Thursday, May 20, 2010

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Silver Borne is the fifth book in the Mercy Thompson series. I have a strong suspicion it's the last--or that it should be the last. I doubt Briggs's publisher is ready for her to stop the series. Hell, even I'm reading them and werewolves bore me solid.

Mercy Thompson isn't a werewolf, of course, which is the only reason I picked up the first book in the series, Moon Called. She's a skinwalker who can turn into a coyote. Her boyfriend's a werewolf, though, and the series is basically all about Mercy coming to terms with being a non-werewolf who's not just part of a werewolf pack, she's the pack leader's mate.

While this book is nominally about a fae artifact that Mercy has borrowed and that some people want to take from her, the artifact is really just a maguffin. The book is really about Mercy finding and accepting her place among the pack. That also happens to be the theme of the previous four books. It's getting a little bit repetitive.

I was glad for the closure this book gave, but I was annoyed at the things that were left out. Mercy transforms into a coyote exactly once in this book, toward the beginning. After that she might as well have been a regular old human. And while the series has tended to have a vampire book followed by a fae book followed by a vampire book, it was pretty glaring to me that the important vampire characters are barely mentioned, and then only in passing--Mercy happens to remark that she hasn't seen Stefan in months. It's an odd way to compartmentalize the various aspects of the world Briggs has built, when every reader knows that mixing things up is way more fun. I'd have loved to see how Stefan dealt with the fairy queen. Instead, not even the werewolves had much of a role.

In fact, no one had much of a role, mostly because, as I said, this was a book about the pack, not about the fae trying to trick Mercy into giving up the maguffin. The big climax was neither. It was mostly told in flashback, in fact, which is infuriating. Most of the book is taken up with arguments, discussions, and a few fights among the werewolves.

The main theme of the series, Mercy having to accept being controlled and losing her autonomy, has always squicked me, and I'm getting less and less tolerant of the ways Briggs shoves it down the reader's throat. It's getting to the point that I sometimes feel like I'm reading a treatise on the pleasures of masochism. Upon reflecting on the entire series as it stands, I see that Mercy Thompson has gone from being a strong, independent, interesting character at the beginning of the series to a wobbly-legged, fearful woman who accepts being subsidiary to her mate and is easily manipulated by others.

So you know what? I don't care if there is another book in the series. I'm done.

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