Book Review: Breaking Silence by Mercedes Lackey & Cody Martin

February 14, 2020 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Breaking Silence by Mercedes Lackey & Cody Martin

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Breaking Silence by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
on February 4, 2020
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill, Victories, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Closer to Home, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest, Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar, A Scandal in Battersea, The Hills Have Spies, The Bartered Brides, Dragon's Teeth, Eye Spy

Tenth in the Serrated Edge paranormal fantasy series for Young Adult readers and revolving around elves and magic. The focus is on the village of Silence, Maine, and Staci Kerry and her friends.

My Take

Breaking Silence is an inspiring story for young adults, as Staci notes the difference between her typical teen life in New York with its emphasis on cellphones, Facebook, and obsessions with celebrity and fashion with her new life of adventure in the woods, learning magic, and interacting with (actual!) people.

I love that Staci tells the truth no matter how much it might reflect badly on her. I also like that Tim will admit his own mistakes. Both are good examples for readers.

It’s not only Staci but her mom who learns as well; it’s always best to know the truth. It’s so much easier to cope! It’s certainly a lesson Staci has absorbed from her stepmother’s machinations and lessens her guilt in how she manipulates her guilty dad. Yeah, he’s not an impressive character, especially when Staci wonders about his decision to entrust his daughter to a “Freaky Drug Crazed Alcoholic”! I mean, hmmm…lol.

David mentions his dad running a resurrection spell…and yet Staci doesn’t catch this, so I have less “respect” for Staci’s power of observations and not much sympathy with her anger over David “hiding his background”. I certainly think David has a good excuse for his actions. The swift change in David’s employment bothers me. What was the point in David’s first job? Why not have him simply be someone about town that Staci runs into?

The bit about the God-botherers was “interesting”, but only served to show up how the nasty Unseleighe were creating problems in Silence. I suspect this chunk served to extend the number of pages.

The elves who show up to represent Fairgrove certainly have their noses in the air, but it seems that Keighvin Silverhair’s policies may be changing.

Lackey/Martin do provide, finally, a background on Erdman, and it was not at all what I was expecting. In any way. Good thing Staci is open to possibilities!

While the perspective is primarily from Staci’s third person POV, Lackey/Martin use a global subjective third person point-of-view, as we gain bits and pieces of the thoughts of others — Erdman in particular. It does bring in an unexpected perspective from Erdman as well as Staci’s interpretation of what Erdman has experienced.

Primarily action-packed, Breaking Silence is also character-driven with a reasonable pace. My one objection is that the writing is too simple and that Lackey/Martin weren’t paying attention.

The Story

Sure, the economy in the village of Silence is turning around with new industries hiring in the area. The Blackthorns are gone. Mostly. And Staci is learning every day how to work magic with Tim, Seth, and Wanda’s help.

And still, there is a darkness rising over the town.

The Characters

Staci “Padawan” Kerry is a teen still in high school who learned she has magic abilities. Paula Kerry, a waitress at the low-rent Rusty Bucket bar, is her part-elf mother — which explains her craziness and need to hide in alcohol. Brenda is the dissembling stepmother who went to the dark side once she hooked Staci’s father, a lawyer in New York City.

Tim “Kai Lung” Carter is a powerful human mage, a bookseller, and Staci’s mentor. Seth “Ranger” and Wanda “Elvira” are the human friends Staci made in Silence, 9. Wanda has become very good with the bow and arrow and knives; Seth is amazing with building traps and hiding them.

Beth “Nixie” is a waitress at the diner and one of Staci’s first encounters in Silence. Riley and Jake have left town with their families.

Silence, Maine, is…
…a quiet fishing village that had been dying. Worse it had been without the amenities a teen requires. Frank owns the diner; Ray is the new cook; David Parish is the new dishwasher and busser. Melanie Andrews and Heather Marks are fellow students not known for their desire to read. Janis Davidson is the mayor’s secretary.

The Blood of Jesus World Missionary Church is the bad church of the two in Silence. Preacher Kenny is a misled bigot. Bud Brady was one of Kenny’s cures.

Dylan was an elf who disagreed with the policy of Fairgrove. He also was the first to show Staci how to use magic…before he betrayed her. Metalhead is/was his elvensteed.

Fairgrove Industries of Elfhame Fairgrove is…
…based in Georgia and led by Keighvin Silverhair. David’s dad is a self-trained, hotshot mechanic and a human. The elves in charge of the Fairgrove branch in Silence are the snotty Ian Ironoak of Elfhame Silversun and Caradoc and Branwen ap Daffyd ap Gwalchmai, who are brother and sister. Simon is a lizard who welds. Melody is a mermaid with an instinctive understanding of laminar flow. Tannin Drake and Sam are human allies. Corendil “Cory” and Mari are secretly involved. Adamante is an elvensteed who had known Tim in the past.

The Blackthorns were…
…the preeminent family in Silence, one of dark elves who thrived on misery. Sean had been the heir with grandiose ideas. Morrigan Blackthorn is a cousin with an interest in Goth and is a friend of Wanda’s. She’s also the only remaining Blackthorn and heir to it all.

Unseleighe who were left behind…
…include Aufhocker, Drude, the Alver, a fossegrim, Dubhthach is a leprechaun, a pooka, Leannan Sidhe, and many svartalfar (black elves). Erdman “Man of Earth” is a golem.

The Cover and Title

The cover is cold in its blacks and blues. The black is in the silhouettes of weeds, trees, and a monstrous spiky beast on the left, covering the sign welcoming you to Silence. The blues are the sky and lightnings flashing everywhere, barely allowing you to see the car, its headlights bright, coming down the road. At the very top is the authors’ names in white with a speedy-looking title in a cold gold below. A saw-toothed badge in black frames an info blurb in a pale blue-purple. Below this is a testimonial in white. Centered at the very bottom is the series info in a debossed gold.

The title refers to the Blackthorn family, for it is their destruction that is Breaking Silence.

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