The much-awaited sequel to Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves, The Silvered Serpents picks up several months after the events of the first novel with the group struggling to accept the loss of one of their own, thus setting the mood for the rest of the novel. No longer a cohesive unit, we see the damage the loss caused each person, and it isn’t pretty. The group dynamic was one of the best things about the first book, and to see that torn apart through grief makes the sequel a difficult one.
Even the personalities are different. Always focused, Séverin is now almost heartless in his efforts to achieve his goal. The others are equally broken. Their interactions are stiff and awkward. Gone are the days of banter and fluid camaraderie that defined them. They still work together, but there is an air of desperation to their efforts that hurts.
Ms. Chokshi uses this grief to good effect though, utilizing it as a tool to help them achieve the object of their mission. Along the way, there are some predictable moments, and there are some brilliant ones. The slow-burn romance still exists, but that relationship grows beyond those boundaries into something much more complex and, frankly, adult. Other characters break their shackles and really start to shine, which helps ease the pain they continue to suffer.
The Silvered Serpents is fundamentally a story about loss and its aftermath. Sure, the group must find another Babel fragment, but that is only part of the story. And what a story it is. I literally read it in one sitting and now must wait to find out how it all ends. With an ending that is as brilliant as it is cruel, the wait is going to be a long one.