Prancing in Prague || Silence Fallen Review

Initial Thoughts: 

I mean…I reread Mercy Thompson stories so often, particularly little snippets, but holy hell, this one was definitely something I would reread again DIRECTLY AFTER I just finished it. So. Damn. Good. And omg. SO MUCH ADAM AND MERCY POV.

Sigh. When can I expect the next book?


SILENCE FALLEN

by Patricia Briggs
Ace Books, March 2017
Urban fantasy, adult
Rated: 5 / 5 cookies

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

*As this is book #10 of the Mercy Thompson series, expect spoilers.*

You know, I read the title of the book when it was first released to the public and I did think briefly: “Hah, like the Silence in Doctor Who? Is this a play of words based off that? ‘Cause that would be awesome!”

And, you know, a lot of DW references do come up in the book, and the whole Matt Smith reveal thing was just…I cannot with Briggs sometimes.

“Silence will fall!”

So normally I wouldn’t be reviewing a book that’s part of a super-long series. Normally this would have just been another mini-review with slight squee-recaps of what I absolutely enjoyed of the Mercy Thompson book. And, ya know, so far, I’ve been loving this series more and more after every installment.

So what makes Silence Fallen any different?

Prague, for one. I must have gushed about the fact that I love, love, love Prague. It was just such a quaint little city, and I was blessed to have been able to visit it for a couple days when I was on vacation a while back. (I even wrote about it in terms of visiting it through the eyes of Karou!) So when I caught wind that the next Mercy Thompson book was going to send Mercy over to Prague as the next destination, I was over the moon with excitement. And once I opened the book and saw the map of the places I traversed, I was done for. The setting was already one thing I was going to love about this book.

Dual POVs. One of the things I had extremely enjoyed from Frost Burned was Adam’s point of view. I know, I know, it’s a Mercy Thompson novel, and Mercy narrates the story in first person. However, I thought adding Adam into Frost Burned was rather brilliant, and I loved seeing his side of the story just as much as I loved seeing Mercy’s. But while Mercy largely dominated the narration in FB–and still does for the most part–the narration in Silence Fallen was a healthy dose of Mercy and Adam. Honestly, I’ve shipped them since book 1. But egads, they truly are mated, considering both of them have death wishes looming over their horizon. I also sort of giggled at the end of the book, because I swear I saw their reunion more along the lines of:

“Honey, I’m home! Guess what? I obliterated a powerful vampire. With plates. What did you do today?”

“I laid siege to a city while I was stuck naked in a cage.”

“That’s my mate! I love you.”

“I love you!”

*hugs*

Okay, so that’s rather simplified, but if they were a normal couple, they would totally be discussing their exploits over the drone of the TV while they’re sharing a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Hell, I’m pretty sure that is exactly what they did when they got back to their house. Only they’re not so normal, being a werewolf and a coyote. Um.

There was also one other thing I enjoyed about having an Adam and Mercy POV, and that’s from the diverging plot. Once the overall kidnapping portion was over with, the plot no longer stayed in Milan. Adam had his own set of troubles to deal with while Mercy ended up surviving on her own through another plot. Yes, both their POVs started to converge once more, and yes, those mother-effing vampires were largely behind most of the story, but I absolutely loved that Adam and Mercy had to find their own way without each other’s backs.

I’ve seen Mercy deal with problems without Adam in the early books, but I took for granted that she can handle herself even without the brunt of the Columbia Basin and Aspen Creek packs protecting her from the sidelines. And I do love the combination of Adam and Mercy working through a problem together (like they did in the previous book), but them being forced apart is just as good. It really does give Adam a chance to shine, and I love him even more now!

The vampire dynamics. I will admit, I have little interest in the vampires of the Mercy Thompson books, and I found fae-related stories more riveting. HOWEVER, on occasion, the vampire-centric books do have awesome stories; Bone Crossed and Silence Fallen are prime examples. (I also did love Blood Bound.) I did love reading about Marsilia’s old haunting grounds, and the Lord of Night finally made his appearance, which is fabulous. Not so very fabulous was Bonarata’s crazy obsession with female werewolves. I would have done what Honey did, too, had I been there in person to see what the Lord of Night did.

And, um, can I have a spinoff of Bran stories, too? I just…there’s always so much the werewolves and vampires and every other supernatural creature say about Bran, and I just want more stories of him, because he’s so effing badass! I mean, I could also ask for Elizaveta spinoff stories, but I’m pretty sure Briggs is already working on a witch-wolf spinoff in the same universe, so I’m fine with that.

