Of Silver and Shadow – Book Review

By Jennifer Gruenke
Published on: May 26, 2020

Rebellion, outlawed magic, potential romance, witty banter all make up this new fantasy book by Jennifer Gruenke.

Description:

Ren Kolins is a silver wielder-a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she wont see a single coin until they overthrow the King.

Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the Kings Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made Kings Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted Kings Fang title.

But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.

Thoughts:

Rebellion is at the forefront of this young adult/new adult book. The kingdom is being run by those who don’t deserve to be in power and it is long past time to remove them.

Ren is a pit fighting, sarcastic, street-wise girl who gets noticed by the rebellion leaders. Why? Because she can do magic in a kingdom where magic is outlawed by death. They need her, but she’s not really all that into the rebellion until there is promise of money. Then, of course, she’s definitely in.

The rebellion has been long coming and they have planned out exactly how to use her talents. Not in the “she does everything while we stand back” kind of way except when they obviously have to since she is the only one who can do magic, but more of “let’s use her to rally others to our cause” way.

What I Liked:

  • Character interactions and banter were fun, especially whenever Prince Kellen was around, but Darek and Ren have some fun interactive encounters too. Speaking of Prince Kellen, he was quite the scene stealer. It’s as if the book came alive when he wandered into a scene.
  • World is pretty easy to grasp and follow. The kingdom and how it operates along with the magic system can be quickly understood at a high level.
  • Couple of unexpected moments in the plot that surprise you and keep the story progressing.

What Was Ok or Didn’t Like:

  • Plot isn’t terribly unique to the fantasy genre, which was my main struggle with it. Rebels plotting against the king, enemies to romance. We’ve seen it before. Overall, it has potential for being more complex, although I did appreciate the portions of how King Mattheus manipulated other kingdoms, especially with the proposed treaties.
  • Wish there was just a little bit more explanation on how the story ends. It gives the impression that this is a stand-alone story, so I wish there were an Epilogue to provide more information on what happened next and how the ending plays out.

Overall, it was an enjoyable novel and quick read, but isn’t necessarily original. I know there are many who really love enemies-to-lover books along with rebellion and so if this is you, then definitely consider trying this one out. However, if you are looking for something with a complex, dark plot that is unique, then this may not be book for you. Due to some mature content, it feels more like it is on the edge of young adult and new adult genre.

Cover Thoughts: During my first glance at the cover I immediately noticed the silver color in the “Of Silver” part of the title and I thought “Ah ha! That’s very clever considering the title.” What I didn’t notice immediately when seeing the book on Netgalley, but did so later is how the “And Shadow” and castle portion of the title/cover is not written or drawn in dense black to represent a shadow as I originally thought, but is actually a shadow. This density of the lettering isn’t as clear within the letters and as you look closer you get the feeling that the light casting the shadow is just beyond our reach to see where it is coming from. It’s quite well done and adds a nice effect to the cover once you get a closer look. I have no doubt this cover will pull folks in to read it.

Rating: 4 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and North Star Editions for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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