Roshani Chokshi | The Silvered Serpents (Wednesday Books)

416 pgs. | $18.99 hardcover, $10.99 paperback, $7.38 Kindle Edition

I might be completely confused after reading The Gilded Wolves (I was never one for puzzles), but the mystery and danger of the world and my love for the cast Roshani Chokshi introduces in the first book was enough for me to pick up its sequel, The Silvered Serpents.

The sequel to The Gilded Wolves trilogy brings us back to 19th century France, with the group (Severin, Laila, Zofia, Enrique) recovering from their loss despite knocking down the Fallen House a few pegs. The family bond and close relationships they’ve formed with each other continue to be a strong asset of the series, with Laila’s love for baking, Enrique’s love for food and rambling passionately about history, and Zofia’s love for creating various inventions. There’s the added addition of Hypnos who inserts himself into the group just wanting to find a place that will accept him for who he is and has become just as lovable (although dramatic and almost always with a flourish).

While the others are ready to move on with their lives (and Hypnos trying to fit in), Severin hasn’t recovered from the loss, being hit the hardest. And the little taste of power from the Fallen House during his encounter with them in book one is just enough for him to pursue a lead for an artifact that could grant the power of God and (hopefully) solve of all of their problems. He’s a jerk (even more so in the terribly bland narration of the audiobook for his chapters), and circles around the idea of being Godlike while also distancing himself from the others. But he’s someone who falls between the lines of hero and villain depending on which character you ask, and you never know which side he falls on. Severin believes he’s heading towards the goal of giving him and everyone else a better life with his actions and choices, but is he really?

Chokshi’s writing is gorgeous, with beautiful prose worthy of being highlighted throughout as the crew ventures into Russia, following a trail of riddles, secrets, and unsolved murders. It’s just as much adventure as the first one, with the book exploring what one would do to protect the ones they care about, especially for Severin. After the events of The Gilded Wolves, his need to protect everyone else is emphasized even more so, leading him to make decisions throughout the sequel that could potentially create a rift in his relationship with them and ones we won’t see until the final book, The Bronzed Beasts.

While the ending is memorable, I personally felt the rest of the novel was there for the sake of fleshing out the characters more and building up anticipation for the third book than building out the world further. Regardless, The Silvered Serpents is a solid sequel to The Gilded Wolves, and much like my feelings with the first novel, it’ll be my love for the characters that’ll have me picking up the final book along with wanting a sense of closure. | Hannah Sophia Lin

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