Author: Jennifer Gruenke
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 9 minutes
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.
Of Silver and Shadow is a fun standalone story about a group of rebels who are trying to overthrow an evil king. While this base is familiar and used in many stories, the author had an excellent take on it by introducing fun characters and a very interesting magic system involving silver. There were moments that reminded me of elements from Avatar: The Last Airbender and I loved how it was integrated into the story. Many people also compare it to Throne of Glass, which I have not read, and can therefore not confirm or deny the comparison.
The novel is a multi-perspective tale, as there are four different points of view. The first is Ren, the “main” character who is an orphaned silver wielder. She must keep her magic a secret as only the royal family are allowed to use the magic and those discovered with it will be murdered. Darek, the head of the rebellion to join the fight to overthrow the evil King of Edris, recruits her. He believes Ren is the key to winning the war and begins to have complicated feelings for her. On the other side is Kellen, the youngest Prince of Edris, who does not fit in with his family. His father sees him as the useless and weak spare and Kellen would love to give up the life of a Prince. Last is Adley, an elite warrior for the King, who is in charge of destroying the rebellion. Although she sometimes dreams of leaving, she would be killed if she tried and she has a secret romance to protect. Although this was not the only main romance in the story (there is another enemies to lovers), Adley’s was my favorite and the one I rooted for the most. Although the synopsis makes it seem, as Ren is the only main character, I found myself invested in all four stories equally.
As this novel is currently a standalone, I was on the fence on the world building. There is a lot described, but I wanted to learn more about the magic, the history, and the setting. Due to this, the story relies more on the characters than the descriptions to carry the plot. The magic was interesting and I wanted to see how the characters connected more to their magic. Ren does a lot of performing with her magic, but I did not feel invested in her connection to it. I went back and forth on the pacing as I felt it was both fast and slow at the same time. The plot itself moved slowly where it did not feel that a lot happened in the first three-quarters of the book. On the other hand, I did enjoy going through each character’s journey as they interacted with each other and grew as individuals.
Overall, there were some nice twists and turns mixed in with some predictable elements, which made an interesting read. The audiobook for this story was well done as each of the four narrators had a unique voice yet blended nicely for the background portions. The ending does not wrap up every single plot presented in the novel. There is some open-endedness, which leaves room for the novel to be expanded later. I am on the fence about this, as I usually like standalones to wrap up everything in some way rather than leave some parts up for interpretation. On the other hand, the parts that were wrapped up were nicely done and enough to leave the reader feeling satisfied. Generally, I have mixed feelings about this novel, as it was not bad nor was it perfect. However, it did make me interested to read more for this author and I would gladly read more from her in the future!