Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 5 stars Series: yes - first book in companion series
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY, A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN, and A VOW SO BOLD AND DEADLY*
When ancient magic tests a newfound love, a dark fate beckons . . .
Magic has been banished in the land of Syhl Shallow for as long as best friends Jax and Callyn can remember. They once loved the stories of the powerful magesmiths and mythical scravers who could conjure fire or control ice, but now they’ve learned that magic only leads to danger: magic is what killed Callyn’s parents, leaving her alone to raise her younger sister. Magic never helped Jax, whose leg was crushed in an accident that his father has been punishing him for ever since. Magic won’t save either of them when the tax collector comes calling, threatening to take their homes if they can’t pay what they owe.
Meanwhile, Jax and Callyn are astonished to learn magic has returned to Syhl Shallow — in the form of a magesmith who’s now married to their queen. Now, the people of Syhl Shallow are expected to allow dangerous magic in their midst, and no one is happy about it.
When a stranger rides into town offering Jax and Callyn silver in exchange for holding secret messages for an anti-magic faction, the choice is obvious — even if it means they may be aiding in a plot to destroy their new king. It’s a risk they’re both willing to take. That is, until another visitor arrives: handsome Lord Tycho, the King’s Courier, the man who’s been tasked with discovering who’s conspiring against the throne.
Suddenly, Jax and Callyn find themselves embroiled in a world of shifting alliances, dangerous flirtations, and ancient magic . . . where even the deepest loyalties will be tested.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
I have been looking forward to FORGING SILVER INTO STARS, more so since planning to re-read A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN and A VOW SO BOLD AND DEADLY. It’s a chance to return to the tensions and relationships of a series I really enjoy, and to see what happens next. There’s so much change at the end of that series that it feels natural that there would be strife yet to come. Not to mention it’s a chonky book (~550 pages) which means more time spent in the world!
There are a lot of familiar cast (which is yay!!!) but there’s balance with new ones too. Jax and Callyn bring a new side to the world. The first series focused on the court, with the common people being very secondary and much more about being helped than their lives. The new narrators bring that side into focus, and gives a clear understanding of why people would be nervous about Grey and his magic.
The tension between Tycho and Grey was so good! (I mean, it’s not good that there is tension, but the way it was written!!) Despite him not being a POV, you understand exactly why Grey acts as he does, the pressures and fears strangling him so that he acts like that. And you’ve also seen Tycho’s side. It makes the tension feel real and believable, rather than being manufactured solely for plot purposes. Not to mention it makes you want it resolved because you get both sides of the story, so don’t really blame either.
Another relationship I loved? Tycho and Rhen! (Yes, Tycho was my favourite of the POVs – I’ve been invested in for two books already, and I think the dynamics he had were the most interesting of the lot.) Tycho and Rhen have a lot of history, so I did not expect their relationship to take the path it does, but it works so well.
This book can technically be read without the first trilogy, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I think Tycho’s relationships will make much more sense, and have a deeper weight, with that knowledge.
In terms of story “completeness”, I’d say this is pretty close to A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY. It reads almost like a standalone – there are some things left open at the end (a few vague threats) but most of the story is tied up. It would work perfectly well as a standalone as the primary villains are dealt with and the characters all end up in (relatively) OK places. But there is more, and you can see where it will come from (the fact that the group behind the main villains aren’t dealt with.) It makes it very satisfying, while also making you want to read the coming books.
Read my reviews of other books by Brigid Kemmerer:
Cursebreakers (chronologically before this series):
Defy the Night:
- DEFY THE NIGHT (#1)