In an astonishing turn of events, my school shut down on Friday the 13th for the second time this year (first in March and now in November), and though online school still takes up a large portion of my time, I’ve still been able to read a few books. Below, find my reviews for two recent reads, The Silvered Serpents and Ninth House.
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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.
Returning to the dark and glamorous 19th century world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever in The Silvered Serpents.
Diversity Rep: French-Algerian main character; Filipino-Spanish main character who’s bisexual or pansexual (not stated explicitly); Indian main character; autistic-implied Jewish main character; non-straight main character; non-straight Haitian-French main character; East Asian minor character
Warnings: grief; mention of infertility, suicide, child abuse, and stillbirth; antisemitism; violence; blood; drinking; sexual content (thank you to Marie for the list!)
While I adored The Gilded Wolves, this sequel unfortunately fell a little flat for me. Aside from the slower pace of this installment, I think one major issue was that my favorite aspect of the first book—the found family dynamics between the main crew of characters—wasn’t really present here, since Séverin was moody and distant the whole time. The scatter of the main characters made for a story that just wasn’t as fun to read.
Additionally, the minor confusion induced by the first book felt more prominent in The Silvered Serpents. At times, it felt a bit info-dumpy, but I still found myself unable to understand what the deal was with various houses, the forging system, etc. for much of the novel.
On the bright side, Roshani Chokshi’s writing was a shining example of beautiful imagery as always, showcased against a magical wintry backdrop, and I did enjoy spending time with some of my favorite characters (especially sweet Laila and adorable Enrique). I also liked the addition of Ruslan, the nerdy, overeager Russian patriarch who’s introduced early on.
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I just didn’t feel like it lived up to its full potential. I may still read the third book in the series when it releases, but most likely without as much excitement as I had when I initially approached The Silvered Serpents.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
Warnings: rape of a child, date rape, overdose, death, suicide, self harm, forced eating of human waste, blackmail, violence/gore, murder, drowning, drug addiction, racist comment from a side character that wasn’t really addressed, sexual content
This is one of those books that leaves you utterly astonished at how ridiculously intelligent the author is.
Ninth House is incredible!! Captivating and twisty (and I was able to guess one of the twists, but a lot of the time I was totally shocked), and so so much fun to read. (Fun as in, you’re so into it that the stuff that’s happening stresses you out like when you watch a horror movie, but in a good way.)
Not only does Ninth House have plot going for it, it also has phenomenal characters. Dawes was my favorite!! But Turner and Darlington were wonderful as well, and even the small side characters had emotional pull. And of course, Alex, a fantastic protagonist who could be labeled “unlikeable,” but that really only makes her all the more endearing.
I won’t give too much away, since Leigh Bardugo drops you right in without exposition. I love the way the story was framed—alternating between past and present, slowly revealing crucial pieces of information.
With magical dark academia vibes, a killer storyline, and a map in the front of the book (!!) this novel is the full package. Highly, highly recommend.
Thanks for reading these mini reviews! Have you read either of these books? I’d love to hear what you thought of them in the comments. 😊