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Silence Fallen: Mercy Thompson Book 10 Paperback
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Sidebar: I would love to read a PNR or urban fantasy series where the main female character is never once kidnapped or sexually assaulted. (I'm totes okay with physical assault, because violence is part of the genre...sexual violence doesn't need to be.)
ANYWAY - the best part of this book? Mercy is a self-rescuing kidnap victim. (The other best part? Bran. I love me some Bran. He is terrifying and awesome, which is exactly as he should be.)
Oh wait! There's a third best part! Larry!
[Elizaveta:] "The blue room should be adequate for the goblin king.
"We don't call ourselves that," said Larry dryly. "That was just that one movie. I mean, 'Larry the Goblin King' just doesn't have the right ring to it."
Ooooh - and Stefan and Marsilia! I do enjoy the vampires (Wulf gives me the wig, though.)
One of the interesting parts of this book was that the chapters were split up between Adam and Mercy chapters, and that made the timeline...a bit wibbly-wobbly (Ms. Briggs is a Whovian; there's a Matt Smith in the book who is definitely not the Doctor). I enjoyed it immensely and thought Ms. Briggs did an exceptional job with that. It was also fun that most of the action took place in Europe - particularly Prague.
It's hard to keep a series and characters interesting and fresh, and Patricia Briggs has managed to continue to do so. This was more than worth the time and money spent for the latest in the series and I'm definitely looking forward to Mercy's next adventure.
In a way Silence Fallen marks a departure from previous installments in several ways. First of all the action is transported from its usual setting of the Pacific Northwest to Europe and takes place almost exclusively in the Northerly region of Italy (from the descriptions either Tuscany or Lombardy) on the one hand and also in Prague, both places imbued with a rich and long history, which also partly feeds into the plot.
Also, practically from the start until the very end Mercy and Adam are separated, and the story is told with a changing POV, following both her and him, but not always in a chronological manner.
On a surface level it appears a pretty simple and straight-forward story: Mercy is abducted (and in the process almost killed) by a European crazy-ass Vampire (Iacopo Bonarata, also going by the more anglisized Joseph) who wants to get his hands on the most powerful person in the territory (which initially, considering Mercy’s relative fragility and physical weakness, might be viewed as a gross misrepresentation), in order to have bargaining power. Naturally Adam, with the help of friends and allies goes after her, but when he arrives in Italy, Mercy has already succeeded in escaping by herself, because her adversaries have underestimated her, as usual. Going forward Adam and Mercy’s abductor find themselves in a race of who can get to Mercy first, while having to do a political tap-dance (not exactly Adam’s forte), while Mercy gets involved in supernatural business in Prague while waiting to be retrieved by Adam and at the same time evading Joseph’s goons.
Although this story is disguised as “simple” Urban Fantasy novel, I felt that on a meta-level it incorporated philosophical ruminations on a variety of topics. I don’t want to go into a discussion of whether that is what the author intended (I don’t know), but it is the way this book spoke to me and in the following I will try to give some examples of where I found this to be the case.
Reflections on the nature of power: when Iacopo first makes his inquiries into who is the most powerful person/creature in the Tri-Cities, Washington area he is told it’s Mercy. After he captures her quite easily and realizes that she has neither physical strength nor any sort of powerful magic he comes to to conclusion that he has been had by his informant, because for him power means physical strength and/or strong magic. He does not realize that Mercy’s strength is different: it is in the people she cares about and who care about her and who therefore are willing to go to war for her, it’s in her resilience, in the fact that she always manages to survive, and in the quickness of her mind that lets her outwit and evade opponents stronger than her. So finally he has to learn the lesson that power does not necessarily equal brute strength or strong magic (although she has quite a bit of that, too).
Allegory of Good Government, Bad Government: there is a famous fresco by Lorenzetti in the town hall of Siena, depicting good government as opposed to bad government. Siena was one of the cultural and political centers of the Renaissance in Italy, vying for preeminence with Florence, the other great Renaissance city. It’s during this time that Iacopo Bonarata (whose name reminds me of that of famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti) grew up and naturally he would have been familiar with Machiavelli’s famous treatise on how to best govern. So he spins his intrigues and plots within plots and plays off enemies and followers alike against each other. As his style of leadership is contrasted against that of Adam (they even have a discussion about it) it does not appear in a favorable light. The question of governance is not only examined by contrasting Joseph and Adam, but is taken up at other points in the novel, for instance when Kocourek, the (former) Master Vampire of Prague protects his human servants, by putting himself between them and potential harm.