5 out of 5 cookies! I could seriously reread this again now, just to see how I completely missed that reveal at the very end. Kudos, Briggs, for another delightful book in the Mercy Thompson universe.

Silence Fallen counts as #8 of my Flights of Fantasy Challenge!


Have you read this book? What did you think?

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Mini-Reviews: Dead Heat, Fire Touched

This is me polishing off the last set of mini-reviews that I meant to do for May. Yay catching up!

I went on a Briggs-fest a couple weeks back, and now I’ve completely run out of Mercy Thompson-universe books. Which means I’m going to have to find another light urban fantasy to start reading sometime soon, because at the moment my reading list consists of books that are taking me forever to finish (not that they’re necessarily horrid books. A bunch of them are pretty good…just rather lengthy *coughDAMNYOUBRANDONSANDERSONcough*).

Anyway, I had initially planned to do a full review of Fire Touched but realized that it wasn’t so feasible, as most of it will end up with me trying to rehash what’s happened in the last eight or so books so far. Also, it would mean having to go through what’s been happening in the Alpha and Omega series as well, since that’s really where all the fae troubles began (starting in Fair Game). That all said, I did love Fire Touched, and Dead Heat was terribly good as a follow-up of Fair Game. All the same, a lot of shmat go down in Fire Touched, and the culmination brought about such a good story. I pretty much spent most of my time reading it sending messages of “OMFG THAT HAPPENED” to my friend, who’d read the book before I did. Craziness, guys.

Note: It’s probably best to read Dead Heat before Fire Touched, because if you’re like me and read them out of order, there is the potential to get a bit confused–and spoiled–to the events that happened prior to its corresponding novels.

Anyway, the reviews!

deadheat

firetouched

As I said, I’ve kind of run out of Mercy Thompson to read. Which means I’m going to need another urban fantasy to help stem my sheer need for the next MT and A&O installment.

Do YOU have any light and maybe slightly steamy urban fantasy recommendations?

Mini-Reviews: Fair Game, Magi

Talk about rating two different types of stories on the opposite sides of the rating spectrum! I’m slowly catching up to my Patricia Briggs addiction, hence me jumping into book 3 of the Alpha and Omega series. I was quite taken by it, may I add. I also just finished the last set of manga I’d borrowed from the library, though unlike the ones I’d read previously, this one I wasn’t so enamored with and could probably spend all day ranting about. But I’ll just let my mini-reviews speak for themselves.

fairgame

magi

ARC Review: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson fans will want this book for two main reasons:

  1. Damn, that is one mighty fine cover.
  2. Short stories in Mercyverse including stories that haven’t been put in anthologies yet whaaaaat??!@!!omg111!!!!

A little disclaimer: This has only been my second exposure to the Mercy Thompson universe, and previous to this, the only actual novel of this universe that I’d read was Moon Called. But while I am still just starting my journey on the Patricia Briggs bandwagon, I will say now that I thought the anthology was superb.

I read all 400 pages of Shifting Shadows and enjoyed each story. Wait, what’s that, you say? “But there are over 460 pages’ worth of stories in Shifting Shadows!” Yes, I am aware of that. While I was open to some spoilery things in later books, I drew the line somewhere. It’s a really thin line, but I intend to go back to these stories once I’ve read more of the actual series, so there’s that.


SHIFTING SHADOWS

by Patricia Briggs
Ace Hardcover, September 2014
Urban fantasy

shiftingshadowsShifting Shadows is a collection of 10 short stories and 2 “outtakes” revolving around the urban fantasy world of Mercy Thompson. In the collection, readers will find several stories of secondary characters that show up within the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series (in various books), as well as stories about well-loved recurring characters. You even get one short story with Mercy herself (“Hollow”). It’s really easy to talk endlessly about each short story that I’ve read, and goodness knows I took copious notes while I read them (which were mostly for my benefit). In any case, to save you from what is already going to be an overlong writeup: you can check out what Briggs has to say about the contents of Shifting Shadows here.

My Thoughts (mostly spoiler-free to a degree)

Since all of the stories are relatively new to me, I’m just going to go ahead and mention them in the order they appear in the book.

“Silver” is meant to be a romantic tragedy and an origin story of Samuel and Bran, though mostly of Samuel, as well as Samuel and Ariana. I swear there were onions hidden in the pages, because I might have teared a bit reading the short. If I didn’t already adore Bran and Sam when I read of them in Moon Called, this story would have clinched their characters for me. Also, Bran is frelling badass.

