Philip P. Ide

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blog:book_reviews:fantasy:casey_white:silvertongue

Silvertongue

Silvertongue
Silvertongue is the first in a series named “Remnants of Magic”, and both the title of the novel and the series become readily apparent in the first scene. Speaking of the first scene, it's a big one at 100 pages spanning eleven chapters, but don't let that put you off - it's one hell of a scene. The story kicks you straight into the action and that first scene is a long and continuous battle - and the poor protagonist (Jon) hasn't got a clue what's going on or why he's roped into this.

It's hard to talk about this story without spoilers, but there's a familiar theme here - Jon has to accrue allies, all of which become useful as he is attacked again and again by different groups. It's a big story, spanning 586 pages, most of which depicts life-and-death battles for survival, so hang on to your hats for a wild ride!

Casey writes her novels by first writing them as serials published on her websites before collating, editing and polishing them. Andy Weir's The Martian began life this way - it worked for him, and it seems to work well for Casey too.

The story is pretty intense, because most of it is either about this or that battle, or preparing for the next one - and poor old Jon and his crew, try as hard as they might, never seem to be ready enough because their aggressors keep upping the ante.

The cast of characters is large, but they get introduced just a few at a time, so it's pretty easy to get a handle on each one before more join the fray. Each character is very nicely defined with personality, skills, ambitions, motivations and cares. This is just as true for each of the antagonists - of which there are many - and in a story like this, that's a crucial element.

The magical system is very nicely defined too. Only a select few are able to cast magic. They have the ability to use any type of magic, but they need a bit of help, and that help confines them to a very limited ability. A good way of thinking about it is they gain a superpower - unique to each caster. Just as importantly (to the magic system) is there are more casters than the 'help' (I'm really struggling not to give spoilers here) - and that creates a toxic environment where murder is commonplace. Even better, when a caster (who was able to cast) dies, their body turns to dust, neatly avoiding problems with law enforcement. Brilliant!

There are problems with the story. There's an awful lot of stammering, there are typographical mistakes galore, the misuse of words and inconsistencies (concrete steps changing to wood, changing hair colour and so forth), but nothing that gets in the way of the story. All of these things would have been ironed out if Casey had employed the services of an editor. It's for these reasons that I've only awarded 4.5 stars, but her grammar is very good and she really knows how to tell a story, so don't be put off.

The second installment in the series, Wanderer, is already available in novel form, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

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blog/book_reviews/fantasy/casey_white/silvertongue.txt · Last modified: 2019/11/30 14:04 by Phil Ide

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