It’s no secret that I’ve not been having the best reading year and more often than not I’ve been disappointed by majority of the 2020 releases I’ve read. Is it a bit dramatic for me to have put all my hopes on this particular release? Maybe. But did it deliver the way I needed it to? Absolutely. I don’t know what I would’ve done if this book fell into the dreaded Second Book Syndrome but I’m glad that I don’t have to find out. There was a lot going on in this book, equal parts character driven and plot driven, and though it was not perfect or as good as its predecessor, it was still a very good book that thankfully did not let me down.
This might be a quicker review than usual so I shall start with what I didn’t like. For some reason, I still don’t quite understand this story’s magic system and I can’t tell if that’s a me problem or a problem that Roshani Chokshi needs to address. But it’s two books in and I can’t quite get a grasp on how Forging works or what it really entails. I understand certain things, yes, but I’m still a bit confused to its inner workings and meanings. Again, this could just be on me and I might’ve missed it in the first book, obviously forgetting it for the whole duration of this book, but I can’t help but wish that it was explained just a tad bit more.
The second thing that bothered me had more to do with the characters themselves and how this was a book where the characters not only had to pick themselves up after the devastating events of the first book but they had to figure out how to keep going. They’re all severely hurting and are trying to ignore it, which as we know is not the best idea, and because of that they all seem to hurt each other without even trying. It’s kind of like you’re watching a once close-knit team that was broken refusing to put their pieces back together no matter how much you need them to. It was frustrating as a reader to not have the characters get along and actually communicate but it was a very good reflection of the grief process and while I might not have appreciated it personally, I felt like it worked for the story at hand. It’s not as big of a weakness or dislike as the lack of understanding a magic system is but is more of a strength within a weakness. It hurts previously loved dynamics but helps with character and plot development so there’s both good and bad here. Which is perfectly fine.
I think what really made this book so good, thus preventing it from being a Second Book Syndrome flop, is how Chokshi still managed to make the plot exciting and filled with so many twists that you’ll be throwing your book in despair and anger. A lot of second books tend to be filler books, more often than not filled with lukewarm plots to move the characters from starting point A to the final battle point B, but this didn’t feel like that. It felt like the catalyst to an impending something, but you’re not quite sure what it will be. You think that this book will be the filler book building up to the final meeting of the Winter Conclave, thanks to the synopsis, but it’s not. I feel like Chokshi took all the things you expect to see in a second book but used it to her plot’s advantage and rather than info dumping and filler-type set ups, she used her characters and surroundings to her advantage. Rather than using the second book to build up to the third book’s grand finale, Chokshi used the first three parts of this book to build up the final, climactic fourth part where you get plot twists and confessions and stressful reveals you can’t even begin to comprehend. It’s because of this final act that this book not only is worth the read but it’s worth its buildup and avoids the Syndrome. And that’s why I think it’s so good, especially for a second book.
I wouldn’t label this as the perfect book or even better than the first, but it’s still very good on its own. It does lose a bit of magic that I loved about the first book, mostly because this is a book that has to build itself back up after being so broken, but the buildup is worth it. The plot twists are insane. The stress makes you forget how to breathe. It’s all the little things that come together and make this book worth it in the end and not just steadily continue a strong story but create the perfect setup for the next book. Most of all, what tells me that this book was good is that it made me feel something, which hasn’t happened with most 2020 releases thus far, and that’s all I can ask for.
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 the 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.
Returning to the dark and glamorous 19th century 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 in The Silvered Serpents.