Title: The Silvered Serpents
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, LGBTQIA
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Review Copy: Purchased
Availability: Available now
Summary: 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 rumored 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.
Review: [Content notes: This book includes multiple murders (partially on-screen) and dismemberment.]
I loved Roshani Chokshi’s THE GILDED WOLVES, so I was thrilled to grab a copy of the sequel, THE SILVERED SERPENTS. Everything that I loved about WOLVES came back in SERPENTS, from complicated puzzles to tense showdowns to complex relationships.
One of the things Chokshi does magnificently in this book is diving deep into how everyone has been changed by the events of WOLVES. I won’t lie—Séverin’s point-of-view is often difficult to get through for spoiler-ish reasons. Yet I understood his motivations (even if I was yelling at him), just as I understood everyone else’s (and did some yelling there, too). The narrators’ voices are distinct and compelling in unique ways, and I really did enjoy hopping between them all as the job got more complicated and more dangerous throughout the book. The quick changes between narrators made for some great cliffhangers and helped propel the story forward, especially in the final act.
There were some great settings in WOLVES, and the ones in SERPENTS are no less wonderful. I love how Chokshi is able to give sweeping, almost cinematic descriptions of the larger-than-life places, puzzles, and threats facing the team. (I imagined a lot of crane shots while I was reading.) The entirety of the Sleeping Palace was a delight, and it’s no small thing to bring fantasy settings to life the way Chokshi does and still keep them mysterious and dangerous.
One thing I really appreciate in heist stories is the careful balance of foreshadowing without being too obvious. There are a number of Chekhov’s guns set up in SERPENTS, and each time one was fired, it was a worthwhile payoff. SERPENTS captured my attention the entire time, and I plowed my way through the book, always looking forward to what would happen next.
Recommendation: Buy it now. THE SILVERED SERPENTS is a worthy sequel to THE GILDED WOLVES. Chokshi has pushed the story and the characters forward in this magical, dangerous world, making this second novel in a trilogy feel like far more than just a stepping stone to a finale. At its core, SERPENTS is about a family struggling in the aftermath of tragedy and the decision they make that may bring them back together or finish tearing them apart.