Silver in the Bone

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Silver in the Bone
Age Range
14+
Release Date
April 04, 2023
ISBN
978-0593481653
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken cements her status as one of the top fantasy authors writing today in this stunning 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. . . .

Editor reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
3.7(3)
Characters
 
4.3(3)
Writing Style
 
4.0(3)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A(0)
consuming YA epic fantasy adventure
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
SILVER IN THE BONE is an epic YA fantasy about family, adventure, and community. Tamsin is a Hollower, part of a guild that seeks out magical artifacts for a price. Tamsin is a bit unusual, having been brought into the fold by her guardian despite the fact that she has no magical ability unlike most in the guild. She and her brother Cabell have been scraping by for the past seven years since their guardian left them to seek something unknown. Tamsin has closed her heart and focused her life on breaking her brother's curse and keeping him safe, something that would become much easier if she had additional means.

Therefore, when a sorceress offers her a shocking amount of money to track down a particular artifact, the servant's ring, she jumps on the chance, even when her competition is Hollower royalty and her nemesis, Emrys. Their journey will take them through Arthurian legends and the magic descended from it as they seek their dangerous prize, forging a tentative alliance. Together, and along with an aspiring sorceress, they will journey to unexpected and dangerous other lands which are dealing with their own, very real, enemies.

What I loved: This was quite the epic adventure with nary a dull moment. There is much happening right from the start with so many players and dangers along the way as they seek the ring and find even more than they expected. Magic and legend play a role in the story as it unfolds. Beyond the main mystery of the ring, there are many other mysterious plots that really keep the reader hooked, wanting to understand what happened to Tamsin and Cabell's guardian all those years before plus the curse on Cabell, Tamsin's own origins, and the corruption of the lands where they find themselves.

This is a deeper and darker story than I had initially anticipated, dealing in betrayals, death, grief, and loss, and the failings of humanity. There are many twists and turns in the story, told from the perspective of Tamsin, whose heart has been hardened by her life and the way people relate to her. She has frequently felt abandoned by her birth family and then by her guardian, and she has trouble with trusting others or seeing the reason to even bother to hope for the best. As she begins to form a group that she works with, her views on the world will be questioned and reevaluated with her feelings towards them, moving to a found family type of angle (though nothing so simple).

These themes around family and trust are central to Tamsin's story, but other themes around hope, desire, power, betrayal, abuse, and grief/loss were also really powerful in the story. Beyond Tamsin, other characters are also dealing with their own feelings around complicated family and tragedy, though the ways that they have transformed their challenges differs by the person. As the main character, readers will certainly find Tamsin compelling, but those she interacts with are also really consuming and intriguing. Emrys is a character that we begin to learn more about during the book, torn between his feelings towards his legacy and family and his own desires. His arc is just beginning. Others that they meet along the way are also compelling and complex, such as the aspiring sorceress and those that they meet in the other world, Avalon. It will definitely be interesting to see how they evolve in future books.

What left me wanting more: Based on the description, the connections with Arthurian legend were expected to be quite strong. These almost felt very background, with tenuous connections at best. It was more of a story told within the events of the book than a deeper tie to the legend. The length of the story felt fairly long in places, as there is a lot of intricate facts, events, and people to learn about. Overall, I enjoyed getting so much of the story in one book, but it does take a lot of mental energy to process.

As a small thing, the book ends with quite a few big cliffhangers that will leave readers gasping for the next book. Smaller mysteries are tied up by the end, but there are some really big ones that will have to wait - and it will be tough to do so!

Final verdict: SILVER IN THE BONE is a consuming epic YA fantasy that takes the reader for quite the intense ride. Recommend for fans of LORE, ONCE & FUTURE, and EVER THE HUNTED.
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A Quest to Avalon
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken is the first in an Arthurian inspired fantasy series about a young girl and her quest to break her brother’s curse. Tamsin Lark has spent her whole life protecting her brother Cabell and bringing him back to himself when his curse takes control. After their guardian went missing 7 years ago, Tamsin has poured herself into research harboring anger for Nash’s disappearance and fear that her brother would be next. When a sorceress offers to pay Tamsin an exorbitant amount of money for an ancient artifact, Tamsin can’t refuse.

Going into this story, I expected magic and mythology colliding, I pictured a medieval fantasy with knights and sorceresses. I was half right. This book is actually set in present day, magic is real yet hidden, and Tamsin and her brother are in the know. They are Hollowers, a glorified term for thieves and grave robbers who search out ancient artifacts for other magical entities. Their job is both exciting and dangerous, but also doesn’t pay well. With the disappearance of their guardian, Cabell and Tamsin are on the outskirts of their society, looked down upon, and often receive jobs that barely cover the bills. It also doesn’t help that Tamsin does not have the One Vision, what they call magic in this world.

While the entire story is told from Tamsin’s perspective, there are four main characters: Tamsin, Cabell, Emrys, and Neve. Cabell is Tamsin’s brother and the main drive behind her actions. Emrys Dye is her nemesis. He is the golden boy of one of the richest Hollower families, and he happens to be on the same job as Tamsin. I don’t want to spoil Neve as we don’t know much about her until midway through the story, but I love her.

This book is nonstop action taking us from Boston to the isle of Avalon. The magic system is complex, but not hard to follow. The characters are amazingly and wonderfully flawed. They are human in every way, and I could easily see myself meeting them on the street. I fell in love with the world, even though it is quite brutal. The way Bracken takes history and mythology and shapes it into her own storytelling is nothing short of brilliant. The imagery leaps off the page and is vivid enough to picture in my mind as I was reading. Fully immersive and unable to stop reading!

Overall I really enjoyed Silver in the Bone. Tamsin’s narration, her own struggles with magic, and what she finds throughout her quest is both heartbreaking and inspiring. And the end....I need book two yesterday please. Highly recommend for fans of Avalon and fantasy.
Good Points
-Immersive world-building
-Wonderfully flawed characters
-Exciting and twisty plot
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Arthurian Legend Inspired
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What I Liked:
Silver in the Bone is a story inspired by Arthurian Legend that starts in the modern world but soon travels to Avalalon. Silver in the Bone is way darker, bloodier, and creepier than expected. Avalon has been corrupted by dark, mysterious zombie-like creatures, which makes for a horror-type story that turned me off. I was not a fan of that at all, and the gruesome death scenes were also a big turn-off.
Final Verdict:
Silver in the Bone starts with an introduction to a fantastic world where humans have magic, except for Tasmin, tell she does. Parts of the story dragged but then picked up when we entered Avalon. I was surprised by the twists and violence in the last half of the book. I was not a massive fan of some of the parts of this story; I am intrigued enough by the ending and left with questions to want to check out the rest of the series.
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