Thoughts: Song of Silver, Flame like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

Source: NetGalley – Thank you to the publisher!
TL;DR: If you enjoy non-stop YA fantasy this is the one for you. I really enjoyed a lot of this but found the pace way to fast.

Plot: So fast it actually felt unrelenting. There was almost no rest time between ‘events’ – the biggest flaw of the book
Characters: Once you meet more than Lan and Zen there is an interesting cast but it is so focused on them we don’t get enough of the others. They themselves are interesting but maybe the type of characters you’d expect.
Setting: Beautiful and heartbreaking
Magic: I loved this magic style, it felt well drawn (pun intended) and realized

Thoughts:

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night has me on the fence. It follows, primarily two characters. Lan is a ‘songbird’, a girl who works in a tea parlor singing for work. The city and land she lives in has been conquered by an invading force, her culture and people repressed and destroyed. Our second character is Zen, a young practitoner who is seeking out others like him and information about the magic and culture that they’ve lost. The two come in contact and the book explodes (almost literally) out from there.

My biggest problem with Song of Silver is the pacing which is breakneck for me. It was so fast, there were little to no quiet moments, no moments of reprieve for the characters. One good thing would happen, or five mins of dialogue and then immediately there is an emergency or a dire situation. Fast paced books are fine, but this felt almost as if our author just did not want or know how to give the characters rest. I felt so bad for them because of how much they seemed to deal with in such fast succession. There was one period of time that the characters didn’t have a pressing emergency and that was described as ‘And time passed’. Which during that time we had to assume that our characters grew attached to certain things and people but we never saw it.

Past this I loved a lot about this book! I want more of the characters we were introduced to, especially the side characters and the system and world is beautiful. The themes that the author is struggling with and representing, I felt were clear and heartbreaking (as they should have been). The villains did end up feeling a little over the top, especially in a final scene, but considering the wuxia/xianxia style of the action and magic in this I think that can be forgiven. The setting and magic were incredible and really that’s what kept me coming back.

So while I wish the story had more time to breath and give us a breath this was a beautiful ride. If you don’t mind books that just ‘go, go, go’ pick this up. It’s got an amazing setting, beautiful magic, and over the top fighting that will not miss if you love that sort of thing.

4 out of 5 Ocarinas.

[CWS: Graphic: Blood, War, Death, Racism, Racial slurs, Colonisation, and Violence
Moderate: Religious bigotry, Sexual harassment, Death of parent, Sexual violence, and Torture]

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