Silence by Mercedes Lackey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Returning to the world of SERRAted Edge, Ms. Lackey creates another heart string pulling story about neglected children and how they can be abused. For those who have not read the previous books in this series, it is okay. This can be read as a standalone. Staci goes from loved daughter to ugly redhead stepchild quicker than she can blink. Her wicked stepmother forces her father to dump her with an unreliable caretaker and proceeds to steel Staci's clothing and jewelry. If there is one thing Ms. Lackey does really well, it is creating loathsome characters. Both Staci's father and stepmother should be shot. Who does this to a child?
Stuck in a small town that is dying and under some mysterious gloom, Staci barely has enough money for food. Her mother is erratic and troubled. Staci learns this sleepy town controlled by one family contains a much darker secret. This secret literally sucks the life out of everyone. Staci's quest, if she chooses to accept is to defeat the evil villains with the help of an outcast knight and a group of misfits. How could she possibly lose with these odds? Yes, that is sarcasm.
The character building in this story is trademark Ms. Lackey. I loved Staci. How she adjusts to life and what she chooses to do are admirable. She isn't without flaws. She makes mistakes but she owns them. She may be caught in high school young adult angst, but none of it is contrived or overly dramatic. Staci does the best she can. When she learns more about her past, it also casts Staci's mother in a different light. Sometimes, power does not only mean great responsibility. Sometimes power can also tear a person apart and leave them broken. This tale of good versus evil is created with just enough darkness and light. This is just a mere battle in an unspoken war. Even though each of the books shows how the skirmishes are won by good, I can't help but feel overall, the light is losing against dark. For those who enjoy elves, magic and a strong heroine, this book contains it all.
*provided by Edelweiss