Reviewed by: Margaret & Jannelle
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: Because this is a re-read review, it assumes you’re familiar with this and other books in the series. If you haven’t started the Mercy Thompson series, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Moon Called.
Margaret: I first read Silver Borne almost five years ago, so my recall of the story was a little spotty. I remembered that the plot involved the Fae trying to get something back from Mercy but since she has a tendency to accidentally collect artifacts, I wasn’t sure what it was. I remembered the struggles for dominance within the pack and Adam’s challenge fight when he was already injured. But what stayed with me most was the image of Samuel hiding in a closet and barely able to function.
Jannelle: Unlike Margaret, I’m picking up Silver Borne for the first time after just having read Bone Crossed.
M: At this point in the series, Mercy and Adam are already mated but are still dating. Their bond is weak and inconsistent, which feeds Mercy’s fears and PTSD.
She’s also recently been brought into the pack and doesn’t understand how that bond works. Someone is able to use the pack bonds to try to sabotage her relationship with Adam. This insecure Mercy felt odd to me. That’s not at all how I remember her. Insecure Adam felt even more wrong. But I was struck by how well he understood her and the way that his acceptance made her stronger.
J: I was also unfamiliar and uncomfortable with a more subdued Mercy. Don’t get me wrong, it feels as if she is starting to come back to her natural (controversial) self after the traumatic events of Iron Kissed, but there was some hesitancy in her character that wasn’t there previously—and of course, all to be expected.
M: I enjoyed the pack politics in Silver Borne, as well as the insight into the roles and personalities of the members. I think this is the book that made me love Ben. Samuel’s story deals with a different aspect of life in the pack. Very old werewolves sometimes lose the will to live a human life and become ruled by their wolves. They are executed before they become violent. When it happens to Samuel, Mercy trusts the wolf, Sam, to stay in control. She defends him to both Adam and Bran and buys him time to find himself again.
J: The pack politics were an integral part of Silver Borne and have been one of my favorite aspects of the series since the developments in Iron Kissed. Since Mercy has claimed her place as Adam’s mate, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that not everyone is happy with this new official change.
There was also the inevitability of Sam’s depression. Sam has been fighting it since we meet him in Moon Called. I was curiously waiting to see when his control would slip since Sam came clean with Mercy about his time away from the pack. I don’t think we are mentioning anything fans of the series aren’t aware of when we talk about Sam’s introspective and declining behavior.
M: What really brings Samuel back is being reunited with Ariana, the Fae who created the Silver Borne, an ancient artifact said to transfer power from one Fae to another. A fairy queen thinks that Mercy has it and is willing to kill her to get it. When her assassination attempts fail, she kidnaps Gabriel, Mercy’s assistant at the garage. His rescue leaves Mercy prisoner in the fairy queen’s realm (which might be preferable to the hospital, where she winds up at the end of most of the books).
The Queen breaks Mercy’s bond with Adam, making it impossible for the wolves to find her. But when Mercy is able to re-form that bond on her own terms, it’s much stronger than before. She gets a little help from Bran and I love to see him act as Mercy’s Yoda. (Most of the wolves probably think of him more as Vader.)
What impressed me is how well the werewolf story and the Fae story blend together. I think that one of Briggs’s greatest strengths is her ability to subtly weave storylines together. The pack issues don’t actually have anything to do with the Fae, but they each affect Mercy and her ability to deal with the other. If I have anything negative to say, it’s just that the conflict with the Queen ended rather abruptly. (I don’t remember Mercy shooting people as much as she does in this book.) But the ending, Mercy re-united with Adam, made me happy.
J: Like Margaret, I also loved reading the interweaving storylines. I think this is something that Briggs does extremely well–the many moving parts in every installment of the series really creates a fast-moving plot and a constantly evolving storyline.
I also felt like the plot resolution was too quick. Compared to the edgy realistic qualities in other books, this one felt too happily ever after. While I love a good HEA, that’s just not what I expect from a Mercy Thompson novel.
Mercy and Adam’s relationship also feels like it evolves tremendously in this installment. Mercy’s continued PTSD after the horrific incidents in Iron Kissed make it difficult for her relationship with Adam. The beauty of it is that Adam understands her and is ever patient and I honestly couldn’t help falling more in love with his character in Silver Borne. He’s mega swoon-worthy.
M: If you’re going to re-read the series, I would recommend including the short stories. The prequel story Silver in Shifting Shadows goes into more detail about Samuel and Arianna’s history. That anthology also has an outtake from Ariana’s POV that takes place near the end of Silver Borne and shows the beginning of their current relationship.
J: While I didn’t read the novellas preceding Silver Borne, I’m going to pick them up and most likely re-read this installment. I think that Ariana’s story would definitely have been a benefit before starting Silver Borne, as I still don’t know how I feel about her (and her relationship with Sam).
Margaret’s Final Thoughts: I liked getting to revisit the story behind how Ariana came in to Mercy’s life—she becomes Mercy’s go-to expert on Fae magic in the later books. I’m still a little sad that it also made Samuel a much smaller part of the series since I always liked him, but I’m glad that he seems to have gotten his HEA.
Most of all, this re-read reminded me of just how far Mercy and Adam have come since the beginning of the series. I tend to think of them as a single unit since they have been one for the last five years (and four books). I forget how hard they had to work to get there and how hard Mercy fought it at first. And it’s reminded how much I love Mercy’s world and want to read the series all over again from the beginning.
Jannelle’s Final Thoughts: Overall, Silver Borne was another fantastic addition to the Mercy Thompson series. After Iron Kissed, this was my second favorite installment in the series and as I’m not up to date as everyone else seems to be, I’m looking forward to picking up book six, River Marked. As always, the fast-paced plot was a win for me along with Briggs’ genius at interweaving storylines across multiple books in the series.
Sexual content: sex, references to rape, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder concerning rape
We have two copies of Silver Borne for lucky VBC readers. Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. This contest is open to U.S. addresses only.