Series: Silver in the Bone #1
Published by Knopf (4.4.2023)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 480 pages
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. . . .
“Three magics to be feared: curses born of the wrath of gods, poisons that turn soil to ash, and that which leaves one dark of heart and silver in the bone.”
I got this ARC at YALLfest last November, to my utter delight! It was one of my most anticipated 2023 releases, and one of the ARCs I wanted to get my hands on the most at the festival. To be honest though? I wasn’t sure how this one would go for me, because Bracken’s books have been really hit or miss for me in the past. I loved Darkest Minds, and enjoyed Passenger; but I DNFed Wayfarer and outright disliked Lore. Thankfully, this fell into the love category! Not quite as high as Darkest Minds, but it was really good!
I have always been intrigued by Arthurian legend and Avalon, but somehow the stories almost always fall flat for me (probably because it’s usually historical, which I don’t like). I found Bracken’s take on the legend to be refreshing and awesome! Also, the magic system was cool as shit!
This book was cinematic! I had zero problem picturing everything in my head. And I loved the setting! The opening scene in the Tarot shop was so cozy in an uncanny way. Then, the scenery did a complete 180 when we got to Avalon. And boy was it creepy! I loved everything about Avalon and how disturbing and twisted it had become. The Children of the Night were creepy AF! The first scene in Avalon when the Children attacked had me all
I was on the edge of my seat so many times! The writing is engaging and the pacing is fast, making this a quick read despite being nearly 500 pages. I was never bored, and many scenes had me gobbling pages up, eager for more!
Cait and the Nine were fucking BADASS! In the very first scene where they galloped in to save the day with flaming arrows, I admit I was a bit starstruck! The characters overall were fantastic, especially the side characters. Flea was hilarious, and even Ignatius the creepy sentient candlestick hand (as in, just a hand, like Thing, but mounted on a candlestick with an eye in the palm and wicks on its fingers) stole my heart and had me cracking up. My favorite, though, was definitely Neve. I loved her! We would 10/10 be friends in real life. The only character I didn’t really care about was Cabell. I don’t know why, exactly, but he was just meh and I wasn’t a fan. Which is a shame, because a major driving point of this book is Tamsin’s need to find a way to break his curse.
Um, that ending?! THAT ENDING?!?! Talk about a cliffhanger!!! View Spoiler »Emrys left with the ring wtf?! Bedivere was actually Arthur, but Lord Death took his body, wtf?!?! And Cabell turned to the dark side to join said Lord Death wtfff?!?! The ritual didn’t purify Avalon but restored it to its place in the real world, wtfffff?!?!?! Nash is aliiiive…well, I can’t say wtf for that because I knew he wasn’t dead and I just kept waiting for it. But EPIC reveal at the end anyway!
Also, Flea died and I am quite sad about it :'( « Hide Spoiler WHAAAA I need book 2 asap!!
Side note: I stan Griflet and he’d better be the mascot in book 2!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5