Monday, January 9, 2017

Words come crashing in, into my little world

I was mildly unaware that Mercedes Lackey and a new coauthor Cody Martin had dusted off the SERRAted Edge novels, which share a world with her Bedlam's Bard and Diana Tregard mysteries.

Not that Silence is particularly connected to anything that has come previously in any of the series other than a loose thread of Elves who came through the Fairegrove Industries Gate from Fairieland. And even that doesn't come into play until about the last third of the book.

We start with Staci, a teenager who's been living in New York City prior to the start, suddenly thrust into the sleepy Maine hamlet of Silence after her father remarries and the wicked stepmother inspires the father to send Staci to live with her mother. Staci's mom really doesn't have it going on, being a waitress and alcoholic who's also kind of the town trollop. Silence is, as almost everyone describes it, stuck in the 50's. No internet, no cell phone towers, and no real entertainment options other than the bookstore cum coffee shop owned by kindly Tim.

Staci, who early on ends up meeting two couples in the bookstore, ends up getting a dial up connection to the internet and "blackmailing" her father after finding out that the stepmother had stolen a few outfits and jewelry during the packing. This allows her to at least order clothing via catalog, given the thrift store isn't a particularly good option.

On her initial exploration of Silence, she runs across Dylan, a biker guy who helps her get oriented in town. The waitress at the cafe helps spell out the setting, noting that almost every industry in town is owned by the Blackthornes up on the hill.

Along with Tim, we meet Jake, Seth, Riley, and Wanda at the bookstore. While the foursome are paired off, they welcome Staci with open arms and introduce her to the wonderful world of tabletop RPGs. They also drag Staci out to teen night at the local Methodist church, which is when Staci meets Sean Blackthorne, who invites her up to the estate.

To skip over a bunch of plot building, Sean and his family are unseelie elves. Dylan is seelie, but out on a mission to destroy the unseelie after they killed his cousin. The Blackthornes have some adverse plans for Silence, which it falls upon Staci and her friends to stop.

It's good to be back in the shared universe again. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the elvensteeds that appear as vehicles. I enjoyed the geek references sprinkled throughout the text. I really enjoyed goth girl Wanda sitting down with Staci and pointing out that Sean's courtship is a bit like Edward courting Bella, and that it's really not healthy.

The bad part is that the ending is very rushed. Very very rushed. There's an entire chapter that's essentially an 80's training montage before the confrontation with the unseelie. Staci never confronts Sean directly, essentially letting Dylan (the "good one") do it by proxy. And lord, the climax passes and we get a whole page of resolution.

Honestly, I'm hoping this is a prelude to more, since the characters deserve a better story to inhabit, as well as some exploration of the mysterious backstory of Tim, the kindly bookstore owner.