THE SILVERED SERPENTS
A Gilded Wolves Novel, #2
by Roshani Chokshi
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 rumoured 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.
If you're a fan of magic, wonderfully deep characters, friendship, a touch of romance, mystery, intrigue and a tale which takes a darker note, this is one you'll gobble up and want more of.
Note: This is the second book in the series. I did not read the first one, which was a mistake. While it isn't too hard to settle into the second one without reading the rest of the series, it's clear that a lot of depth and richness is lost especially on the character end by not having the background information. So, I recommend starting with book one.
Severin is determined to find the one artifact that is said to enable mortals to turn into gods, especially now that his brother is dead and he'd like nothing more than to escape all emotions and the sense of helplessness. After a long and seemingly hopeless search, he happens across an unexpected clue and calls his group together. The friends all have been affected by the brother's death and let it hang over them like a dark shadow. Plus, each is battling demons of their own. Especially one of them has a heavy secret, which will only burden all five of them more. If they can find the artifact, there might be hope but there's more than a few secrets standing between them and that dream.
This is the first book I've read for 2020 and wow. The year definitely started off with a bang. To say that this one is well-written is an understatement. The author knows the craft and weaves the words into a very dark, emotional and well paced read. The scenes carry weight and come to life through details without ever nearing the brink of boredom. Emotions hit hard and are easy to identify with as each character sucks in with their own personality, fears and desires. It's definitely a read which grabs and draws in.
The book is written from the view of each of the friends. The author keeps this from growing confusing not only by labeling the person at the beginning of the chapter, but the writing and style for each one is fairly easy to identify right away. Kudos on this end, since that much head flipping isn't always easy. This, of course, allows the reader to sink into each character and gives the tale a lot of depth. Each character is amazing, each harbors horrible fears and secrets and each one has the reader feeling for them...even when some intentions aren't very pure and even, at times, slightly twisted.
The pacing is well done and holds steady the entire way through. On this end though, I did find that the constant head flipping took a toll. Although never slow, the main plot lost a tiny bit of steam sometimes as the characters were lost in their own thoughts and experiences. Also, some of the time jumps came a little sudden and I had to read back a paragraph to make sure the new paragraph was, in fact, a scene switch. A lot of this is due to the amount packed into the novel. There is a wonderful richness in character depth, and there are many secrets along with a large helping of intrigue. The story twists in dark ways and keeps emotions high. There's a lot to shoved into these pages, and the author does to a fantastic job of getting it all to settle in.
Also, this one is sold for the young adult audience, but I'd recommend it more for the higher end of this age bracket if not adults. The characters act very mature for their age and will settle in with older readers very easily, too. In any case, this is a wonderful read for darker fantasy friends.