#ARC #Review: The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi #YAFiction #YAFantasy


Everyone is losing it over Queen of Nothing (no judgement, I’mma get on that right quick like) but here I was sitting in my snow covered hills and reading an ARC for The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi – it was beautiful. The writing is magical, the characters mesmerizing, and the plot is oh so delicious. Get ready to dive back in to the wonderful workings of your favourite group of outcasts, and maybe buckle up, because it’s a rather fantastic ride!

serpentsTitle: The Silvered Serpents

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Expected Publication Date: September 22, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction

Themes: Family, Friendship, Betrayal

Features: N/A

My Rating: 4.5/ 5


Returning to the dark and glamorous world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever.

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

Purchase links for Canada, the U.S.A., and the UK.

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My Review

Okay, before I get into this review I should be upfront in saying that I loved The Gilded WolvesLike, loved it so much that putting together a marginally comprehensible review was nearly impossible. Cue The Silvered Serpents. I basically melted into a puddle of gibbering goo on the office floor when the ARC was approved in NetGalley. Or if you prefer more realistic expressions, loved it so much that I burned a batch of jelly because I was so focused on the pages that I missed the kitchen timer and was only roused by the smoke detectors. Yeah… oops.

Also, so worth it.

The Silvered Serpents is a decadent adventure filled with action, intrigue, and just enough crazy to keep you on the edge of your seat. Now don’t get me wrong, this book gets dark, and fast. But after the ending of The Gilded Wolves this really felt like a natural progression. In the wake of a traumatic and unexpected death, our core group of characters grapple with the effects that this loss has on their lives while simultaneously trying to prevent the death of another. Chokshi tackles grief and trauma head on, inviting the reader into a world of complex and challenging emotions. It might not be all action and wit the whole way through, but the details and exploration of the characters are both deep and realistic. A patient reader will be rewarded with nuance, so don’t rush through the ‘slow’ bits – it’s all good stuff!

And the world building, my word! Transporting the setting from France to Russia was simply divine, as it allowed for layer upon layer of mythology to be built up over time without ever feeling onerous. I was in love with the ice palaces, mechanical leviathans, enchanted winter animals and stories of long dead goddesses. It is magical, steeped in folklore, and the perfect setting for a tale that is darker and more turbulent. The parties were spectacular and opulent, the challenges imaginative, and the villains not at all what I expected. Everything came together into another perfect cliffhanger ending, and I simply can’t wait for the third book to come out.

I loved how much time we got to spend with Sofia and Hypnos, gaining greater insight into their personalities and the effect that they have on the group dynamic. Sofia remains one of my favourite characters, and I can’t wait to see how she will develop in the next instalment. For someone that is often seen as weaker than the others, she has some truly spectacular moments, and the real beauty was seeing her recognize that she’s not just a sidekick. Laila and Severin too, were particularly show-stopping, with their raw feelings and excessive tension. We are all fools for love, and it seems these two are fond of playing games with higher stakes than most.

This delectably dark tale is wrapped up in Chokshi’s spellbinding prose. It evokes the heartstrings, the imagination, and offers a veritable cornucopia of diversity without going the line of tokenism. Through it all she highlights the value of all life, and addresses through subtle undertones the issues arising from colonialism and cultural destruction. It is a testament to the intelligence of a younger reading audience, but I know that many of the issues and undertones addressed will not be appreciated by all.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, yes, yes! A hundred times over! My only real complaint is that I will have to wait so long for the third book to come out – especially after that EPIC ending…

Like the sound of this book? Buy it here!

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a galley in exchange for an honest review.

#Review: Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford #YAFiction #YAFantasy

Today I am delighted to be taking a break from NaNoWriMo to share my review for the FABULOUS Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford. It’s deep, imaginative, and filled with fantastic worlds with a touch of mystery and magic. If you’re in the mood for some wonderful YA to transport you to sunshine and oceans on a gloomy winter day, and then take you on a fantastic and consuming ride, this baby will surely do the trick!

coral and pearlTitle: Crown of Coral and Pearl

Author: Mara Rutehrford

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication Date: August 27, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction

Themes: Family, Arranged Marriage, Oppression, Rebellion

Features: N/A

My Rating: 4.5/ 5


For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

My Review

The people of Varenia live a unique life in stilt houses built from shipwrecks on shoals above the sea. They value family, honour, and beauty amongst all else, and whoever their ruling nation of Ilara has a crown prince come of age the Varenians offer their most beautiful daughter as the future queen.

