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!
Title: The Silvered Serpents
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Betrayal
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.
Okay, before I get into this review I should be upfront in saying that I loved The Gilded Wolves. Like, 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…
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a galley in exchange for an honest review.