Book Review: A Storm of Silver and Ash by Marion Blackwood

My Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A few facts about A Storm of Silver and Ash:

  • Title: A Storm of Silver and Ash
  • Author: Marion Blackwood
  • Series:  The Oncoming Storm Books
  • Publisher: Published by Marion Blackwood
  • Pages: 326

Synopsis:

What would you sacrifice to save your friend?
Your soul? Your humanity? Your life?

The Oncoming Storm is a name whispered in awe throughout the Underworld. She’s known as a master thief and a lethal knife-wielder – some even say she has the skills of an assassin. All of it is true. She’s also a sarcastic smartmouth with the social graces of a bull.

You will find her running across rooftops, sneaking in the shadows, and breaking into houses. That is, if she’s not busy getting ambushed and blackmailed into a seemingly impossible mission. Grudgingly caught in a dangerous power struggle, the Oncoming Storm must leave behind the world she knows and maneuver through scheming assassins, calculating elves, and desperate royals.

Before her adventure is over, she will have loved, saved, killed, and double-crossed those around her. The only question is, who? The clock is ticking, and before time runs out, the Oncoming Storm must decide who to trust and who to betray…

(Goodreads)

Review:

A storm of Silver and Ash is a promising debut, was a fun read and I found myself wanting to keep reading.

The synopsis of this book is what really grabbed me, as did the cover. I was sold. A thief with the social graces of a bull, and us getting to see more of Storm utilising her surroundings. It gave the opportunity for incredible world building scenes and stunning descriptions.

Blackwood created a great world, I love a good dingy underworld where it is almost a place unto it’s self. It had a hierarchy, a cast system of the criminals who associate with a guild and the less than savory folk who can’t be apart of it for reasons such as they are too dark or can’t deal with authority etc. 

The underworld hierarchy, while being pretty simple, is a great addition to the world Blackwood created. I enjoyed the concept of the different guilds and their rankings. The idea of a beggars guild, it kind of reminded me of the homeless unit of hitmen from the John Wick films. I would have quite liked to see more of them, as an information source maybe. I thought the world was nicely done but could have been used much more in the actual story. 

Blackwood also created what I found to be a totally a refreshing take on elves, while the elves were not wholly different to those we see in the world of fantasy, it was their culture and social practices I enjoyed. They were a tougher more hunter like people, hardier and less about ethereal grace and such.

I unfortunately I found Storm to be a little off-putting at times, what was one of the main drives to me reading this book quickly became a little disruptive to the story. In terms of the character as a person, she was a cool character, fun and sarcastic but then not so good. I like the morally ambiguous character at times but when done in a way that you can still route for them, Storm just killed at times and felt a little unnecessary.

Now, this is definitely nit picky on my part but these things too often pulled me from the story. More at the start than anything else, but still. There was a lot of ’telling’, yanno the whole show me don’t tell me thing. There was also a lot of emphasis on how bad ass Storm was, and how no one liked to mess with her, but this was told through her own thoughts on how bad ass she was. I thought this could have been shown a wee bit better. 

I also noted a few things I would say we’re inconsistent. For example, Storm may enter a place renowned for being cutthroat, orderless, outside of the guilds and known for being a pretty rough place especially for a women (which she herself tells you). Yet she cleared a table with a glare alone. Or her not knowing a type of material which is so picky, I know, and sounds weird to say but if you are a thief I would expect one to have an eye for details, to know when something is a fake or cheaply made etc yet she didn’t.

The breaking of the 4th wall in this book was also not my favourite. 

Despite my above complaints I did find myself wanting to keep reading, and I enjoyed this book as a whole.

I discussed this with my partner, who had just played both Last of Us Part Two and Infamous Second Sons, and when I told him my thoughts on it he said that it was like what he thought about second sons. It was a fun game that you go back to and complete but when compared to Last of Us you realise that thats all it is, fun, the story and characters don’t really give you any of the feels but you still liked it as a whole.

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