✨Age Range: Young adult
✨Series: 2nd in a trilogy
✨Publication Date: 22nd September, 2020
✨Publisher: Wednesday Books (US)
✨Format I Read: Kindle e-book
✨Content Warning: Anti-semitism, child abuse, mutilation, murder and mentions of animal cruelty
Spoiler alert for The Gilded Wolves
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.
Characters and Representation in The Silvered Serpents
The cast of characters in this series are my comfort characters, so it felt wonderful being back with everyone once more. Each character was processing the events of The Gilded Wolves in different ways and some changed for the worse. Séverin’s character frustrated me but I appreciated the craft behind his arc nonetheless.
I loved how my favourites, Laila and Zofia, grew into a more confident, sharper and better version of themselves throughout the book. I also liked Enrique a lot more in this instalment. We got to see different facets of his character, as well as a deeper exploration of his mixed-race identity, which was handled thoughtfully.
Coming to the relationships, there was a lot of angst and unrequited pining in this book. I really enjoyed how the relationship dynamics changed compared to the first book, which made for some excellent tension between the main characters. The way Roshani wrote about them made me deeply feel all of the complex emotions that the characters showed.
Plot and World-Building in The Silvered Serpents
I want to note that my views are completely biased as I love this series and the author before saying that I loved the plot in this book. I think it incorporated a lot of well-known tropes and elements of YA fantasy but the way Roshani stitched them together really clicked with me. I finished the book in two sittings and the one time I put it down, I had to stop reading because of pure exhaustion.
A good old treasure hunt kind of plot gets me every time and this one was executed to perfection. There was danger, excitement and plot twists that I figured out moments before it was revealed on paper. The author did an excellent job of combining mythology and symbology from different cultures to fit the narrative.
Roshani has a way of breathing life into her fictional worlds through her prose and The Silvered Serpents was no different. Her descriptions engaged all the senses and her imagination conjured up a gorgeously detailed world that I wish were real. The wintry Russian setting worked beautifully with the plot and held me in a spell until the end.
Writing Style and Themes in The Silvered Serpents
Roshani’s writing has come a long way since The Star-Touched Queen and, in my personal opinion, this is her best work yet. Her prose was like sinfully rich chocolate cake but also had a lilting quality to it that made the sentences flow seamlessly. Her metaphors were always unique but where I used to find some of them jarring before, they are imbued with a sense of beauty and wonder in The Silvered Serpents.
The two main themes that stood out to me were the commentary on anti-semitism and the depiction of the various facets of feminism. Through Zofia’s character and others’, Roshani sheds light on the dark underbelly of 19th century Russia. This continues the trend in the series that tackles colonialism, racism and other evils that are usually glossed over in history books and does so with a lot of sensitivity.
The sequel introduced a new female character who got off on the wrong foot with Laila. Roshani did an outstanding job of managing that tension so that it didn’t turn into the usual girl-on-girl hate but used it to illustrate how patriarchy often pits girls against one another. The sexism of the time was shown in brutal horror, however, there was hope and strength to be found with the female main (Laila, Zofia) and side characters (matriarch of House Kore) in the story.
The Silvered Serpents is arguably one of the best sequels I’ve read in the YA fantasy genre in a long while. I highly encourage you to pick this series up if you haven’t yet as it’s one of my favourites. While the writing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s a lot to love in this series with its incredibly diverse cast, fast-paced plot and exquisite world-building.
✨Related Post: September 2020 Wrap-Up
I hope The Silvered Serpents is on your pre-order list or TBR and if not, please pick it up because it’s one of my favourite sequels ever! Have you already read The Gilded Wolves yet? Which is your favourite historical fantasy? Let me know in the comments section down below. Hope you are having a magical week, readers from Earth!