Juxtaposition of a naturalistic, Judeo-Christian worldview and an animistic belief-system associated with traditional cultures around the world. This is played out in the subplot with the Golem of Prague: only after acknowledging that the Golem, a being created out of inanimate matter (clay) is in fact animated by a spirit and thus “alive”, is Mercy able to defeat it.
Last but not least Briggs also employs a highly reflective device: metafiction or autoreferentiality, which is the literary equivalent of what in theater is called “breaking the fourth wall”, when – during a play - actors address the audience directly, thus breaking the perceived boundary between the world of the play and the world outside.
Each chapter starts with a sentence or two that seem outside the flow of the narrative and in a way address the reader more directly. In the beginning I was kind of dubious about this device as I was afraid it would disrupt the narrative having the boundary between the world of the book and the outside world blurred. I needn’t have worried as it had rather the opposite effect; I felt even more intimately drawn into the story.
So 5 stars for a fast-paced and entertaining UF read that also displays reflective depth.
Top reviews from other countries
The story is split between what is happening to Mercy and what is happening with her rescuers. The problem this gives the author is one of timing as we need to be in two places at once. Patricia Briggs has solved this by telling first Mercys part of the story, then we go back and see the same time period from Adams point of view. For this to work each chapter has to be headed up with the time period we are in along with some comments from Mercy..
I found this ok to read and got into the swing of it really fast. I have read other reviews where this is not a popular device. I thought it was brilliant. One of the previous books where Mercy was separated from the pack lacked something for me because it was so long before we had any input from them. This worked better for me.
I think this series is getting better with every book now. I have to say the series as a whole is well worth reading but this book is not the place to start because of the complex back story and the unusual way of telling the story.
This is the first time that I have heard a book in this series where there are two narrators and it suited this book well. I guess that is why they chose to do it so. It made listening to the book very pleasant indeed! It added a little bit of a different flavour to the story than I would have had if I just read the book. I also like the fact that the author added a little twist in the end! That made the plot of this book the best yet in this series. And then there is the fact that I am an old die hard fan of these books already so I might just end up fan raving in this review... great world building.... great characters.... compelling story telling quality....
Can't wait for next year and get my hands on the next book!
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4.5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 5
Plot = 5
Narration = 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
The author takes the story to Europe where Mercy is kidnapped and separated from her pack and especially from her husband Adam. The author then follows both Mercy's story and Adam's as he negotiates werewolf politics and tries to find his wife. The split narrative which allows us to see things from Adam's point of view and not just Mercy's is a definite development in the series and I have enjoyed the last couple of books which have done this. I thought that the two streams went together well with a lot of tension as one person knew something which the other didn't.
I liked the change of venue too and thought that the author was inventive in how she used the Eastern European setting and how she developed a new history for the werewolves who come from that area.
This book finally confirms something that we have seen coming for a few volumes and shows us that Mercy is not exactly who we thought she was. I liked this too and it opens out ideas for future stories. I do like a series that expands and develops its stories and characters as you go along. This is why I would not recommend this as your first Mercy Thompson book. You will enjoy it, of course, but you will miss some of the subtleties - start with the first book and work your way towards this tenth volume.
This is good quality urban fantasy with a good, fast paced plot and lots to enjoy. The alternative world is well drawn and believable and this book fits in well with the rest of the series.
There is hardly any time to relax on your seat with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, depending of the time of the day, when Mercy gets kidnaped by a very scary vampire. From then on, it feels like an Indiana Jones movie. Mercy faces evil vampires, frustrated ghosts, a dead Golum and a not so friendly Alpha.
Our favourite coyote has to use all of her resources while she tries to find her way back to her mate, Adam. Meanwhile, the Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack builds a team of helpers to rescue his wife, reminding me of Team A from the eighties TV Show.
Apart from the fact that the book is full of action with a very strong plot and a brave heroine who is so noble she can’t stop helping even the most scary supernatural beings in the world, the thing that makes this novel so different from the others is the fact that you can hear Adam’s voice too.
The chapters alternate between Adam and Mercy’s point of view, giving the reader a better knowledge of the cascade of events that leads to an startling climax and an astonishing end.
One of my favourite books of the series so far, Silence Fallen ticks all the boxes for me. And the end it is just such a bonus…