Series: Silver #2
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor on May 21, 2013
Reviewed by: Julia
References to sex.
Experience the romance and danger of running with the werewolves in this urban fantasy
Andrew Dare has found his mate in Silver, but they haven’t found the pack they can call home. Some of his old friends think he should return and challenge Roanoke for leadership of all the werewolf packs on the East Coast. But Andrew has baggage—his violent history with the packs of Spain and the rumors of his lack of control. And then there’s Silver—the werewolf who has lost her wild self to a monster’s assault, and who can no longer shift forms. But perhaps together they can overcome all the doubters.
The second book in this wonderful urban fantasy series plunges readers into the world of the shape-shifter packs who live hidden among us.
Less formula and more content than your average werewolf romance, TARNISHED is a brand of urban fantasy that I treasure. Though heavily steeped in character, the slow arc of action that Held weaves through this story and her series as a whole has a level of patience that is becoming rarer and rarer in the serialized genre. Patience to let injuries heal, patience to let obstacles stand, patience to let characters struggle without a magical panacea to sweep the slate clean every book.
Though the first portion of TARNISHED focuses on the politics that have brought Dare and Silver to the west coast, that is just the framework for the character growth that fuels the heart of this book. I was surprised by how much I grew to love Susan, the outsider, the new mother, the woman struggling to find her way as a human among Weres. This world's mythology doesn't offer the chance of a quick fix, a bite that would make Susan magically part of the pack, but Held is not afraid to tackle the larger questions of culture and acceptance head on. Weres are still alien, still governed by rules and expectations that seem brutal to humans, but they're also fallible, capable of mistakes and change and understanding. To this author, the cultural laws of Weres are less an immutable plot device ("Oops, you did the thing, now you must *die*.") and more a living society with expectations, hopes, and flaws.
As much as I started this series all about Silver, Held seduced me into falling in love with her whole world. The Werewolves of Held's mythology are magical without being impervious, her lovers are devoted without any superhuman certainty, and the politics of the pack is physical without being all about dominance. With TARNISHED this series has ascended to a step above the already strong SILVER to achieve something altogether new. Intricate, interesting, and fundamentally human, TARNISHED is a book not to miss.