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

AHHHHH!

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


Synopsis

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.


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…


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

#ARC #Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi #YALit #TheGildedWolves #NetGalley

Okay, okay, after promising I’d get back to normal I’m immediately going to break my own rules. You see, I have 5 books waiting to be reviewed, and I typically like to do everything in order because it’s easier on my memory. But The Gilded Wolves was so damned good I had to move it up to the front of the que! If you like YA lit, fantasy, historical fiction, diverse reads, or even just exceptional characters this baby needs to be on your must read list when it’s released in the new year.


wolvesTitle: The Gilded Wolves

AuthorRoshani Chokshi

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Expected Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Genre: Fiction, YA, Fantasy

Themes: Family, Friendship, Romance, LGBTQ

Features: N/A


My Rating: 5/ 5


Synopsis

From Goodreads…

Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.


My Review

This book is insane, challenging, diverse, and inclusive in the best ways possible. It explores gender, sexuality, race and privilege without making any overt statements. And best of all, it challenges the sordid histories of subjugation and colonialism in an imaginative and introspective way. Oh, and this heavy hitter is clever disguised on an epic (almost steampunk) fantasy filled with magic, science, history and drama to boot!

Set during the French Revolution, and steeped in colourful imagery, the combination of history and fantasy is one that is sure to set the imagination on fire. I fell in love with the food, the costumes, the magic of forging, and the world Chokshi created. But best of all the characters are complete and entirely unique. If you don’t find yourself feeling for one or more of Severin’s crew, you must be broken. Seriously, who can’t help but love a band of plucky, artefact stealing, mission oriented, insanely intelligent misfits? Let em give you the run down:

First, there’s Severin. The rightful heir to house Vanth which has been declared dead by the Order of Babel.  He’s the ring leader of our motley crew and at a ridiculously young age liquidated his fortune and turned himself in the owner of the lavish L’Eden Hotel. Now, if you’re a fan of Gossip Girl think Chuck Bass in the midst of the French Revolution, but with magic and friends that actually like him. He’s moody, secretive, loyal, and pining after an insanely independent and determined cabaret dancer. Oh, and he thinks he’s being kinder (not) by making his friends swear, and marking them with, kinder oaths than most of the other masters out there. The truth is though, that he is really just a broody, handsome, and rather lovable tyrant.

Then there’s Tristan, Severin’s half brother and equally cast out son of house Vanth. Brilliant botanist, forever childlike, and obsessed with his giant spider Goliath. At first I was irked by his unwavering innocence in the face of such hardship, but as the boy’s pasts were revealed my ire changed to pity, and finally pity to fondness. His story, though less explicitly told, was perhaps the most moving and heartbreaking of the group.

Next is Laila, our enigmatic pastry chef who just so happens to moonlight as Paris’ most famous dancer. She is well versed in the languages of beauty and power, mysterious to the core, and just so happens to be the forbidden object of Severn’s desire. And despite all of this she is kind, empathetic, and the glue that holds this motley crew together in spite of Severin’s delusions of leadership. Her tenderness and social aptitude save her friends on more often than they give her credit for. And she has her own secrets too – a mysterious past, a dire quest, and a wicked streak you don’t want to get on the wrong side of.

Enter Zofia the resident mathematical genius and baby pyromaniac. She’s socially awkward, painfully literal, and the most endearingly blunt character I have every encountered. I have no doubt that her exclusion and bullying at school will be relatable to many. Her attempts at learning how to flirt might split your gut, and her refusal to be anyone or anything but her brilliant, awkward and calculating self will leave you cheering for strong female characters everywhere.

Then there’s Enrique, scholar and historian, who wants nothing more than to be accepted by his countrymen. He’s so blinded by desire that he’s often incapable of seeing his place amongst his peers, and how loved he is by his friends. He’s the quintessential representation and exploration of otherness. He’s egotistical, vain, and entirely oblivious of his effect on others. I couldn’t help but feel for Enrique’s desire to be accepted, and found his love of luxury impossible to look away from – especially since so many of his obsessions have to do with the relics of the Order, decoding the mysterious, and generally making academia (dare I say it?) sexy.

And finally we have Hypnos, our young flamboyant patriarch, who experiences his otherness on a level apart from the others. Acknowledged member of the order yet looked on with disdain, childhood friend of Severin yet kept at arm’s length from the group, and painfully lonely in a way that wealth and power can’t correct. We’ve all seen that kid, hell we might have even been that kid, who wants so badly to be part of a group but just doesn’t fit in – and it’s impossible not to draw connections to your own life.

I want to say more about the actual plot, but I’m scared that I would dole out some ridiculous spoilers. There is no detail in this book that doesn’t have meaning, so be prepared to go back and read a few things twice! The symbolism, foreshadowing, and planning in this book are on the next level. It might be listed as YA, but The Gilded Wolves can be enjoyed by all.

Would I recommend this book? Oh hell yes! And better yet, it’s set to come out on my birthday. I strongly suggest you read it as a gift to me. But if you’re not into charitable reading, do it for yourself – it’s beautifully written, imaginative, and carriers some powerful messages. Read it book nerds, it’s amazing.


Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.