REVIEW: The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

THE SILVERED SERPENTS by the INCREDIBLE ROSHANI CHOKSHI.

DISCLAIMER: I received an e-ARC from Netgalley. This did not influence my opinion of the book in any way.

DISCLAIMER #2: I also received a free copy from Wednesday Books as well as a finished softcover of The Gilded Wolves. This did not influence my opinion of the book in any way.

SPOILERS: will CLEARLY BE MARKED AT THE END!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU TO ROSHANI CHOKSHI because she literally made my 2020. I am not joking. This sequel blew me away and I will be waiting for Book 3. First of all, the plot is so tightly written that there are no plot holes, which is great! There is a lot more action compared to TGW, which I really enjoyed. I LOVE SEEING THAT IN A SEQUEL!!! The world is already set up, and I’ve read TGW multiple times, so I remember what happened.

I was slightly worried that the romance between the main cast would take over the book, however, this is not the case in the slightest. The romantic moments are sweet, heartbreaking, and at times, wow. Roshani, just let them be together. *sobs over blank and blank* Roshani excels at writing slow burn romances and ones that I actually care about.

As for the characters? I will say that a certain someone got on my nerves. I am still reeling from redacted’s actions and have not recovered. Enrique, my favorite, is still my favorite and he’s a historian awkward nerd bookworm like me, so I would love him even if his characterization was different. Zofia surprised me because she got a lot more page time in this one, and I love her because she’s so much more relevant than redacted. And LAILA!!!! Wow. I love her as well. Also Hypnos.

The villains? Honestly, I read this ARC in July in less than two hours, so I don’t really remember. I do remember that I felt very surprised where Roshani took the story, in a good way! I forgot the history of the Order, so I will definitely be looking for that during my re-read.

The worldbuilding just gets better. There is a lot more in Serpents than Wolves, which I again loved so much. I want to see more forging in Book 3. However, I read this two months ago, and I paid more attention to the plot and characters, so I don’t have many thoughts right now on this part of the book.

Overall, this is my favorite sequel of 2020 and will likely be in my top 5 if not top 10 books of 2020. Roshani solidifies herself as an age category bending author because this book gets pretty dark towards the end. I would love to see Roshani write an adult fantasy or adult romance in the future because she is definitely capable of it (I’d go as far to say that this series grows with the readers: I was a freshman when I first read TGW and I am now a junior, and I can say that reading this almost two years ago would have been pretty intense in terms of the action). Also, the setting is freaking gorgeous. This is a perfect book in terms of craft and how it made me feel and actually, everything about it is perfect. Highly recommend.

SPOILER SECTION: turn back now if you have NOT READ SERPENTS!!!!!!! TURN BACK!!!! YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET SPOILED!!!!!!!!

Seriously, go away and read it if you haven’t then you can read this section.

If you’re still here, get ready to be spoiled!

I am so mad at Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. WHAT THE —-!!! I swear that that ending and cliffhanger is the BEST. It’s better than the one in Mark of Athena, which I didn’t have to wait for HOH to release because the whole series had already released. BUT THIS? 2021?!!!!! Roshani, please take your time because I would wait five years for the last book. I need time to feel the things Serpents made me feel.

THE ROMANCE? Laila oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!! Why do I suddenly ship her and Enrique or her and Zofia? COme on, does anyone see it? Just me? Also Enrique!!!! He needs to live. Hypnos? needs friends!!!!!! needs a good romance with someone who will also be there for him.

Yeah. I will never be over the perfection that is The Silvered Serpents. Roshani Chokshi, you are the best author and I am just so amazed that this book can impact me months later even though I forgot most of the plot.

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

Mini Life Update + Five 2020 Favorite Books (So Far)

I can’t believe the first week of school is almost over. For virtual learning, my week went pretty well. I wish we were back in the class because I like being in the room for class discussioons vs. just seeing everyone’s face. My favorite class is probably going to be AP Psychology because I am completely new to this subject. I also found a new way to help myself since I’ll be staring at the computer for a little over six hours some days: find new songs to listen to and close my eyes for 10 minutes OR read for 10 minutes while listening to the Merlin OST.

Let’s get to the fun part of this post: five books that I’ve loved so far in 2020 that were also published this year.

  1. IRON HEART by NINA VARELA – an excellent finale that had me mentally sobbing on the floor. I am so in love with this duology, and it really is the perfect conclusion. Crier and Ayla work so well together, and so do all of the other relationships. Additionally, this duology has two of my all time favorite covers. There are so many tiny details that I only caught when I looked at the cover a bit more closely. Definitely thinking of writing a fanfic for Crier and Ayla.

