SILVER BORNE (Ace 2010) written by Patricia Briggs, hardcover list price of $24.99 and is apart of the Agency 5 (links to Diesel ebooks article). SILVER BORNE is the fifth book in an ongoing series featuring coyote shape-shifter and mechanic Mercy Thompson.
The series is told from Mercy’s perspective and is set in the Tri-Cities. Mercy is apart of the half-hidden supernatural community that consists of vampires, werewolves and the publicly outed Fae. There’s no telling what else might be out there, waiting to be unearthed from it’s lair.
Quite frankly, this is one of the few series that I can still read in a genre full of vampires and werewolves or some variation or hybrid thereof. Just so you know, I am sick to death of them, too. Must warn new readers that I may reveal some spoilers for this series that may hinder your enjoyment. I advise you to stop here if you don’t care for any details about the series in general. Meanwhile, I’ve tried not to spoil everything for you in my summary recap.
What’s different about this series is that Mercy is a mechanic and not some secret vampire or werewolf bounty hunter with a mission. She has a somewhat regular life, working in her garage fixing cars. But she is a coyote shifter who is half human with a boyfriend who is a sexy, dominant werewolf who refuses to leave her side. Mercy’s had some nasty scrapes in this series and have lived to tell the tale because she has powerful friends.
She’s battled with the powerful Queen of the vampire seethe in one book (refer to Bone Crossed) and she along with vampire Stefan, help rid the world of the demon-possessed vampires in another (refer to Blood Bound). Through all of that though, she’s a victim in recovery (refer to Iron Kissed). In this world, there are serious consequences when tangling with the supernatural.
In “Silver Borne” Mercy finds herself in possession of an ancient artifact that the Fae want back quite badly. Earlier in the series, Mercy was loaned a book that contained vital information about the world of the Fae. She needed the book’s secrets to tackle a powerful adversary. When she tries to return the book, she finds that the bookstore owner who gave it to her has gone missing. Could this have something to do with the book? Maybe.
Again Mercy is the target of the powerful and mysterious Fae who are quite secretive and will go to any lengths to keep their secrets out of human hands. Not all of the Fae were outed to the public unlike her friend and co-worker Zee. Seems that quite a few are still hidden from society and would like it to remain that way. There are many different types of fae who are quite dangerous. Instead of fighting with the Gray Lords, who rule the Fae, Mercy find herself the target of the powerful fairy queen this time around. She wants the book for her own dubious purposes but Mercy has it and isn’t willing to relinquish it to her.
Alongside that main story arc, the focus shifts back to Mercy’s personal life, more specifically, her love life with her now mated partner. Seems the pack bond they forged together is weak and has been tampered with by outsiders. While Mercy and Adam are on their date one night, Mercy finds herself being manipulated mentally by the pack bond. The outcome of this manipulation was to drive a wedge between Adam and Mercy. Who would try to do that?
For the last couple of years it seems that the pack has been having some problems. A handful of werewolves resent Mercy being apart of their pack and blame her for the trouble she keeps getting them into within the supernatural community. Pack trouble really began when Mercy was added to the pack without her consent and since Mercy took her time in deciding between the two men who were vying for her attentions, the pack grew fractured and unstable.
But anyway, after Mercy makes her choice, the ever brooding Dr. Samuel Cornick continues to withdraw into himself. As a lone wolf not apart of the pack and several centuries old, he continues to feel as if he has nothing to offer the world. Sadly, he feels that he doesn’t have a place in this world anymore. He doesn’t even feel needed as a medical doctor who saves lives on a daily basis.
Samuel’s father, Bran, is the Marrok and ruler of all the werewolves in North America. It is Bran’s job to remove troubled wolves even if it might be his own son. Can Samuel pull it together and find something worth living for? You’ll have to read it to find out. This was an emotional thread considering that I really do like Samuel.
SILVER BORNE has two or three threads going parallel and all were quite interesting. So how did I like it? I enjoyed it for the most part. Since this series hit hardcover last year, the author tries to make it worth your money and time and she succeeds (for me at least). Briggs writes with such detail. Plus, her prose is very visual. There is also the constant contrast between Mercy’s regular life and her supernatural life that makes the events in the story seem real.
The monsters in her stories can come off scary. She’s good with suspense and really good at bringing myth and folklore to life. Aside from the paranormal creatures there is Mercy’s now somewhat less complicated love life. The relationship between them can heat up the pages even with their clothes on. Strength wise, Mercy is not as strong as her otherworldly friends but she has back-up. A girl can never have enough back-up in the supernatural world.
Overall, I felt the ending was a little drawn out for me. I had to skim to the get to the action and the dialogue. Predictability reared it’s ugly head but then again this is the fifth book in the series where Mercy is again the target. Patricia Briggs is a solid writer. Her series reminds me a lot of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, another series I enjoy.
There are some comparable elements. Both women have some form of paranormal ability. Sookie with her telepathy and Mercy is a coyote shifter. Both have jobs outside the paranormal community. Both series have featured romantic conflicts to draw readers along. The paranormal world is seen as an adjunct where regular life sometimes clashes with repercussions. Lastly, both worlds come off looking believable.
Additionally, this entry also focuses a lot on the werewolf pack politics and dominance games/roles. Even goes so far as to explain the relationship between man and wolf and the danger they pose when the wolf and not the man is mentally in control. This world is quite layered with the same social issues of our own modern world.
Unfortunately, this series doesn’t stand alone well considering the various loose threads from earlier books that may or may not get picked up in later novels. Even I’ve had to go back and reread some things based on my lack of memory. However, if readers are interested in the Mercy Thompson series, you should start with Moon Called. Five books in and it is still going strong. You couldn’t do any worse than this series.
I’d rate SILVER BORNE a B/B+ read for me. To bone pick, I felt that some scenes were overly long (Sylvia and the kids) and the handling of Samuel’s character felt somewhat uneven to me emotionally. For a bit of time he just went missing on me and then later turns up for a critical part of the story. I felt he was slapped with a hasty resolution, too. Other complaints are minor and have more to do with the inherent problems with series books and recurring characters. Overall, I enjoyed SILVER BORNE. The ending while drawn out did have my heart racing a bit. So yeah, it’s a B from me. Look forward to seeing what Mercy tackles next.
Note: There is an off-shoot of this series that features Bran’s son and second in charge, Charles Cornick who is an Alpha and enforcer of the Marrok and his mate, Anna Latham, an Omega in the Alpha and Omega series that started in the novella, On the Prowl and has two books now out in the series: Cry Wolf and Hunting Ground. Very romantic and character driven. Highly recommend that series as well.
SILVER BORNE is available in digital format and hardcover at the time of this writing at selected retailers. Since the new agency model came down, certain titles are unavailable at certain retail sites. No affiliate links are used in this post. I bought my own copy of this book for the sake of disclosure. Edited: spelling.