Roshani Chokshi’s writing is one of the few that I was quicker to find out about in the reading community, unlike a host of books and authors we’ve seen me slowly jumping on the band wagon with. I actually began reading her books after the sequel to the Star Touched Queen came out, and really enjoyed them. When I heard of the Gilded Wolves I was completely sold, and pre-ordered the book, excited to read more. In this first installment I fell for the group of characters, Chokshi’s great writing style, and the world building. Given that this is the review of a sequel, there will be spoilers for the first book in the series. If you are interested in the first book, please see that review here.
The Silvered Serpents is the sequel to the Gilded Wolves, following the death of Tristan, the group Severin has started has almost completely disbanded. Zofia has gone back to her sister to help her in her sickness, Enrique is trying to be a scholar whether Severin approves or not, Hypnos is still trying to be a member of the group, Laila learns a dark truth, and Severin has slipped into a grief that sends him pursuing a dangerous artifact.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
If you read my last review of the Gilded Wolves, you will know that I loved the book a lot, and gave it five stars. Time though, and an effort to deepen my reviews/review style have made me look back at that review and consider a single flaw in pacing that book had in common with this one. For one, both books follow a setup where it is mostly build-up and tension for the majority of the book (possibly 80%), and then the last 20% is where everything goes down. It’s not necessarily a flaw, especially in terms of the Gilded Wolves where we are learning of the world, characters, and how everything in the series will start off. In that book I viewed it as a given since Fantasy in general can be like that, and went with it. In fact, I quickly forgot about the 80% build-up I went through when everything was going down, but when I got to that point in this book the pattern really hit me. I just sat back for a moment, and went ‘wow, this is like deja-vu’. I had literally just read a lot of build-up and tension again and then everything just went crazy at the end. Where I struggled with the Silvered Serpents, as opposed to the Gilded Wolves, is that this is the second book, and instead of getting the group working together we primarily have Severin pushing everyone angrily away, or being dark. Severin was a major plus in the first book, and why I’d say I really went with the 80/20% setup without issue, but in this book it made me want to hurt him.
Going into Severin as a character, he was a lot harder to read this time around. Where the multiple points of view in the last book were fun and a great mix, Severin and his grief were difficult to read, and follow without wondering when someone would step in. I get it, and can say Chokshi did a great job at showing how skewed his thinking is but it didn’t change that it turned his viewpoint into a version of walking on eggshells. From the other viewpoints, you can tell it’s concerning, but ultimately dangerous, and in his chapters just dark altogether. That was where the cons for me ended though. While Severin was the one making me frustrated at times, I was definitely connecting more with the other characters and learning more about them in this book compared to the first. Hypnos, for one, really did shine in this book, and made me want to give him a hug through it. The poor guy just wants friends, and Severin doesn’t make it easy on him. It was as if, making Severin the dark force allowed everyone to take on new challenges for the group and work together in a capacity that he had previously taken on. It definitely makes me wonder how it will affect everyone in the next book as they figure everything out.
As always with Roshani Chokshi, the world building and the concept of the artifacts/magic was a huge plus for me. In her writing, food, history, and all things culture in the world shine and take on a life of their own. I always enjoy her prose, and gush at the genuine love of description she shows in her work. I don’t think I could read one of her books and not talk about this since it’s so well done you just slow down for a second to smell the roses. When I finally get to the point where I have a book I hope I have that skill of description since I know I tend to focus on action/dialogue in practice unfortunately.
In conclusion, I really did enjoy this book it just was a slower pace for a sequel, and Severin really messed with my mood. Very subjective things to point out, but in the end things that really affect my reading in general. The way I see it though, the things that I struggled with are building up to a point where I think the next book is going to make me an emotional mess, and likely zoom through the book, so I am really excited for the next and final installment in this series.