“Fairy Gifts” is a Montana-based story about a vampire returning to his hometown after receiving a plea from a fae. It was short and sweet, though it was a little more difficult to empathize with the character, since I’m not particularly keen on Mercyverse vampires as of yet.

“Gray” is another vampire story, this time taking place in Chicago, where Elyna returns to her husband’s home. This one I liked better than “Fairy Gifts,” but I think that’s a mixture of the fact that there’s a female vampire who kicks ass and the presence of a ghost watching her back. Kind of romantic, I think.

“Seeing Eye” is fantastic. After the introduction of Elizaveta Arkadyevna in Moon Called, I’ve been curious as to the inner workings of the witches in Mercyverse. Getting to read about a blind white witch was cool, but putting a werewolf in there as well was even better. Talk about a blind woman with her guide dog–or, in this case, wolf.

“Alpha and Omega” is certainly the start of what I think will be a beautiful series–and in conjunction, a beautiful series relationship. This was a story where I sat back and thought: “Dammit, this is another Briggs series I have to pick up, isn’t it?” I can see why it could easily be a favorite short story among fans, because it was one of mine in this collection. Also, apparently Briggs describes the Anna/Charles relationship as “sweet”, not “steamy.” Um. I’m not sure I agree. This short story was plenty steamy to me.

“The Star of David” is a cute Christmas short story about reuniting with loved ones. David Christiansen was talked of and eventually became kind of important in Moon Called, so a short story with him during the events after with his estranged daughter was nice.

homecoming

Mercy and the wolf pack are SO badass.

“Roses in Winter” is not particularly endearing for me, because I’ve yet to read about any of the characters in the short besides Bran and Charles. Asil’s role as an old wolf waiting to die is interesting, though, and I’m thinking Kara’s got one hell of a sad, sad backstory.

“In Red, With Pearls” features my favorite gay werewolf! Okay, probably the only gay werewolf in the series, but I don’t care. Warren’s awesome, and so’s his main squeeze. This short plays out as a mini-detective story, and includes zombies and witches. Yeah.

“Redemption” features Ben, who plays a slight role in Moon Called. I admit I haven’t warmed up to Ben just yet, though this particular short story did leave me quite amused.

“Hollow” is Mercy-related, and the two outtakes happen to be Sam and Adam’s points of view (which, IMO, is AWESOME), respectively. Again, I will have to read them at a later time, because they occur way too far into the series and I do have some sort of spoiler-line that I don’t want to cross.

Mercyverse Reading Guide

At this juncture, I would say: “Go get this collection when it comes out!” as well as: “Go read the Mercy Thompson series!” But don’t do what I did and read one book and then start on the short stories unless you are bracing yourself for a few spoilers (and trust me, you will get them). Some of the stories take place before/during/a little after Moon Called, but a number of them do not. In fact, some of the characters in the collection don’t even show up until later books. So below, I’ve included a guide into optimizing your reading of Mercyverse.

Chronological Order (as of 2014)

  • Pre-Series
    • “Silver” (Shifting Shadows)
    • Homecoming (Mercy Thompson Graphic Novel)
    • “Gray” (Shifting Shadows)
    • “Fairy Gifts” (Shifting Shadows)
    • “Seeing Eye” (Shifting Shadows)
  • Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)
    • “Alpha and Omega” (Shifting Shadows)
  • Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1)
  • Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2)
    • “The Star of David” (Shifting Shadows)
  • Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2)
  • Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)
  • Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, #4)
    • “Roses in Winter” (Shifting Shadows)
  • Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, #5)
    • “Outtake – Sam” (Shifting Shadows)
    • “In Red, With Pearls” (Shifting Shadows)
  • River Marked (Mercy Thompson, #6)
  • Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3)
  • Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)
    • “Redemption” (Shifting Shadows)
  • Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega, #4)
  • Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)
    • “Outtake – Adam” (Shifting Shadows)
    • “Hollow” (Shifting Shadows)

That being said, I don’t plan to read the Alpha & Omega series until I’ve at least finished 3-4 of the Mercy Thompson books, and some short stories I’d recommend reading before certain books. “Silver” can be read at any time, but it might be better to read it right before Silver Borne (which practically continues “Silver”). “Seeing Eye” occurs a year before Moon Called, but might be better read, context-wise, before or after Hunting Ground. It’s really dependent on whether you care about character familiarity over chronology, or vice versa. My general opinion is to at least start Moon Called before anything else to test out whether or not you like the Mercyverse to begin with. And I suppose one could skip out on the Alpha & Omega series altogether and still get the gist of the stories, but hey, got to cover the bases, right?

Some final notes:

5 out of 5 Goodreads stars!

TTT: For Those Who’ve Never Read About Werewolves

ttt

For more info on Top Ten Tuesday and The Broke and the Bookish, click here.

I’ve been on a werewolf-high the past few books. I don’t know if it’s because I’m subconsciously picking up books with werewolves in it, or if it’s just a coincidence that books involving lycanthropy has been popping up on my reading list. As I’ve told my friend the other day, I’m seriously re-considering my opinion on werewolves in general (wherein my opinion was based on Jacob Black from Twilight and thus not-so-good–though don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed portions of the first two books in Meyer’s series).

So yes, specific type of fantasy/supernaturalness here we go!

Top Ten Books I’d Give to Readers Who Have Never Read About Werewolves

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) – Patricia Briggs
So I actually just started this series last week and finished Moon Called within a few days. I don’t know why it took me so long to get acquainted with Mercedes Thompson and her world, but I’m glad I actually did! Also, Mercy is a were-coyote with an extended family of really awesome werewolves, and two potential love interests that are just Alpha-delicious. (It also came to my attention that the series has a graphic novel adaptation as well! Kyaaaah I want!)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. Rowling
Well, I’d probably recommend starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone of the series, because HP is meant to be started from the very beginning. Still, it’s in PoA that we are introduced to Rowling’s werewolves for the first time. It’s also my favorite book of the series, so of course I was going to recommend it!

Sisters Red – Jackson Pearce
Retold fairy tale in a YA urban fantasy setting? Game on. I wasn’t particularly gung-ho on this because I saw what happened when movies YA-fied Little Red Riding Hood, and I hated it. That said, I enjoyed this book, particularly on how Jackson Pearce personified Red Riding Hood into a sister duo with highly specialized werewolf-fighting skills. Talk about badass.

Fables: Legends in Exile (Fables Vol. 1) – Bill Willingham
This one’s a graphic novel series that focuses on retelling fairy tales. Again, this is also a modern take within an urban environment, though I wouldn’t say this was done in a YA fashion. While the series doesn’t necessarily focus on Bigby Wolf (the werewolf in question), I’d say at least the first several volumes give the badass wolf some storytime.

The Silvered – Tanya Huff
Werewolf romance isn’t new, there’s a whole lot of that in paranormal romances the world around. But I did love this book because it was mostly a focus on a magic system, a rescue mission, and a world of strife. The werewolves have interesting bonds with humans, and their powers aren’t so much a disadvantage but a gift used to its highest potential (unless, of course, you’re someone from the Empire, in which all werewolves are deemed abominations…but that’s a different story).

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) and Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) – Gail Carriger
I recommend both because technically they utilize the same world. I will say, however, that Soulless had more of a focus on the supernatural beings, much more so than E&E would. That said, Gail Carriger writes wonderful supernatural characters. And for those wanting a bit more brevity in their stories (without sacrificing depth), I’d definitely go with either book.

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files #2) – Jim Butcher
Admittedly, I read this story as a graphic novel adaptation by Mark Powers and Chase Conley, not the actual book. The first book in Butcher’s The Dresden Files is actually Storm Front, but while I liked book 1, I actually am more fascinated with the werewolf-on-werewolf crime of Fool Moon. Honestly, I don’t think you really need to read the first book to figure out that Harry Dresden is a wizard, but that’s just me.

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) – Kevin Hearne
Hounded is one of the more hilarious and awesome urban fantasies I’ve come across. Atticus, being a druid, has had several connections with the mystical creatures living in the modern world. In fact, one of his friends is Hal Hauk, who also happens to be his daytime lawyer and occasional sparring partner, Hal being a werewolf and all. I like Hal and his pack, they’re very thorough.

Blood and Chocolate – Annette Curtis Klause
One of my very first werewolf books! I probably would not put this in such high esteem today if I reread it again (it being a YA with an incredibly annoying love triangle), but considering this book practically got me into an argument about the merits of the wolf pack in stories with a friend, I would probably say this story stuck with me for a while.


I’m pretty sure there are other really popular werewolf books out there, and seeing as I’ll probably make quick work (by quick, I mean by the end of the year) of the Mercy Thompson series, feel free to send me werewolf book recommendations if you have any I might try them out! 🙂