Book Review: ‘A Crown for Cold Silver’ by Alex Marshall

Posted: 20 June 2016 in Book reviews
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A Crown for Cold Silver follows a series of characters as they prepare for war. 20 years after Zosia secretly abdicated the throne, she is attacked, her husband killed, and the villagers they looked over slaughtered. Her only choice is to avenge their deaths and kill the one she believes responsible: Queen Indsorith. To do so, Zosia must find the other four Villains and amass an army. But rumour has it that she already is. All around are whispers of a woman with cobalt blue hair gathering an army. With everyone assuming her dead for the past 20 years, this is quite the surprise, especially for Zosia. What the people don’t know is that this woman is an imposter. The girl struggles leading the army as many are disenchanted to learn that she isn’t actually the Cobalt Queen. Since Zosia and her have the same goal, Zosia helps her as a general, along with a couple of the other Villains. Together, they are finally able to move towards their goal. Or so they thought.

There is one problem though. Zosia assumes that Queen Indsorith is the culprit behind the destruction of her life. But what if she’s wrong? What if it was actually the Black Pope, the leader of the Burnished Chain? What if the attack was orchestrated as a means to root out Zosia for their own evil reasons? Queen Indsorith realises this and sends the one person that has any chance of relaying this message to Zosia: Sister Portoles. The delivery of this message seems impossible as Portoles was one of the ones that helped destroy Zosia’s village. The war nun knows that Zosia won’t listen to her, but as she’s the only one that knows what the aged ex-queen looks like, it is up to her to find her and avert the destruction that is inevitably going to happen.

As the Villains come together once again, Colonel Hjortt leads his army, directed by the church and his desire to avenge his murdered son, against pretender Ji-hyeon who is on a quest to bring down the empire. The biggest battle in history is being orchestrated with results that bring about an evil none could have ever imagined.

My Thoughts

I got this book at the New York Comic Con 2015 as a gift for signing up for a newsletter. Naturally, I’m not one to say no to a book, let alone a free one. After reading it, I’m not so sure it was worth it.

The story itself wasn’t horrible. There were many elements that were interesting. There were interesting monsters, a clearly well developed history and world, and the premise was good, an ex-queen seeking revenge for the destruction of her life and those she cared about. I liked the idea of a badass warrior queen. It can get very annoying having a female lead who has to fall in love at some point or end up with the guy. Zosia isn’t like that at all, which is great. The problem is that the main character is supposed to be this warrior queen Zosia. It really isn’t. According to the synopsis on the dust jacket, the story is to follow her. Nope. Yes you meet her in the first chapter, but you don’t know it’s her and it isn’t her POV. Zosia isn’t named until chapter 7. The book follows a ton of other people you aren’t expecting. While that isn’t a problem, if the synopsis claims to follow a character, you shouldn’t be meeting them 50 pages in. It’s confusing.

I liked how sexually fluid most of the characters were. That was a very positive point in my opinion. They weren’t really bothered about who slept with whom. Even one of the male Villain’s had a husband and it was arranged. There was really a lot of creativity in this book and it was clearly very thought out. It’s just the delivery was less than desirable.

One element I felt was missing was a world map. This may not be a big deal to some, but with how vast it seemed this world was, for myself, having a map would have made it easier to reference the movement of the characters with all the place name-dropping.

As for the characters, there was much to be desired. The Villains are like older people who keep trying to act hip and relevant. Zosia reminds me of a biker chick. The biggest issue I had with the characters was their lack of substance. Zosia wants revenge, but her general lack of emotion makes this seem laughable. She is so emotional barren that she won’t even mourn the death of her husband. She is arrogant, self-absorbed, cocky, and all around a poor main character. Sullen, Villain Maroto’s nephew, is weak for 95% of the book. Maroto is an ex-druggie (mostly) who is obsessed with Zosia. He could have been cool, but he is a shell of his former self. I guess it’s a sign of what happens when you use drugs. And he honestly doesn’t get better throughout the entire book. Disappointing. Sister Portoles is a somewhat decent character. She is a religious fanatic who enjoys sinning. The way she is treated reminds me of my experiences with religion (other than being a fanatic) and how I was treated. Yeah. As for the rest of the characters, I can’t be bothered to pour out more negative thoughts about them.

I found the writing to be very sub-par. There was way too much going on with the story. Sometimes it isn’t a problem, especially when the story is fast-paced and interesting. This isn’t one of those books. There is so much unnecessary description and whatnot. If it had been edited properly, the book could have been half the size and likely much better. This book does not need to be 646 pages. Not at all.

All in all, this book is too long and drawn out to be enjoyable. I couldn’t bring myself to read the last 7 pages until almost 2 weeks later and even then it was forced. It could have been really great, but falls a long way short. There’s a part of me that wonders if it would even be worth it to read the sequel (which probably could have been included in this book had the editor done their job). If you think me wrong and overly critical, let me know why. Otherwise, if you decide to attempt this book, good luck.

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