Review: The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2) by Roshani Chokshi

I received an advanced digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review. This review contains minor spoiler from The Gilded Wolves. Read The Gilded Wolves recap from Roshani Chokshi’s site.

Title: The Silvered Serpents
Series: The Gilded Wolves, #2
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕ (5/5)
Content Warning: *highlight to view* {Death of a loved one, grief, abandonment, child abuse, betrayal, human sacrifice, murder, flashbacks of torture and mutilation}

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

BLURB

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.
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.
(via Goodreads)

THOUGHTS

“I wish my love was more beautiful.”

First things first, let me get this out of the way: at the very heart of this book, the palace of ice and the exploration of myths long forgotten but brought to life took a back seat for me. The thing that really resonated with me throughout reading The Silvered Serpents (and I guess the thing that I wanted to talk about the most) is the theme around love – and the many forms it takes and the many ways it can be shown. As Roshani mentioned in her GR post, this book is mostly about both romantic and familial love. The exploration of familial love, especially on found families, took center stage and made the experience of reading this book emotional and heartbreaking in a lot of places (“You make the choice that you can live with. You do not have to like it.“). This story was wrought with loss and a lot of sacrifices. After the events of the first book, I already expected this book to be an emotional read, but I didn’t expect it to be too personal as well. A (found) family slowly being torn apart because of pestering regrets and loss. Hard choices made in the name of love. This book hurt, because it is the aftermath of a loss that always hurt the most. Grief, in this story, is like a constant pulse – something that bathes everything in a somber tone. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with grief and death but I’ve always loved books that treat this topic with deliberate care and so much nuance – and The Silvered Serpents in one such book.

“Madame Delphine, depending on who you ask, sometimes ghost stories are all that is left of history,” he said. “History is full of ghosts because it’s full of myth, all of it woven together depending on who survived to do the telling.”

In addition to its emotional core, The Silvered Serpents stayed true to its treasure hunting roots that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed back in The Gilded Wolves. I’ve always associated this as some sort of YA Da Vinci Code-ish book because of the historical elements closely tied to the mystery-solving methods of its cast of characters. Per usual, the puzzles are interesting and the tidbits dropped here and there are crumbs I would gladly take any day (God bless Enrique). I could read stories upon stories of these guys just solving stuff and I would be a happy lady. My favorite character has always been Enrique (not just because of his heritage) and, in this book, he still shone the most for me. Zofia also snagged a huge part of my heart in this installment and I surprisingly found myself relating to her more than the others most times (Zofia nodded and had the irrational desire to wish that some words could be solid and picked up off the ground and held close, so that she could reach for them whenever she needed.). The tragedy of Laila and Severin is hard to miss, of course (also, Severin can be really insufferable at times but it was so heartbreaking to watch the internalized guilt consume him) – but Enrique and Zofia’s (along with Hypnos) scenes were one of the main points of entertainment for me and their POVs were mostly those that I enjoyed the most.

There was danger in not belonging.

The revelation of backstories is elegantly done and reading through so many unlikely sacrifices was both heavy and shocking. One of the biggest bombshells in the last chapters of the book is something that I never would’ve guessed the first time and it turned everything on its head when it was revealed. This made way for more layers to be uncovered in the final installment of an already complex story. This was nicely tied together by Roshani Chokshi’s lyrical writing backed by, per her usual, rich storytelling, nuanced exploration of difficult themes, and an arsenal of unique metaphors (which honestly tickled my fancy because I am, and will always be, a sucker for good metaphors). I am very particular in writing styles whenever I read a book and, in the fantasy genre, this detail could get easily get lost because of the complex nature of its stories. But luckily, this series just keeps on knocking in my heart and laying waste to it because of its brilliant writing.

In conclusion

May our ends justify our means,” intoned Hypnos.

The Silvered Serpents is a solid outing by Roshani Chokshi and a strong sequel for such a fantastic series helmed by The Gilded Wolves. She just keeps getting better and better and this sequel is proof of it. This book is emotional and gripping at the same time – something that so few stories have managed to achieve at such a flawless degree. The plot was tight, the world-building lush, and its characters fully fleshed-out. And though I didn’t fact check enough while reading this book, choosing to go where the narrative take me instead, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a well-researched piece of literature and that it took a lot to stitch together such a complex story.

The Silvered Serpents is released this week – and here’s to me hoping you read this book and/or give this series a chance, because you are seriously missing out on a lot by not doing so. Need I say more? Definitely recommended!

Read an Excerpt From Roshani Chokshi’s The Silvered Serpents.

RATING

QUOTABLE QUOTES

What is magic but a science we cannot fathom,” said Séverin.

Séverin tried not to look at Laila, but it was like ignoring the sun. He didn’t have to see it to feel its glare.

“Now . . . who do we have here?” said Delphine Desrosiers, the matriarch of House Kore. She lazily stroked the sable ruff of her coat. “Why, there’s the engineer with the arson charge.” Zofia’s eyes flashed. “A historian in need of a haircut.” Enrique scowled and flattened his hair. “A courtesan.” Laila raised her chin. Hypnos coughed loudly. “And you,” said the matriarch, in an affectionately loathing voice. “And, finally, Monsieur Montagnet-Alarie . . . the Order’s favorite treasure hunter. Whatever are you doing so far from home?” She smiled, and her teeth caught the light.

“We debase ourselves for the ones we love.”

“Excuses to stay away from you,” he said, the words rushing out of him. “Excuses to tell you that you’re a poison I’ve come to crave. Excuses to tell you that you terrify me out of my senses, and how I’m fairly certain you’ll be the death of me, […] and yet I can’t bring myself to mind.

tHIS. PEAK YEARNING.

But if there had ever been a Music of the Spheres, a hymn that moved celestial bodies, it was this. A sound like winter wind shuffling icicles on branches, the mournful song of swans at dusk, the groan of the earth turning. He felt it sear through his bones, expand in his heart . . . a song woven into a thread that wound through his whole being.

GET THE BOOK! >> Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | IndieBoundFullybooked (by special request)

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Auditor by profession and a 'round-the-clock geek 🤓 from the 🇵🇭. I'm a coffee-holic INTJ with an unhealthy obsession with books and stationery. I word-vomit over at Twitter and posts book pics at Instagram: @pagesandcc . I also blog at https://pagesandcoffeecups.com/ .

4 thoughts on “Review: The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2) by Roshani Chokshi

  1. yeah every single line of this book seemed amazing to me. i actually felt pretty emotional while reading this the second time since i caught more of how the characters felt vs how i focused on the main events the first time. my three faves are laila, enrique, and zofia!

    Liked by 1 person

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