Title: Trapped in Silver
Author: Emily Sowden
Source: Free copy from publisher in exchange for honest review
Where to start? I am really not sure when it comes to Trapped in Silver. It’s a novel that had me pulled in two directions. On one hand, I raced through the last quarter of the book, completely captivated. On the other, I struggled to get through the first three quarters of the book. While it was an incredibly easy book to slip back into, it was not a book which I was desperate to return to once I’d stopped. As such, it took me near a month to read.
That being said, Trapped in Silver is a novel with an incredible amount of potential. The world is intriguing, the magic fascinating and the characters were fun to read about. The writing itself is really well done, and was perhaps one of my favourite things about the novel – it described the setting, easily dragged you back into the story and just made the events in the book feel real. I certainly enjoyed the book, it just unfortunately did not hit all the marks for me.
The rest of this review will contain mild spoilers.
The book follows a girl called Ava who lives on her family’s farm with only her adoptive brother Roan for company. As women don’t have rights, she dresses up as her ‘twin’, Cedar, in order to keep the farm running while her father is away. Ava also wears a mysterious silver locket, one that she has worn for as long as she can remember and one that she cannot remove. This locket soon winds her in trouble and she is caught up in the middle of a war, in a world that is so different from the one she grew up in, a world filled with the mythical creatures of her childhood stories.
Trapped in Silver is fairly slow moving to start with, but once the plot actually kicks in, it rapidly improves. While I had slight trouble with the limited action and development at the beginning, I did enjoy the fact that nothing was revealed immediately, or all at once. – there was a good build up to the reveals, particularly with the nature of the characters Ava finds herself with. While there are a number of twists, a lot are fairly predictable, and there are also a few minor inconsistencies and questions which I hoped would be resolved, but only made me feel confused. For example, at the beginning of the novel Ava’s locket teleports her places. This, however, seems to be forgotten about, or the nature of it changes, in the second half of the book, and it’s not really explained. While not anything major, it did leave me puzzled as I was reading.
I did really enjoy the characters and how defined they were. Ava makes for a great lead – she’s got guts and determination, although there are times where her stubborn curiosity does come across as just plain stupidity. I also really enjoyed her dual role as both Ava and Cedar, although it was disappointing to see this aspect of her personality fade away in the second half – it would have been good to see Cedar show up throughout the book!
As well as Ava, the other characters all fit in perfectly with the story. Their personalities complemented each other and made the group feel more like a family than a group of characters thrown together. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to keep track of which species each character was, and found Ethan to be a little forgettable. He came across as a typical YA fantasy male protagonist and there wasn’t much about him that made him stand out.
One of my biggest frustrations with this book was how brilliant the world seemed and how little we got to see of it. All the time I was reading, I felt like I was only brushing the surface of what was on offer, and it would have been fantastic, and more meaningful, to have seen more of the history and world earlier on in the novel. As it was, some of the reveals were not as powerful as they could have been and I kept forgetting about the lore of the world.
I did, however, enjoy the twists on the mythical creatures and that it’s not the typical beings that took center stage of this novel. I’m still not entirely sure what the demons can actually do, beyond Ethan’s gift, but the Berserkers were an intriguing foe and the scene where we’re first introduced to them as a group was terrifying to read.
I think it’s safe to say that I have very mixed feelings about Trapped in Silver. On the whole, I enjoyed it. It was a good fantasy read, with a lot of potential. The writing was brilliant, there were so many highlights in the book and I devoured the final quarter of the book. Unfortunately, Trapped in Silver is let down in places and I feel like it could have been brilliant if the world was explained a little bit more and the pacing at the beginning was a bit faster. However, that is just my opinion, and I would definitely recommend reading this book if you do enjoy legends and fantasy.
Trapped in Silver will be released on February 7th 2017 (tomorrow!)
The Book Depository (I get a small commission when this link is used): https://www.bookdepository.com/Trapped-in-Silver/9780995636507/?a_aid=rosiereads