Feb 23, 2015

The Silver Blade: Book Review

The Silver Blade by Sally Gardner

Well, here I am again dear readers, with the Review for “The Silver Blade”, sequel to “The Red Necklace.” Once I got this book in the mail, I finished it in two days. Then I made myself go back and read it over, so I could take things in a little better. (I tend to be a whirlwind reader.) I will try not to spoil the story too much but there will be some things given away since this is a wrap up. Reader Beware!

The Plot

This story focuses mostly on Yann, since Sido's story was pretty much tied up at the end of Red Necklace. It takes place during the Reign of Terror, when all of Paris's Citizens have gone utterly mad, slaughtering mercilessly and relentlessly. Yann, now nineteen, is smuggling innocent people into England, earning himself the name of “The Silver Blade”, struggling with a long distance romance with Sido and facing once again, Count Kalliovski.

It is equal to the Red Necklace in the way of Historical content, and wasn’t boring, though I didn't feel like the writing quality was quite as good, and I do wish that the story had been longer. It wasn't much shorter than it's prequel but I think there could have been more added to it.

The romance is more involved in this one, but it is still very sweet.

I noticed that some people have said that it had a lot of similarities with “The Scarlet Pimpernel”, and though I have never read that, I thought it was worth mentioning.

I was pleased with the ending, even if it was probably a little predictable.

The Characters:

Yann has grown much since our last meeting with him, though he has a demon or two to war with. He is still loyal and devoted to those he loves, and hates the bloodshed and insanity that has overtaken Paris.

Sido has matured into a lovely and determined young woman, residing with her Aunt and Uncle in England, and longing for the day when she can be reunited with Yann.

Kalliovski of course, is not dead, but thirsty for revenge and eager to carry out his much bigger plan-creating life itself.

We have some new faces added to the mix besides Tetu, Didier, Mousier Aulard, and the bankers Cordell and Laxton, including a new minion for Kalliovski. Anslem, a boy with a beautiful face, a thirst for blood and desire for the power of the Threads of Light, seems like he could have added a good bit to the evil side of things in the story, but in my opinion, just turned out lame.

Things I didn't like:

The Gypsy magic did become more involved in this book, and honestly it was pretty ridiculous. Kalliovski can now work the “Dark Threads” as opposed to Yann's “Threads of Light.” In his quest to find out how to create life, he wants to make a “key to the soul” (to a specific soul, but trying not to spoil) and it appears that now he can bind the souls of his victims to the Automata he has made of them. I didn't feel like he quite had as much depth as he did in The Red Necklace, and I didn't have the overwhelming urge to strangle him like I did before.

Yann's good luck charm, The Shell of Shells-worn only by the greatest Gypsy leaders-turns out to have great powers and will protect Sido even though she isn't of Romany blood.

Anis, Yann's mother, warns him and others of danger, and eventually visits Kalliovski and Sido.

An old Gypsy legend comes into play at the end, which is really strange, but I don't want to say what it is because it will spoil the entire ending.

As I said before, I felt that the writing quality wasn't equal to the first one, and Miss Gardner is not in the habit of explaining how certain things work. This being the wrap up to the story, I was expecting there to be some clarification and explanation, and I didn't get it. I was a bit confused by some of the things, especially the magic involving Kalliovski, and while I know this isn't a Fantasy Novel, I think she could have taken the time to figure some things out.

I did not get as much back-story on Kalliovski and Tetu as I had wanted, and being a fan of back-story, that was a disappointment.

Miss Gardner leads us to believe that one of the Characters is dead on three separate occasions. While it was shocking the first time, the second and third time around it felt too much like she was trying too hard to keep her readers in suspense.

Yann and Sido do eventually sleep together, but there is no description whatsoever of it, just that they wake up the next morning tangled up and Yann gets out of bed to pull on his clothes.

Yann finds that he is Kalliovski’s son, but is told by Tetu that Anis believed he was instead the “ghost (or spirit) child” of her one true love. While this is utterly ridiculous, Yann tells Kalliovski that it is because he is that man’s ghost child, that Kalliovski has no hold on him. The whole thing made no sense and was just confusing and unnecessary.

To Sum it Up

I did enjoy reading Silver Blade, Miss Gardner has created some wonderful Characters and an entertaining story, but I don't think it was quite as good as the first. The Gypsy legends and magic were just goofy and I wish it hadn't been so involved, but if you have read stories with Greek and Roman legends, I suppose it’s not that much different. As for a third book? I don’t think it’s needed, or even likely, since things are wrapped up quite nicely.

~Ria Faith

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