I mentioned how much I loved THE SILVERED in my November releases post – here’s a longer post. There’s actually a whole lot more in the story that I haven’t even mentioned, but I’m hoping you give it a go so that we can discuss!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book so much – it’s the kind of tale that leaves you wanting more, not because it feels incomplete or unfinished*, but because there’s potential for more stories in this world… and it’ll be a shame if this imaginative world only gets one outing.
The setting is inspired by the Napoleonic era, and the story starts off by juxtapositioning grim battlefield scenes with glittering high society balls. Tanya Huff seamlessly introduces werewolves and mages of the Pack into this environment, and makes it feel real – the frenetic gaiety and matchmaking parents and very civilised evenings at the opera doesn’t hide the not-quite-acknowledged fear that this world is about to be torn apart. And as you expect, it is and quite brutally too – the commencement of war combined with the kidnapping of the most powerful mages of the Pack causes confusion and terror… and that’s the setup for a most satisfying fantasy.
In retrospect, Mirian and Tomas’s decision to go right into the heart of the enemy Empire to rescue the kidnapped mages appears slightly ridiculous – how does an almost-mage and young werewolf expect to go up against an all-powerful emperor? But while they’re doing it, it doesn’t come across as stupid or naive. It’s easy to empathise with Mirian – she’s caught up in the romance of the moment, she wants to do the “right” thing and at the pivotal moment, finds the courage to do so and what’s more, follows through. Equally, Tomas, who has come through the battle through pure luck, is shellshocked and needs to rescue the remainder of his Pack.
It’s not all a mad action-packed dash for glory – there are poignant moments a-plenty, and while not overt, there is some romance. I liked how Tanya Huff showed that there was a price to pay for everything, and also the bad guys were portrayed as people and not this faceless enemy. There’s redemption too, and it’s done in such a way that leaves you feeling optimistic.
One of my favourite books that I’ve read this year, and as I said at the start, I’m left wanting to know what happens next.
* It’s a standalone fantasy, and how rare is that?