~ Book Review: Silver in the Bone (Silver in the Bone #1) (ARC) ~

Expected publication April 4, 2023

Author: Alexandra Bracken

A series opener inspired by Arthurian legend and fueled by love, revenge, and pure adrenaline!

Tamsin Lark didn’t ask to be a Hollower. As a mortal with no magical talent, she was never meant to break into ancient crypts, or compete with sorceresses and Cunningfolk for the treasures inside. But after her thieving foster father disappeared without so much as a goodbye, it was the only way to keep herself—and her brother, Cabell—alive.

Ten years later, rumors are swirling that her guardian vanished with a powerful ring from Arthurian legend. A run-in with her rival Emrys ignites Tamsin’s hope that the ring could free Cabell from a curse that threatens both of them. But they aren’t the only ones who covet the ring.

As word spreads, greedy Hollowers start circling, and many would kill to have it for themselves. While Emrys is the last person Tamsin would choose to partner with, she needs all the help she can get to edge out her competitors in the race for the ring. Together, they dive headfirst into a vipers’ nest of dark magic, exposing a deadly secret with the power to awaken ghosts of the past and shatter her last hope of saving her brother. . . .

Silver in the Bone (#1)
Untitled (#2)

Silver in the Bone is the first novel is a series of the same name inspired by an Arthurian legend. After experiencing the author’s other novel, Lore, I was curious how she would take on this tale. While there are some tie-ins to the legend, I think I was just expecting more. It was not a negative, but it was just something I noted as it seemed to be marketed as more of a retelling of the legend than it was. The story begins like most novels where the pacing is slower; however, it does still take a bit for the reader to get their bearings. The tale follows Tamsin Lark, a Hollower, whose brother, Cabell, is cursed. The explanation for a Hollower is not initially given to the reader, which was unexpected as it took me a minute to understand what they were, so I do wish there was a little more lead-up into this world. There is the legend of an Arthurian ring that can help break the curse, so Tamsin and Cabell set out on an adventure.

Tamsin was an interesting character as she is her own worst enemy at times and can be frustrating for a reader to follow her bad decisions. Given her past, a lot of her character is understandable. As a relic hunter, she has a fierce personality yet still vulnerable, especially with her brother. There is some character growth in this novel, but there is still a lot of room for further exploration in the sequel. Along her journey, Tamsin reluctantly works together with her rival, Emrys. The two get off to a rocky start but begin an expected budding romance. With Emrys’s motivations and backstory a mystery, there is a lot of possibility with his character. I loved the chemistry and banter between Tamsin and Emrys. There is no definitive direction for the romance in this novel, so there are many things that could happen with it in the future.

There is some nice found family elements in this story, which are always enjoyable. I love romances in stories, but found family is an extremely close second to my favorite storylines. With found family, I found it is a great way to learn backstories and motivations without it feeling forced plus I love the relationships that form. With Neve and Emrys, I feel there is so much more to learn, so I cannot wait to see what else is revealed in the sequel. As siblings, Cabell and Tamsin already have an established relationship at the beginning of the story, but I loved watching it change and grow as they move through their journey.

The first portion of the novel did leave me on the fence about continuing sometimes, but the last part made up for it. There is a cliffhanger at the end, so now I am anxiously waiting for 2024 as I want to see what happens next. With the beginning of the novel being faster and the ending of the novel being chaotic, in a way, the novel does go on a huge roller coaster ride in terms of pacing. It took me a while to gain my bearings and understand everything yet there is still room for development and to have it all come together. There are parts in the middle that I believe could be cut as it dragged a bit too much. As the pacing was up and down, the novel, unfortunately, did feel like its actual length. I think tightening it up by omitting some pages could have helped this and it would have flown by and be a novel I would not want to put down. Overall, this novel was a little rocky, but there is a lot of potential and does make me intrigued to check out the sequel in the future.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Knopf Books for Young Readers, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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