Silver in the Bone
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: Silver in the Bone #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: April 4th, 2023 (Knopf BYR)
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Teen Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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…
Hollowers, mortals born with magical gifts, often take on jobs to retrieve ancient treasures from crypts and other cursed places. Tamsin, who has no magical talent of her own, was never meant to be a Hollower, but when her foster father Nash disappears without a trace on one of his jobs, turning to this life was the only choice for her and her brother Cabell to survive. Years later, rumors surface that Nash had a powerful Arthurian artifact when he disappeared, a ring that Tamsin believes could cure Cabell of a curse he has suffered from all his life, and she is determined to find it, even if she has to work with her arch-rival Emrys to do so. But they are far from the only two looking for this ring, and the mission quickly takes a turn, leaving them stranded far from home with danger and dark magic on all sides, and a deadly plot unfolding in the shadows.
💭 Initial Thoughts: Literally every book I’ve picked up by this author has been an amazing read for me, so I don’t hesitate to add her books to my TBR now. The combination of fantasy and mythology is one I’ve really come to enjoy in recent years, so I’ve been looking forward to this book for months now and was so excited when I got an eARC!
🌎 Plot, World building & Atmosphere: After reading Lore, I was anticipating this to be something on a similar scale, but this turned out to be quite different. Arthurian mythology was used as the setting of this story, but it didn’t have the feel of a mythology retelling. The lore was used more as a plot device rather than the driving force for the story – which is not a bad thing, but it would have been lovely to delve into this in the same manner as Lore. As for the mythology and stories mentioned, I don’t know enough to say if it was accurate or not, however, it was thoroughly entertaining.
This turned out to be urban fantasy, which I was not expecting, nor was I too happy about it since the genre has always been hit or miss for me. However, the large part of this book doesn’t take place in the modern world and that made it easier for me to read it like I would any other fantasy novel. The sequel however, probably won’t be the same, given how things were left at the conclusion of this book, so I’m a little wary, but the plot has me intrigued enough that I know I’ll definitely pick it up. This reminded me a bit of Legendborn – the Arthurian themes of course, but also with the medieval, mythological and modern all criss-crossing.
The magic system was fun and I’m hoping to learn more about it in the sequel seeing as there wasn’t much focus on it in this book. I loved the world-building and I thought that the depiction of the isle of Avalon which was so completely the opposite of what all the characters were expecting to see was a great twist. It goes without saying of course, that I enjoyed the way the legend of Arthur was woven into the tale and while there was a lot going on initially plot-wise, making it feel a little overwhelming, everything was explained very well as the story unfolded without ever having info-dumps.
✍🏻 Writing & Narration: The author’s writing style and dialogues have always been one of my favorite things about her works and this book was no exception. The pacing could have been a bit better, it did drag at times, but the action packed scenes later largely made up for it. The narration style made this an engaging read despite being a bit long and it kept me turning the pages, making this hard to put down.
👥 Characters: This was a single POV novel, narrated entirely from Tamsin’s perspective. While I would typically expect multiple POVs for this scale of fantasy, this narration style worked rather well. The characters were all reasonably likeable or atleast interesting and even the secondary characters had some extent of character development. Tamsin was a very intriguing character who was badly affected by the events and trauma from her past which made it hard for her to trust anyone, but I loved that despite all this, the story did lead to a lovely found family trope. I’m really curious to know more about Tamsin’s past, there are still many unanswered questions there. Admittedly though, my focus was almost entirely on the plot and there was just so much going on there that I barely had any time to consider the characters more carefully.
🎬 Ending: Multiple things about the way this book wrapped up left me quite shocked. First, there were atleast three times in those last five or six chapters that made me think that this was the ending – surely there couldn’t be any more twists now, so much has already happened – and then there was yet another twist. And that’s not even starting on the cliffhanger this book closed on. The last quarter of the book was just one thing after another in quick succession and made for a rather epic ending.
❓ Final Thoughts & Recommendation: So this was one of the titles I predicted would be on my best of shelf this year, and while it didn’t quite make it, this was a phenomenal read and an exceptional start to a new series. Silver in the Bone was a thoroughly engrossing book and I can’t recommend it enough – another fabulous read from Alexandra Bracken! I can’t wait to see where the sequel will go, I have so many questions!! Fantasy fans, make sure this is on your spring/summer TBRs, it’s definitely worth the read!
Silver in the Bone releases on April 4th, 2023.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.
Haha, it happened to me where I think it would be the ending and it wasn’t. I haven’t read this book though. Thank you for this lovely review!
Great post! I’m glad you enjoyed the narration of this book. The POV can really make or break a novel. Thank you for sharing 🙂
When you find an author that delivers, yes you add them to your TBR for sure. You’ve given the impression of an adventure beautifully woven.