L.E. Duncan's Reviews > Silver

Silver by Rhiannon Held
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U 50x66
's review
Jun 08, 2012

really liked it

Silver is a well-written, engaging urban fantasy that features werewolves and a romance-tinged main plot. But Silver has other ambitions besides "extremely competent genre tale." Silver is concerned with culture. Silver is concerned with how werewolves act and love and worship. What are their taboos? How might one pack act differently than another? Who leads and who doesn't? What's strength and what's weakness? Many of these questions are addressed contextually, through character behavior more than exposition, but some are addressed through tour-de-force sequences with Death, who may or may not be a hallucination. Death is a stand-out character, a slippery, energetic trickster, a delight every time he appears, and it's often. Werewolf politics are also handled well and smartly, wolf-like behaviors adapted for social use. Held handles facial details, body language, and the layout of the environment all very well. The world feels plausible and tactile. The book does have some minor hang-ups. While Silver's not-entirely-trustable viewpoint is used to good effect and to some niftily odd writing, the book does occasionally suffer from the protagonists passing sweepingly correct judgments on other characters, especially in earlier chapters. None of this is unexpected - protagonists often have to be exceptional to be ... well, exceptional - but I would have liked to see more strength in the other characters that inhabited the world with Silver and Andrew (although there were strong exceptions). I would have liked to see more of the world of the beta, for example, and a deeper exploration of what it means to be lower in the hierarchy. That said, this is largely a taste issue, and our protagonists are not portrayed as perfect characters or superheroes. Battles are always hard-won when won, scars remain, mistakes are made, old issues are brought to the surface and dealt with. Silver's tragedy remains her tragedy - and it's compelling stuff.
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