Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

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Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A fifth adventure for Mercy and her werewolf friends struggles slightly to make itself known among the better episodes that came before it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: April 2010
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841497990

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Mercy's life is just not getting any easier. The werewolf she lives with is looking like going rogue – not snapping out of wolf form, which might have dangerous repercussions – for himself and those around him. Someone within the pack she's joined with seems to be playing psychic warfare on her, and leading her astray with errant mental suggestions. Worse still, she's opened the door of her (ill-fated) trailer and found death threats on the step before, but not a fae assassin looking over things from the middle distance. Could any of this have anything to do with a mysterious fae book of fairy lore she's been asked to look after?

It's probably very wise for Patty Briggs to open her series up beyond the woman-and-her-werewolf urban fantasy, as she continues to do here. Briggs strikes me as very wise regardless – the benefits of her writing are in nearly every paragraph. Character and her fantasy world are both conveyed so convincingly and authoritatively by her narrator's thoughts, and we cannot fail to see things through Mercy's worldview when she adds her spunky, half-coyote shape-shifter knowledge of werewolf body language, society and more to the story she's telling us.

So there's a nice balance again between all the recurring characters – and hardly a touch to the proceedings that would even make you think this was the fifth of seven books. Zee, her fae boss, and the worries her friends in that community have regarding a missing member, and the book, and the problems with Mercy getting accepted fully as the mate of an Alpha werewolf, combine to make a tricksy story. But to me the flow of them did not fully shine as Briggs can. Despite what I said about conviction there was little to make me believe there was much threat to anyone for a long time, the balance of the plot did not satisfyingly address all strands, leaving us with an ending that seemed three chapters crunched into one.

I remain convinced Briggs can let rip a lot more successfully and dramatically than she has done here. There are no major flaws, and returning readers will be engaged somewhat with the continuing story of everyone here, but for the first time there is a hint the series – originally meant as a single trilogy – might be struggling to fill all seven volumes. Still, there are further hints of magic, mystery and murderous nastiness to come, and I still intend to carry on with the remaining books.

I must thank Orbit's kind people for my review copy.

The series started with Moon Called. More urban fantasy can be found in The Midnight Mayor: A Matthew Swift Novel by Kate Griffin – yes, it's a sequel, but when the whole series bears quality hallmarks throughout, who's complaining?!

Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson Series in Chronological Order

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