Haven't done one in a while, but there were a few things about this one that bugged me.
Silence is one of the latest in the SERRAted Edge series, and one co-authored by Mercedes Lackey. Now, I loved the first few in the series, and while most of her books are aimed at younger audiences than I am, I like the stories. She does a good job with making the characters people, and they're good quick lunch reads. However, some of her recent books haven't been as good, and this one is probably the worst of hers that I've read. Granted, it was co-authored, so I have no idea how much of that was her and how much was the other author, but yeah. While the actual premise of the book was good and had potential, it was presented very poorly. Spoilers ahead, as usual. Also, trying something new; added reaction .gifs for the hell of it. Let me know if it's annoying or amusing. ^_^
So, book summary. Actually first, quick summery of the series: Elves are making their way in the modern world by building and racing cars. With magic. Sounds kinda silly, but works surprisingly well for a casual urban fantasy series. This one is about a Teen Girl that gets shipped off to this town in the middle of nowhere on the east coast. And I mean nowhere, the only place to even get a cell signal is on top of a large hill outside town. One amusing thing to me is the length they go through to tell how Teen Girl gets basic dial up so she has some kind of internet connection. I was getting annoyed at it until I realized that this book is aimed at an audience that has probably never had to do without cell phones and has no idea what dial up is. *well, now I feel old. XD* Anyhoo, New York kid shipped of to live with alcoholic mom in a town that is stuck in the 1950s. When she gets there, she does make some friends and finds out that the town is mostly owned by one family that's been in the area for generations and is super rich. She does some settling in, and at one point there's a group thing and the Rich Kid shows up. Walks over to her and invites her over to his party. Randomly. For no discernible reason.
This is where I'm starting to pick up Mary Sue vibes and it starts heading downhill. Not fast, but it's a slow push. She goes, and it's pretty obvious if you know the series to pick up on the fact that this family is really a family of elves that have been living in this area for a long time. As in, they-were-probably-responsible-for-building-the-town long time. Despite the rather blatant wealth/caste difference between them, he's rather nice and does his best to see that she has a good time. And to her credit, when she goes home she DOESN'T dump her friends she met a few days ago for the Rich Kid and his family. Part of that is because she thinks it was a one time thing, you know, bring in the new kid and then make fun behind her back thing. But she also likes her friends and makes sure she doesn't ignore them. Which I felt was a good character trait to put in, so many of these types of books ends up being kid-dumps-real-friends-for-money type of thing, and this one stresses that money doesn't trump friendship.
He invites her back again a few days later, and while there, invites her to stay overnight. At the huge mansion. Invited by the guy she's maybe spent half a day with in total. She accepts. Now, he doesn't try to do anything, doesn't even kiss her. But in a move straight out of Twilight, sneaks into her bedroom and watches her sleep. And she's only mildly upset! Dead serious here. At this point, I'm partly convinced this is an attempt to cash in on Twilight, but I've come this far, might as well see how big the wreck will be. However, as I said before, nothing happens, and she goes home later that day not feeling like anything's wrong. I will point out that he's putting her under a spell, but you don't find out until later, so yeah.
After Teen Girl gets back home, she ends up running into a biker dude she had met earlier. Well,' running into' being he saving her from a Red Cap trying to kill her. Yes, he's also an elf. He tells her she has some elven blood, probably not a lot but a little bit, and she can do magic. Teaches her a couple of charms and she does picks them up quickly. He also tells her he's here to try and stop something bad from happening. Doesn't know what, just knows that something bad's here and he wants to do something about it. He encourages her to accept any more invites from Rich Kid because the family is suspicious, and she ends up accepting a week-long invitation. Yeah, Rich Kid invites her to stay there for a week. Again, barely knows this guy. *headdesk* Now, he does also invite her friends, and while their parents won't let them sleep there, they do show up for several events and he does his best to see that they have a good time. Rather nice, though still creepy. Anyhoo, after getting home after the week, she goes to the bookstore to hang out with her friends. Only one girl is there and when Teen Girl tells her friend about Rich Kid and some what's going on, her friend points out how incredibly creepy this all is. The spell Rich Kid put her under starts to break, and talking with her friend helps her finish breaking it off. I will give her credit, once the spell is off, she's smart enough to realize just how creepy and weird this all is and really starts to get nervous about him. More bad vibes. She then talks to Biker Elf again, learns some more magic to keep it from happening again, and agrees to spy on him some more. The fact that she's picking up magic as fast as she is is kinda annoying to me. Any other books in this series, it takes YEARS to learn how to do what she's doing, so the whole thing kinda left a bad taste. Not going to SAY Mary Sue, but definite Mary Sue overtones!
