Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
Of Silver and Shadow is a gritty, YA(ish), Magically Realistic Fantasy. It is a solid debut and also quite unputdownable! There are Revolutions, Coup(s), back alley ring fighting to the death... dum dum dummmm... and killer assassins that were raised from tiny little foundlings(?), groomed to be killing machines. There is forbidden love and a slooow burn that is almost too slow to believe... plus extremely iffy wooing dialogue that is both uncomfortable and slightly painful (at times) to witness BUT I'm getting ahead of myself... back to the specifics.... The world building is good, the character development even better and the writing?? Well, the writing skillfully held my undivided attention... I was fully dialed in and absorbed. The pacing is on point, thankfully there are no lagging spots to slog through.
There are 4 POVs:
1) Ren -our Silver wielder, kick ass, antiheroine that cuts people at will with her sharp tongue and bleak outlook.
2) Darek- Ren's love interest and full time partaker in the Rebellion. We were repeatedly told just how handsome, loyal , handsome and brooding he was... did I mention he's handsome?? We were told this much too often and each time it niggled a little more, it felt insincere. Hopefully this will be ironed out here and avoided completely in book #2. Also, with regards to Ren and Darek, their dialogue was (often) stilted to the point that both the banter and the burn left me feeling cheated... but again, I'm hoping these things will be addressed and polished in book #2. If Ren's awkward romantic connection doesn't resolve itself completely, she can always go for the roguish royal with a gooey caramel center... which, by the way, I am SO here for... and speaking of which...
3) Kellen- the youngest princeling that has a heart of gold (to his father's chagrin), a gentlemanly nature and is painfully, classically handsome as well. He was unfortunately born into a family of sadistic vipers but still manages to be (undercover) sweet, thoughtful of others and their plights and man is he good at keeping secrets. Kellen was one of my favorite characters. I loved his roguish, multifaceted, reluctant ruler charm.
4) Adley- is one of the King's Children (bad ass killers who were trained up from tikes) who somehow manages to retain a shred of her humanity. She is nasty with a longbow, one part of a forbidden love assassin duo, and an all around badass character.
Then there is the Silver wielding. I get that information on magic, at the time, was scarce due to a purge BUT it could have been explained to us with a touch more detail... even just a smidge. It/we needed it and sadly, again, I felt jipped. Its form, function and scope are almost entirely unexplained and for it being such a central part of the story, it came up lacking.
Overall: this story is a strong debut by Jennifer Gruenke and an all around satisfying read. The way the (seemingly) separate lives of our MCs comes together is done skillfully. The ending is a bit Cliffy for my liking BUT I was left feeling that the foundation for the next book in the series was laid down nicely. The time I spent reading seemed to evaporate at an unbelieveable rate which is always a good sign. Even with the rough spots I mentioned above, it turned out being an enjoyable way to spend a quiet day. I enjoyed experiencing this story alongside the morally ambiguous chatacters and I wholeheartedly believe that those who love the genres I mentioned will find this book appealing... why not give it a go?
*** I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ***