Audiobook Review: Forging Silver and Stars (#1)

Published June 7th 2022

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Narrators: Cecily Bednar Schmidt, Nezar Alderazi, & Chase Brown

Audiobook Length: 17 hours 28 minutes

When ancient magic tests a newfound love, a dark fate beckons . . .

Magic has been banished in the land of Syhl Shallow for as long as best friends Jax and Callyn can remember. They once loved the stories of the powerful magesmiths and mythical scravers who could conjure fire or control ice, but now they’ve learned that magic only leads to danger: magic is what killed Callyn’s parents, leaving her alone to raise her younger sister. Magic never helped Jax, whose leg was crushed in an accident that his father has been punishing him for ever since. Magic won’t save either of them when the tax collector comes calling, threatening to take their homes if they can’t pay what they owe.

Meanwhile, Jax and Callyn are astonished to learn magic has returned to Syhl Shallow — in the form of a magesmith who’s now married to their queen. Now, the people of Syhl Shallow are expected to allow dangerous magic in their midst, and no one is happy about it.

When a stranger rides into town offering Jax and Callyn silver in exchange for holding secret messages for an anti-magic faction, the choice is obvious — even if it means they may be aiding in a plot to destroy their new king. It’s a risk they’re both willing to take. That is, until another visitor arrives: handsome Lord Tycho, the King’s Courier, the man who’s been tasked with discovering who’s conspiring against the throne.

Suddenly, Jax and Callyn find themselves embroiled in a world of shifting alliances, dangerous flirtations, and ancient magic . . . where even the deepest loyalties will be tested. 

Forging Silver and Stars is the beginning of a new trilogy set in the Cursebreakers universe. This series begins about four years after the ending of the original trilogy where events and characters are referenced and there is some crossover, but the two series could potentially be read independently. As I was not a fan of how the Cursebreaker series ended, I was nervous about beginning this one. I enjoyed the world and the general idea of both series, so I decided to give this one a shot. While this novel ended well enough, the first novel in the Cursebreaker series was the same before it went downhill, so I will have to see how the next one turns out before deciding to finish the series or not.

The story follows 19-years-old Tycho, who works in the service of the king. This character was originally introduced as a stablehand in A Heart So Fierce and Broken (second novel in the Cursebreakers series). Instead of mainly being in Rhen’s Emberfall, the series is set in Shyl Shallow with Grey, who is now king and married to Lia Mara. During Tycho’s travels he discovers the Truthbringers, a rebel group with defeating Grey as one of their goals. Tycho is meant to find disperse the Truthbringers when he ends up among them in the form of residents of Shyl Shallow.

Along with Tycho, the story follows Jax, an 18-years-old blacksmith who lost his foot in an accident, and Jax’s best friend, 18-years-old baker, Callyn, who both reside in the small village of Briarlock in Shyl Shallow. These two characters become entangled with the Truthbringers and things becomes complicated when they meet Tycho is searching for the group. The three characters become entangled in a plot with shifting alliances and growing feelings. There are some romances that form among these characters along with some other secondary ones that were interesting, and I cannot see how they develop. Some of them are better written than others, but there is room to expand on them.

As for the leaders of the two kingdoms, Rhen and Grey, it was both good and bad to revisit their relationship. While reading this novel, it came across that Kemmerer does not know fully how to handle Grey and Rhen as they read differently in the two series. While I can understand the story through different perspectives and circumstances, the two of them just did not align to be the same. Their relationship is complicated as there is a lot in their past that still lingers; however, it seems this was left on the sidelines in favor of focusing on the new storylines with sprinkles of the lingering ones.

Overall, the friendship between Jax and Callyn was very well-written. It was nice to see how their already established relationship played out on the page as they begin to interact with new characters. Tycho was a fantastic character and I loved exploring him in greater detail. It is interesting how Kemmerer kept the universe going with this new story and I hope that it turns out better, for me. This novel was a great introduction to the series, and I cannot wait to give the second novel a try.

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