Friday, December 30, 2011

On Bonds: A Review of Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

This one really surprised me. I didn't care much for Bone Crossed at all, and I assumed that signaled the downfall of my enjoyment of this series. I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Silver Borne is the fifth novel in the Mercy Thomson series. This is one series that you do have to read in order, because there's a lot of overarching character development. In this book, Mercy is trying to return a book that she borrowed from a fae friend, but there seems to be a problem. The friend is missing, and some suspicious parties seem to be after the book. Mercy's problems are compounded by the fact that her room mate and good friend, Sam, has lost himself to his inner wolf. Mercy knows that according to pack law, Sam should be sentenced to death for everyone's safety. But Mercy refuses to give up on Sam, just as she refuses to turn the book over to unknown and dangerous hands.

Positive Comments:

There's so much rich character development in this book. I've always loved Mercy and all of her friends, and they really shine in this one. Sam's journey alone had me emotionally gripped, and I would have been happy if that had been the whole book. But there's so much more going on, and it all serves to build each individual into a more realistic, unique character.

I loved the way Briggs managed to portray Mercy and Adam's relationship in this one. Normally, I complain about mystical mate bonds, but that's because I've seen them written very poorly. Usually mate bonds are used as a substitute for relationship building. In this book. Briggs uses it as an obstacle, as well as an advantage: something neither good nor bad that has to be acknowledged and dealt with. The bond can be imperfect, become damaged, or even be broken. Mercy has to keep making the choice to hold onto and go back to that bond. This makes for a kind of romance that you just can't get with insta-love plots.

Critical Comments:

I love that Brigg's puts character growth first, but sometimes I wish she'd spend just a few more pages on world building. Seriously, just a page here or there to help us make some connections between the events of the book and the big picture of the world.

The villain in this one is a bit unimaginative. She might as well have stood up and said "Hi, I'm the current obstacle to your happy ending. Take a shot at killing me. G'ahead." For someone so great at building interesting characters, Briggs seems rather bad at writing interesting villains.

All things considered, however, I'm very happy with this book. I'm happy with this series again, and I look forward to reading the next one. If you haven't tried this series yet, Moon Called is the first one--give it a try. This series has it's ups and downs, but it's one I still recommend. 4 stars for Silver Borne.

Thursday, December 29, 2011