I find myself screaming inwardly right now because if I squeaked any louder I’m fairly certain my neighbors might kill me. Like this book inevitably has. Because I am broken. Like Severin.
THAT ENDING THOUGH. HOW DOES ANYONE DEAL?!
Warning: Spoilers for the previous book, The Gilded Wolves, which is the first in this trilogy.
THE SILVERED SERPENTS
by Roshani Chokshi
Wednesday Books, September 2020
YA historical fantasy
Rated: 4 / 5 cookies
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 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.
There was a lot to unpack after how The Gilded Wolves ended, and while The Silvered Serpents certainly felt like going through that “middle book syndrome,” I was certainly just as entertained by how the characters continued to develop in this book. I may also be biased because there’s more SeverinLaila antics here, and the continued emotional edging that is their relationship is just insanity. And yet I LIVE FOR IT.
TSS continues some days after the final scenes of TGW. The Eden crew is still shaken up after Tristan, and all of them are pretty much trying to pick up the pieces of their hearts in their own way. Severin is hit the most emotionally, and he shuts himself off from his friends, becoming more obsessed over attaining The Divine Lyrics, a book that could potentially turn him into a god. Now the tragedy here isn’t Severin’s zeal and ambition to be more than he is; nope, it’s in the fact that he’s doing this solely to protect the friends he’s pushed away. The entire “I protect you” mantra remains strong in TSS, and it almost breaks my heart at Severin’s strong wants in this matter.
But because Severin is, well, Severin, he pretty much keeps his reasonings on the mum, and doesn’t display anything other than the cold calculation he’s manifested after Tristan’s death. This puts him at odds with everyone, including Laila, who knows a bit more than most–yet she has her own problems.
I guess I adored this book almost as much as I adored the first because while the adventure was much less, the character arcs were much more. To the Eden crew, the stakes are higher, especially for Laila, who’s got roughly weeks to live. The fact that Enrique and Zofia are put in the position of knowing this information jostles their priorities, too, and it becomes a race to get this legendary book said to be able to grant a tremendous amount of power. For Severin, the ability to protect all he loves; for Laila, life; for Zofia, security and safety; for Enrique, validation; for Hypnos, inclusion.
Also. Chokshi’s writing is just pure silken honey, and I could lap up her words over and over again, because they are that delectable.
That quote is literally describing a character in a state of undress, and yet damn, to still look glorious in someone else’s eyes. Nevermind that I’m also pretty biased over this perspective.
The relationship between Hypnos, Enrique, and Zofia were also pretty great, despite my misgivings because of my dislike for most love triangles. I did think this was well done, though, and the progression of the relationship was something I looked forward to throughout the book.
“A laugh from the phoenix herself? A man would pit himself against any challenge to hear such an elusive sound.”
I do love Enrique sometimes. This is one of those times.
But of course, while I was definitely here for the overarching adventure (finding the The Divine Lyrics, gaining godhood, solving puzzles beneath an ice palace, etc.), I was mostly really here for what nonsense SeverinLaila got into.
Not to mention the fact that I find out that there’s an actual story of “Laila and Majnun” out there. And that Laila calls Severin her Majnun takes the cake.
“‘Laila and Majnun’ is one of my favorite tragedies. I’ve always considered it such a shame that they are overshadowed by their later counterparts, Romeo and Juliet.”
And then I find out the story is a friggin’ tragedy and similar to Romeo and Juliet. I am SO NOT READY to unpack the emotional state These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends left me in, only to find myself reading another story that could end badly for the main couple. I just can’t. Please say it isn’t so!
4 out of 5 cookies! I really am a sucker for character-driven stories. And the friggin’ tension, man.
For you, Severin? A hundred thousand yeses. I protect you.