I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 3.5 Series: standalone
Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.
Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted King’s Fang title.
But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This is actually a pretty hard review to write, because this is one of those books that was fun but that didn’t leave me with any real opinions or thoughts (except the ending). It’s not shout-from-the-rooftops amazing, nor is it rant-at-everyone terrible.
It’s entertaining enough, though not original nor does it stand out in any particular way from the hundreds of YA books out there. As my family would put it, “it was a decent waste of an afternoon”.
However, the story telling is solid and pulls you along. The pacing is pretty constant, without any sections that feel like their dragging or don’t progress the overall plot. I didn’t spot any plot holes and the only illogical/stupid choice was at the very end (see spoilers below for my thoughts on tthat!). The writing is smooth and confident.
There are four POVs – Ren, the rebellion leader Darek, the younger Prince Kellen, and King’s Child Adley – and they’re balanced well. They each have emotional journeys and enough page time to feel worthwhile without subtracting from Ren as the main character. Their stories all interweave constantly, impacting one another and the main plot, so they don’t feel like random characters who then suddenly get flung together at the end. That’s my pet peeve with multi-POVs, so I was really glad that this didn’t happen.
I liked the idea of the shadow magic. There’s not much that can be said without major spoilers, but it was the highlight of the magic system. The silver is pretty cool, though not really explained. What are its limits? How could Silvers be hunted to near extinction if Ren seems to have no end to her magic? The Shadow aspect, however, has interesting ramifications for the world, and the plot.
Note to those who are squeamish, this book doesn’t hold back on descriptions of torture, but it’s not full on gore for gore’s sake. There is certainly more that could have been shown, but also there could easily have been less.
The author has said this is a standalone with the potential for more books – and that potential is clear. I’d read them.
***SPOILER ALERT: below are my thoughts on the ending***
The ending. It was all going so well until literally a handful of percent from the end, when Darek decides that, now he’s disposed of the King and disinherited the two prince, he should put Ren on the throne.
Yup – the only-in-it-for money thief and brawler. At no point does Ren try to disabuse anyone of this notion.
And yet somehow Darek thinks she’d make a good enough queen to hold the country together until he can put in a democracy. He doesn’t make any bargains or have any hold over her to ensure she doesn’t set herself up as a tyrant or run the country into the ground through gross negligence. There is no plan, and she has no qualifications. He then says the idea was her parents when she was a child, as if that makes it any more sensible.
She’s angry at him for springing this on her, and then simply agrees? It felt so out of character for both of them.