  2. NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU by KRISTINA FOREST – I ended my summer with a few books, and this is the one of two that I am still thinking about. I preordered this in July and got it the day after release day, which was awesome. Evie and Milo make the cutest team, and I loved that this book was a mystery while also being a light-hearted romantic ya novel. I Wanna Be Where You Are is also amazing, and I am going to try to re-read it before the end of this year.

  3. WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles – Wednesday Books sent me a free copy along with a few other cool items because I am a part of Shealea @ Shut Up Shealea’s Asian Bookish Creators Directory. This was probably the best moment of a very uneventful but also challenging summer mentally because it’s the first time I’ve received something like this. I highly recommend WDD because Kallia is amazing and fierce. I also love Demarco.

  4. THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS by Chloe Gong – I AM SO READY FOR THIS BOOK TO COME OUT!! I have something very exciting related to TVD that will be revealed towards the end of October/the beginning of November. DM me @solaceinreading_ if you want to know my fanpage username because this series is going to change the game, and I don’t say that about a lot of books. Juliette is another fierce character who I’d pay to teach me how to throw knives.

  5. INCENDIARY by Zoraida Córdova – I would love to see more people reading this: revolution, magic, sneaking into a palace, royalty with a secret, a very motivated main character who I love: these are all elements of an enticing and magical read. I love the fact that this book deals with courtly intrigue and what it’s like to be a part of the rebellion at the same time in an organic way. Renata is just trying to figure things out, and she is confident and ready to burn down the world for [redacted] or maybe [redacted] by the end of the book. I am so excited for the second book and will be waiting in a state of anticipation until it comes out!!!

I hope you’ll pick up these books because they are seriously amazing. Now That I’ve Found You is one the #1 best ya contemporary romance novels I’ve read this year because I love celebrity romances in YA, and the incorporation of the mystery is seamless.

The YA fantasy genre revived itself because of these authors (and many authors who I’d add to this list, and that would make this post over 5k words long. I will aspire to write a post that long if I can). Thanks to all of these authors because re-reading your books are going to help me get through this school year: I feel as though I can truly escape my everyday life with your words, and I appreciate all that you do.

Where Dreams Descend? More like Where the Best Book of 2020 Descends. Review for WDD by Janella Angeles.

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happy book birthday to the incredible @janella_angeles ! here i am as Kallia! Janella, she means so much to me. especially as a Filipino American girl who didn’t see people who looked like her in fantasy novels until Rin Chupeco’s Wicked As You Wish, which came out just this March! i hope i’ve done Kallia justice and to continue improving my cosplays and edits. i am about a third through WDD and know that it’s going to be a #1 book of 2020 for me! i love Kallia and her strength. (as well as Demarco ☺️) listen. somehow the best photo is of me mid blink. i have so much respect for cosplayers and once i did this, i have 200% more. you have to get dressed, find a good place, take the photo, take more, edit the photos, crop, edit more, then add to instagram, add a caption, and hope people like it. i tried adding a filter but swipe to see the original picture and tell me if you like it better!!! huge thank you to @shutupshealea for her Asian Bookish Creators Directory. without you, i never would’ve gotten connected with @wednesdaybooks and @lifeinfiction to receive this AMAZING book. the package came with some other amazing items that will def be in my other instagram photos of this book. all of you made my week. #wheredreamsdescend #wednesdaybooks #janellaangeles #book #Bookstagram #YABooks #kingdomofcards #kingdomofcardsbook1 #WDD #wednesdaydesign #kalliacosplay #Kallia #KalliaWDD #KalliaxDemarco #DemarcoxKallia

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Me as Kallia! I am a modern day version of her. Clothes are from Forever 21 2019 winter season, I forget where the boots are from, and you can’t see but I am wearing Fenty Beauty lip gloss (highly recommend).

Everyone, I have just read one of my #1 books of 2020 (I refuse to pick favorites because guess what? I’ve given up on choosing just ONE favorite because I don’t need to.). The other best books are: The Silvered Serpents, These Violent Delights, The Archer at Dawn, Incendiary, and A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. Side note: I could go on but then this would just be a best books of January to August 2020 list. I also haven’t read Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest yet and it’s just sitting at the bookstore WAITING FOR ME. So I need to wait before adding more books to my list of faves.

Listen: I am improving my review skills BUT I want to do something fun: an interview with and by myself. So: here is an interview with me, Isabella, from me, Isabella, about Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles: NO SPOILERS.

