The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

June 23, 2020

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

-- Synopsis --

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Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

-- Review --

Review of The Gilded Wolves

Hmmm... Review? Not so much. Rants and illogical thoughts? Most definitely.

This book doesn't release until September 2020, but I just finished reading The Gilded Wolves and I had to know what was next for Séverin and his team! I'm new to Chokshi's work, but this series has me HOOKED!! This author's words are inspired, reverent and relevant. I love history, especially mythological or religious history, and the way she filled this story with so much color, I was enthralled.

✳ A huge part of me sympathized and understood Séverin's actions and behavior. He had suffered such an unbelievable loss. A loss that even I was still coming to grips with. So him bowing out on things that humanize him or exploit his vulnerabilities made sense in a sad sort of way. However, another part of me wanted to shake him and yell in his face. I wanted him to lean on his friends because they were hurting too. Well, maybe don't lean on Laila. She was still all too selfish IMO. I just think he needed their support and comfort more than anything else.

✳ My bae was so busy trying to protect his heart from more pain and to protect those he cared about, he did just about everything he could to hurt them and push them away. It may not have been his intention, and I may have wanted to punch him in his back for some of his negligent words and deeds, but the end result was the same.

She couldn't live with his pity, and she would die at his apathy. All that remained was his silence. Laila wondered if that was the truest death - being slowly rendered invisible so that all she inspired was indifference.

✳ I was determined to understand Séverin's urgent need to find the book of the Divine Lyrics aside from the obvious. His lofty goals didn't seem to align with everything I had already learned about him. Was his grief warping his values? While his ambitions shared a marked similarity to what The Fallen House was seeking, maybe he felt that he was on the side of righteousness because his intentions were pure?

✳ I've been shipping Enrique and Zofia for a minute now. At first I wondered if there would be a polyamorous relationship between the two of them with Hypnos as a content top, but now I'm not so sure.

✳ I kind of guessed the huge plot twist almost from the beginning. It was weird that my mind already went there when there wasn't any real evidence to steer me that way, but when weird ish happens, I start figuring out the why and I was so freaking right!!

✳ Why didn't these so-called friends ever simply trust in Séverin. I get it. Truly I do. He wasn't acting as the man they had all come to know and love. I get it. However... wasn't he the one who plucked each of them from obscurity? Didn't he encourage, support and believe in them? He deserved better and I kept waiting for someone to speak up, confront him, and treat him the way he had always treated them. Imagine it was Hypnos, the newcomer, who was the one to have his back!

✳ Dear author... that scene at the end... Bittersweet. All of the answers, everything my bae did was right there at their fingertips. Please tell me that they actually see it!! Until I get some reassurance (the next book can't come soon enough!) I'm going to be over here crossing my fingers, my toes, and even my nose hairs hoping you gently coax me from this edge. Honestly, I need to find out the next book's release date STAT!!

Find your copy of The Silvered Serpents here:
Amazon * B & N * Kobo * iBooks

-- Excerpt --

The ice grotto resembled a sunken courtyard. Farther into the room, shallow steps descended to an empty floor bearing a single, jagged pool revealing Lake Baikal’s sapphire water. Splayed against the far wall loomed three, huge shield-like structures. If there was writing or symbols on them, the cobwebs of ice concealed it from view. Above those three shields appeared more carvings of women. They seemed to lean out of recessed niches within the ice wall, their arms outstretched and their hands…missing. When the light flashed over them briefly, they looked terribly lifelike.

The pale light of the stars above them only gradually revealed the room’s contents, but one thing was for sure…
There was no treasure here.
Laila’s heart sank, but she refused to be discouraged. Treasure liked to hide. She knew that well enough after two years of working with Séverin. As they moved to inspect the eastern wall, Enrique jumped back with a squeal. Laila whirled around, her pulse racing as she beheld what made Enrique nearly scream. When the light hit the eastern ice wall, the wall turned translucent and revealed the entire menagerie of animals they’d glimpsed moments ago.
“Interesting,” said Zofia. “A Tezcat wall connecting the menagerie that requires no key but light. That’s clever.”
“That’s horrific,” said Enrique. “Look at them…they’re awake.”

Laila turned slowly toward the creatures. Where they’d once slumbered, now they were awake. Each of their heads had turned to face them.
“I hereby volunteer to guard the door,” said Hypnos. “From the hall. Actually, the end of the hall.”
Séverin ignored him. “Let’s keep documenting. I want to see what’s down those stairs.”
“How?” asked Enrique. “It’s far too dark. We should come back with more light. I want lanterns trained just on that eastern wall.”
Then, Laila heard the unmistakable rrrip of a lit match. In seconds, Zofia had created a makeshift torch.

“Much better—” said Enrique, but his words were cut off by a sharp scream from Hypnos.
“Séverin, wait!”

Too late, Laila realized Séverin had broke off from the group, venturing toward the stairs at the far end of the grotto that led to the north wall. He didn’t wait. With his lantern aloft, Séverin took the first step—
Everything changed.
Time held still. As if in slow motion, Laila saw Séverin take a deep breath, his breath pluming in the air, the silver fog of it suspended for one perfect moment of silence…and then sound rushed in. From the eastern corner of the wall, the ice rhino crashed through the glass barrier. Shattered ice rained down, scattering across the floor. The rhino charged, a deep sound bellowing from its lungs. Out the corner of her eye, Laila watched as the other animals slowly came to life. A jaguar’s crystal fur rippled. It swung its head and pawed the ground.

The staircase had triggered life.
“Get back!” she called.
Séverin turned his head, but a small ball of ice launched at him from opposite the wall, splattering on his face and covering his mouth and nose in a cobweb of ice. He stumbled back, falling onto the stairs. Laila moved to run toward him, but the rhino blocked her way.
“Someone get him!” she called.
Zofia tossed her torch to Enrique and quickly threw an explosive net across the rhino.
“Ignite,” she willed.

Behind them, Hypnos dashed out into the hall, shouting for help.

The Forged net caught flame, and the rhino shrieked, exploding into a thousand shards of ice. Zofia and Laila ran to Séverin. They each grabbed one arm, hoisting him off the staircase. The moment he crossed the boundary, the ice animals once more fell still and silent. Laila pulled at the ice covering his mouth, but it was too slippery.
Laila grasped again, and again, but the ice only burned her hand and stuck fast to his skin. Her breath turned jagged inside her. She risked a glance at Séverin and wished she hadn’t. His pupils were blown wide, the veins of his throat bulging as he threw off her hands and started to claw at his face. He was dying right before her eyes.

-- About Roshani Chokshi --

Roshani Chokshi is the author of commercial and critically acclaimed books for middle grade and young adult readers that transport audiences to fantastical worlds heavily inspired by world mythology and folklore. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and has frequently appeared on Best of The Year lists from Barnes and Noble, Buzzfeed and more. Her New York Times bestselling series includes The Star-Touched Queen duology, The Gilded Wolves, and Aru Shah and The End of Time, which was recently optioned for film by Paramount Pictures.

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