Review: Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke

Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke

Expected publication: February 16, 2021 by Flux

Pre-order this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


Synopsis: 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 won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.

Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s 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 King’s 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.

Review: ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Flux!***

This book was originally scheduled to be released in May and because of COVID got pushed back to February. So for once I am doing an ARC review very early. But I didn’t want to wait too long to write the review lest I forget what happened.

This one took me by surprise. I was intrigued by the cover but honestly it’s a pretty standard YA sci-fi/fantasy cover. The blurb sounded interesting but not anything I haven’t read before. I prayed that there wouldn’t be the typical YA love triangle, and there wasn’t so that was nice. I expected it to be a very typical YA book and nothing more. I was wrong.

Ren was a pretty good main character. She was a bit one-sided at times in that she she insisted that all she cared about was the money when it was clear from her actions that she cared for a lot more than that. That got annoying. It was mostly like she was trying to convince herself that she didn’t care. But I did like her spunk and enjoyed following her through the story.

Darek was probably the most useless character in the book. He was the stereotypical tall, dark, handsome, brooding YA male lead. He doesn’t break any of the models here and fits the character well but wasn’t very compelling.

I adored the relationship between Adley and Lesa, and I loved them separately too. At times I was horrified by them and other times I was overcome with sympathy for them. I wanted their story to have a happy ending so badly.

Kellen was a delight to the story. I expected him to be the typical charming, sarcastic Prince who didn’t want to be. And in some ways he was but he also displayed a lot more depth than that.

The worldbuilding in this book was spectacular. The world was created with so much detail and depth, I could picture every inch of it. The politics, classes, social structure, all of it was rendered in beautiful detail.

What ultimately clinched this book for me was the ending. I was shocked. I was completely taken by surprise. In hindsight I can see the blocks that were put in place for this ending and I should have seen it coming. But I was enjoying other parts of the story so much that I didn’t pay enough attention and missed the clues. It was wonderful and I hope there’s another book planned. I need to know what happens next.


6 thoughts on “Review: Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke

  1. You need to know what happens next, but is this book satisfactory if there never is another?

    I’ve gotten zinged when a reader reached the end of the first book in a clearly labeled trilogy which was complete in itself by that point. Readers don’t always know what they like until they see it.

    1. I always prefer that a story be self-contained but able to be expanded, even if it’s a planned series. To me that makes the best reading experience. In my ever increasing age I tire of “cliff hanger ending…next book coming in 1 1/2 years!”. It doesn’t do it for me anymore.

      As for this one, yes I would say it would be a satisfying story without another book. It was a satisfying ending and I would be content if that was the end. But I sincerely hope it isn’t.

      1. Honestly, I am not a fan of Tolkien’s style. I enjoyed the movies and so tried to read the books but I just couldn’t get into them. Tolkien takes purple prose to another level entirely.

        At one point I found myself reading a two page description of the leaves on a tree…just the leaves, and thought “I can’t do this for that many more pages” and stopped reading.

        I am okay with uncertain endings, so that is the way to handle such an expansive series I think. For example, the troupe riding off from that adventure and on to the next one. If the next story never comes than you can be satisfied that this part of the adventure was over. Cliff hangers though require the next part of the story, quickly is preferable or else the reader forgets what they read. A “The End?” ending is just fine for me as long as that portion of the story has concluded.

      2. I read it in college, in one weekend, in shock that such a thing existed. I can still remember that reading. I rather liked the style – modern stuff (I may be older) rarely has that effect.

        I don’t like cliffhangers – they cheat.

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