Me: Why did you want to read this? Naysayers might say it’s a knockoff Caraval.
Me: Who would say that? If so, you’re probably one of those who compares The Gilded Wolves to Six of Crows: WDD and Caraval are NOTHING ALIKE!!!! I’d say WDD is better because 1. It’s more interesting, and 2. Basically EVERYTHING.

Me: Ok but why? What made you continue reading?
Me: The cover, the plot description, the fact that this was in a book box, the fact that so many people I trust loved it! It starts off slow but builds to a crescendo that was so unexpected and incredibly well-done. In spite of the fact that I would rather have good worldbuilding and characters OR good worldbuilding and plot, this was an excellent combo of a plot and character driven story.

Me: So who was your favorite character?
Me:
Kallia. Absolutely. She is the protagonist of WDD, and is super ambitious. You know how there are those stereotypical “brooding bad boys” in YA? Or those girls like Aelin who want power but are just horrible people, so their thirst for power doesn’t read well? Kallia was a power-hungry, take no prisoners, brooding, secretive, angry, soft, and all around amazing heroine. She fights for herself in a world of sexism and in a world that is dominated by male magicians. However, Kallia also makes friends: I loved her friendship with Canary and with Aaros because she wasn’t using them. Kallia is a leader, but also knows that she doesn’t have to compete with the girls around her.

I’d also say that Aaros reminds me a bit of Kitay from The Poppy War. They have very different personalities, but both are there for their power-hungry friends no matter what, which I love! More friendships between girls and boys in YA are so needed.

And Canary! I would read a story with her POV for sure. I wish she played a bit of a bigger role instead of Jack, because the fact that she is in the Conquering Circus is so amazing and a lot cooler than Jack.

Demarco. Damn. It’s very rare for a love interest to captivate me since so many YA love interests are so alike (looking at Cardan, Rhysand, Rowan, Cal, Mal). Demarco was so sweet while also maintaining a hint of mystery around him (in a non-creepy way). It never felt like there was a power imbalance between him and Kallia.

Finally, Jack. Wow. This story’s villain wasn’t a person, more like sexism and girls being blamed for no reason. However, Jack was a super interesting character who I would also love to see more of. How did he get to Hellfire House?

Me: What did you think of the plot? Did the romance take over the story?
Me:
The plot was more character driven while also incorporating action at the right moments. Janella balanced her intense descriptions with action and snappy dialogue. However, Kallia’s thirst for power never felt overdone or out of place. After all, it’s Kallia who saw the world and said no thank you, while also maintaining a sharp and intriguing personality.

This book is like stepping into a fancy restaurant dressed up to eat fancy foods and to also have a bit of fun with a mysterious stranger. The descriptions of Kallia’s dresses, how Demarco sees her (wink wink), and the atmosphere all fit so well together. I just felt so empowered by how Kallia went after what she wanted while also being vulnerable at times.

The romance. Again, the fact that the LI asks for consent? One of the many reasons why I love Demarco. In fact, asking explicitly for consent? Hell yes.

Me: What do you want to see in the next book (no spoilers)?
Me:
Janella Angeles could go A LOT darker. I would say that this book is definitely not juvenile, but with that ending, Angeles has the skills to try to write more intenesly. I would also like to see more worldbuilding because again, Angeles has the skills. This book is a freaking debut and it really does not read like one. Angeles put so much into this book, and to see her take some risks to make the sequel straddle the line between YA and Adult fantasy would be amazing to see (however, the romance is so perfectly written. I wouldn’t change anything.). A darker sequel would just be so cool. I mean, come on. Kallia has powers and I want to see her fight someone with them.

Me: Songs you’d use to describe this book?
Me: Wow. Obviously anything Janella has said. For me personally? Fire on Fire, Surrender, The Man, Castle, Look What You Made Me Do, Movements by Pham, Bad B*tch, Hotter Than Hell, The Chain, Love to Hate It, Whatever It Takes, The Greatest, Nightmare, Monsters, Wicked Game, and You Should See Me In A Crown. All of these describe Kallia, and some describe Kallia and Demarco’s relationship.

Well, me, how do you feel?

I feel shocked. Kallia could rule my life. She is the embodiment of who I want to be: confident, stands up for herself, and doesn’t care what others think of her. Janella Angeles is a voice in YA who needs to be read. I look forward to Kingdom of Cards Book 2, and I hope anyone reading this will pick up Where Dreams Descend. If you like strong girls, intense magic, girls who hunger for power, girls who dominate, and a book that flips the roles of girls and boys in a romance, then this is the book for you. (Also, Kallia looks like me, so that’s cool! I guess I also added this to my Wikathon TBR because I read it in a little over a day.)