Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken – ARC Review!

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. . . .

Being a huge fan of Arthurian lore, Silver in the Bone was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and, while as a whole I did enjoy it, this was definitely a book that could have used a massive dollop of development in a few key areas, so let’s start off with what I did enjoy… namely, the characters.

Tamsin Lark is someone who has lived in the magical world her whole life, with no way to truly access it. She was never meant for this life, but after being abandoned as a child and adopted by a Hollower she, and her adopted brother Cabell, find themselves embroiled in a life of sorceresses, magical artefacts and other Hollowers who look down on them. Tamsin is someone who will do whatever it takes to ensure her brothers and her own survival, whether that means taking the more dangerous Hollower jobs that no one else wants, or having to spend her spare time reading cards for a little extra cash. She is resilient and comes across as a little hard and unforgiving, but she has spent her life being abandoned by people and now finds it hard to let anyone in lest they leave her too.

Alongside Tamsin Bracken treats us to a strong cast of well built side characters the main ones being Cabell, Tamsins step brother who has the magical sight and, apart from a curse he has to constantly control, would fit better into the Hollower life than Tamsin ever could. Emrys, a fellow Hollower and Tamsin’s nemesis. He is the boy that has it all, the power, the money, the family… at least in Tamsins eyed, but Emrys carries a secret that shows his life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Neve, the Sorcerers who finds herself tagging along on the gangs journey to find the ancient relic. She longs to join the ranks of the sorceresses before her and learn more of her past. All of these characters have a common thread linking them together and that is they desperately want to fit in somewhere, but for differing reasons struggle to do so.

I also enjoyed the influx of Arthurian lore we get, Bracken puts her own spin on things taking us on a slight tangent from the story we may know and love, but we still get treated to the main players, as well as some new faces that bring a new depth to the story. But, as a whole, the world building would have been so much better with a little more development. There were so many parts of this story where it seemed like things were brushed over because the assumption was the characters understood what was happening, the Lore behind an item or event, but this just left me feeling a little out of the loop in parts and I felt like the characters were always one step ahead of me and, because of that, jumping to conclusions without giving up the explanation we needed to understand what was happening.

Brackens writing style was immersive and propulsive ensuring there were few lags in the story. There were a few pacing issues, however thanks to her descriptive writing style and the fact the story is filled with tension, high octane and emotion filled scenes, plenty of twists and turns as well as some truly creepy and eerie scenes, I still felt compelled by the story and wanted to read on to find what happens next. There was an almost enemies/rivals to lovers romance arc in that I adored. Seeing these two characters, one who has seemingly closed themselves off for fear of getting hurt, and the other who practically threw themselves at the other any chance they could get lead to some emotion and humour filled scenes, and I adored seeing their relationship develop throughout the book. Coming to lean on and trust one another, even with their deepest and darkest secrets.

Despite my issues with the pacing and the world building, the ending of this book ensured I will be reaching for the next book as soon as I can get my hands on it. Bracken wrote one killer cliffhanger that was rife with emotion and I am desperate to see where the story will go next.

8 replies »

  1. Awesome review, Becky and I couldn’t agree more! Even though I think the world-building could’ve been so much more developed, I really enjoyed the characters and I’m really curious to see where the next book brings our characters (especially with that sudden reveal at the end)! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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