But this idyllic life is not as simple as it seems. The oceans have been overfished and the oysters, which produce the coveted Varenian pink pearls that support this community, have been grossly over harvested. Both food and funds are in short supply, and this isolated community is regularly cut off from fresh water and essential supplies at the slightest whim on the Varenian King.

So when the chosen bride Zadie harms herself to avoid being sent to Ilara as future queen, it falls to her twin sister Nor to take her place. But instead of being a pliant and pleasing bride Nor has other plans in mind such as advocating for her people, clandestine meetings with Governors sons, and a touch of ill-conceived spying within the castle. And to make matters even more complicated, Nor has to do everything in her power to conceal the truth behind Varenian health, long life, and healing abilities of her people lest it be exploited the ailing Ilarians. And all the while she is exploring the source of her own powers and their apparent connection to an accident involving deadly blood coral when she was just a child. Can we say drama?

But things go awry when the Crown Prince Ceren proves to be a cruel and calculating ruler, more focused on pursuits of vanity and tormenting his subjects than than improving the standing of his people – despite an impending war. Nor must learn to tread carefully in his presence, and fast, for if it’s discovered that she replaced her sister Zadie she is sure to meet a fate worse than rejection. And here’s the trump card my friends, Nor finds herself dangerously attracted to Ceren’s half brother Prince Talin. Because who doesn’t love a good romantic battle between brothers who represent good and evil?

It is a bad thing to say that what i loved most about this book was that nor was like like a fish out of water? She doesn’t fit into court life, she’s too impetuous to make for a very good lady, and she never takes the easy way out – even when huge personal benefit stands in the balance. She adheres strongly to her Varenian morals, saving the lives of even those who would hurt her and offering kindness to all when cruelty serves as currency within the Ilaran castle. She is brave, and at times incredibly foolish, but those moments in which Nor took those ridiculous risks were among my absolute favourites.

The brothers too, were extremely interesting. They were perfect foils for one another as well as for the relationship between Nor and Zadie. Where the sisters represented love and loyalty, the brothers emanate complicated toxicity. While the brother’s certainly added different elements to the narrative, with Ceren bringing in fear and tension while Talin offered romance and longing, they never pull too much attention away from Nor and her objectives.

It was interesting to see the types, and degrees of prominence, of the roles assigned to parents in this book. Zadie & Nor’s parents took on a dynamic similar to that of Mr. & Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, with a doting and on-confrontational father and a mother determined to see her daughters wed advantageously. Both the Governor and the King are particularly absent in their parenting duties, and overall presence, though they are much talked and thought about by their children. And we even have a does of the manipulating stepmother waiting to make a play. And while I really enjoyed what they brought to the story, I really would have liked to see all of the adult characters developed into roles beyond mealtimes and deathbeds. Don’t get me wrong, the focus stays on Nor where it firmly belongs, I just wanted a little more. But, with a book two on the horizon, and so much fantastic world building already under way, I have no doubt that this particular scenario is about the change.

Filled with strong characters, tantalizing events, some super steamy romance, as well as distinct peoples and places A Crown of Coral and Pearl transports you into a world that is entirely it’s own. Rutherford’s writing is deep and imaginative, and her debut lays a solid foundation for what is sure to be an exciting series. I can’t wait to see what twists come next in the Ilarian fight for succession, in Zadie & Nor’s fight to save their homeland and loved ones, and whether or not everyone will make it out the other side of what appears to be an impending civil war. Oh, and I REALLY need to know more about Nor’s strength and power, the properties of the blood coral, and those damnable pink pearls! Way to leave off on a cliffhanger, because now I’m into this series hook, line, and sinker.

Many thanks to NatGalley for providing a galley in exchange for an honest review.