Anyways, turns out Rich Kid and his family are the bad guys, going to do some nasty magic to create a Super Plague that kills slowly so they can drain off the power from suffering. No surprise there. She and Biker Elf decide to take them out. Biker Elf is rather reluctant to have her helping anymore because it's much more dangerous and actually does try to talk her out it and get her to leave, and she refuses. Mostly because she's pretty much stuck here. They also bring her friends into it, reluctantly on her part, and her friends decide to help. Teenagers, with basic LARP experience wearing chain mail and wielding swords against really old, really well trained evil elves. The hell?? I'm sorry, an afternoon of basic training to augment what you've learned LARPing isn't enough to prepare you for that! Oh, but that's not the best part! At this point, you can tell she's got a huge crush on Biker Elf, he seems to accept that, and they have a brief makeout session. She's 16, dude, stop getting ideas from Twilight!! Well, next evening they crash the mansion armed to the teeth with Cold Iron which really fucks the elves up. They get there, the friends provide distraction while Biker Elf and Teen Girl run up to try and shut down the Gate, which is a huge source of power for Rich Kid's family. Biker Elf fights Rich Kid, and Teen Girl tries to help but of course, doesn't really provide anything but a momentary distraction, getting her arm broken and probably internal injuries in the process. She figures out a way to spike the gate, which explodes, ending the fight. Yay, world saved again, all in a day's work.
And now comes the part that pissed me off the most about this book. Not the fight, which was done fairly well since Cold Iron kinda balances experience when fighting elves so the friends don't actually die during all this. Not even that Teen Girl was the one that closed the Gate. I figured she would and it went down about like I thought it would. Cold Iron, bitches! But afterwards, she's injured pretty bad, and Biker Elf is all "K, thx, bye!".
Are you fucking kidding me??? I get that he doesn't want to get involved with a human again. Totally understand that. But before this, he could tell she's falling in love and he went along with it. If you didn't want to get involved, there was plenty of points to NOT GET INVOLVED. You know, things like being brotherly and not starting a makeout session. *headdesk* That's not the worst part! As she's probably bleeding to death, he doesn't even try to get her to the hospital to save her life, just walks away. Says 'sorry, can't handle getting involved with a human again, too painful', and leaves her to die. Dick. Move. Kinda know why he travels alone now. He's not a hero, he's an asshole that happens to be working with the good guys. Seriously, at least get her medical attention!! If it had be something where she wakes up in the hospital and he says goodbye then, ok, that would've been much more appropriate and I wouldn't have such a bad taste from reading this thing. I could see that happening, espically with knowing what I know about the elves in this reality. Sucks for her, but he lets himself care a bit, which helps him heal a little bit, then moves on like he should, she's learned some good things, grown up a bit, and can look back on that romance fondly instead of feeling abandoned, yadda yadda. Mostly happy ending, but not ending in an epic romance. Not every novel needs that, and while I kinda like ones that do have a good, equal romance, I don't like them being forced. It shouldn't be thrown in just to have romance. That may be a part of why it bugged me in this book. Anyhoo, coming off soapbox, one of her friends finds her and saves her. He's actually the bookstore owner, who gave up on magic and helping people for some non-specified-but-obviously-horrible-event that happened to him. He followed them and managed to save her life. And no, they don't fall in love, but he does agree to be her teacher.
So, yeah. This is a book I actually wish I could return to the store, and I don't say that. Ever. It's not the worst thing I've read, that honor goes to The Once and Future King *probably the ONLY book I never actually finished, it was that bad*. I mean, it's a young adult novel, so it's not going to be super sophisticated. I expect that, and for light reading, that doesn't bother me. It's the vague Mary Sue/Twilight vibes I get from it that just made it hard to read seriously. And the ending pissed me off so much I don't even want to make fun of the tropes the book contains. And that's terrible. Fortunately, the latest Valdemar series she started has started off better than the previous one ended, so I'm not writing her off. She still has good ideas, but her execution of those ideas has been hit or miss the past several years, which makes me very sad. I don't look forward to her books much anymore, and I'm now not sure I want to pick up the other SERRAted Edge books she co-authored aside from the ones I already have. As this was paid for by gift card, I don't feel cheated, but I'm glad I only got the Kindle version and that it was a gift card purchase. We'll just have to see what the future holds I guess.