It is always challenging to review a book in a series, particularly in this, my favorite kind of series, in which each book contains a complete story, while the characters change and grow from book to book. Therefore, I will keep this review short and vague.
Mercy Thompson is an auto mechanic as well as a shapeshifter who can, thanks to the heritage of her native American father, change into a coyote. Unlike the werewolves, with whom she grew up, Mercy is herself when she's a coyote - it's just a different form that she can assume. The werewolves, however, are a more complex melding of two distinct creatures, which poses some fascinating questions and issues.
In this fifth installment of the series, Mercy gets a phone call about a book an acquaintance loaned her, a book that with information about the fae. She had been woefully unprepared for her encounters with the fae in a previous adventure, and she felt that learning all she could about the mysterious and powerful fae would be helpful. When the fae who loaned her the book mysteriously disappears, Mercy discovers that whoever is responsible for his disappearance is looking for the book - and will resort to any means possible to get to it.
Mercy's search for the missing fae is complicated by personal issues, one romantic, and one involving her very good friend Sam. The three storylines twine together into one action-packed, emotional plot that involves mystery, romance and adventure.
Mercy is one of my all-time favorite heroines of contemporary fiction, up there with Tiffany Aching, Jilly Coppercorn, Eve Dallas and Mary Russell. If you enjoy urban/paranormal fantasy or mysteries with fantastical elements, this is an excellent choice. And if you are curious about all the paranormal/urban fantasy hype but feel so inundated with choices that you don't know where to start, this series is a great starting point (but please, start with the first book, Moon Called).
These books combine so many of my favorite fictional elements: intriguing mystery, non-formulaic romance filled with sexual tension as well as humor, characters who are complex and believable, antagonists that are not just out to be "bad guys" but have actual (if not laudable) motives for their actions, skillful world-building, and endings that are satisfying but leave the reader very much looking forward to the next book in the series.
Books in the Mercy Thompson series:
1. Moon Called
2. Blood Bound
3. Iron Kissed
4. Bone Crossed
Silver Borne (#5 in the Mercy Thompson series) by Patricia Briggs (Ace Books 2010)
Also reviewed at:
All Booked Up: "I just couldn't put the book down. It certainly held up to the anticipation that waiting brought."
Angieville: "There are no stagnant elements, no pointless meanderings, no annoying red herrings. There is only adrenaline and affection and a burning desire to find out what happens."
The Book Smugglers: "What else can I say about Mercy Thompson? She remains my favorite Urban Fantasy heroine because of her savvy, her acceptance of her place in the power hierarchy of Tri-Cities, and her awesome, unparalleled level-headedness."
The Written World: "I consider Mercy Thompson one of my favourite literary characters, so I am sad that now that I have finished this book I have to wait a year for another one."