. As soon as Samuel saw Ariana again, he suddenly wanted to live... There was no real development or transition. It just felt off after all the angst he went through. You'd probably get the same result with a new character, but at least, there'd be a bit more development, reasoning. That's why I feel Ms Briggs took the easy way.

Finally, there was the storyline with the Fae. It started out good, especially with the bounty hunter scene... but then, it took a backseat to the other two storylines and it never gained back the momentum. In other words, I just lost interest in that part of the book. In comparison with all the other adventures Mercy has gone through, this one fell flat for me. Thinking about it, it was probably just a foil to introduce Ariana... As a result, I can't exactly say that Silver Borne would have been better without it, but it could have been better. Most probably because the ending was rushed. Ah well.

All in all, Silver Borne was an enjoyable book. It was good and solid, but not a wowzer. Those who enjoy characters/relationships development will be very pleased, as I was. I really enjoyed the Pack aspect of this book, perhaps because it reminded me a lot of the Alpha and Omega series. However, I thought the two other storylines were a little weak, especially compared with previous installments of the Mercy Thompson series. Still, I have to say that Ms Briggs did an impressive job linking all three storylines together. The pacing was a bit off, but all three storylines was necessary to make Silver Borne :)

I hope that in the future, the books will focus a bit more on Adam's Pack. Ms Briggs have created a great cast of secondary characters and there's a lot of potential, especially since the Pack is on the road for recovery. I wished there would have been more of Warren and Kyle in Silver Borne :P I really like them. However, I'm content that Ben is getting more development. I didn't like him at first, but he's turning out to be a really interesting character :) By the way, do anyone know whether werewolf can become more dominant? Or their dominance level is set once they become werewolf?

My Grade: B++.