Book Review

Forging Silver Into Stars

Forging Silver into Stars

  • Author: Brigid Kemmerer
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: June 7, 2022
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
  • Series: Forging Silver into Stars #1

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury YA for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CONTENT WARNING: violence, blood, death of a parent, child abuse, ableism

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When ancient magic tests a newfound love, a dark fate beckons . . .

Magic has been banished in the land of Syhl Shallow for as long as best friends Jax and Callyn can remember. They once loved the stories of the powerful magesmiths and mythical scravers who could conjure fire or control ice, but now they’ve learned that magic only leads to danger: magic is what killed Callyn’s parents, leaving her alone to raise her younger sister. Magic never helped Jax, whose leg was crushed in an accident that his father has been punishing him for ever since. Magic won’t save either of them when the tax collector comes calling, threatening to take their homes if they can’t pay what they owe.

Meanwhile, Jax and Callyn are astonished to learn magic has returned to Syhl Shallow — in the form of a magesmith who’s now married to their queen. Now, the people of Syhl Shallow are expected to allow dangerous magic in their midst, and no one is happy about it.

When a stranger rides into town offering Jax and Callyn silver in exchange for holding secret messages for an anti-magic faction, the choice is obvious — even if it means they may be aiding in a plot to destroy their new king. It’s a risk they’re both willing to take. That is, until another visitor arrives: handsome Lord Tycho, the King’s Courier, the man who’s been tasked with discovering who’s conspiring against the throne.

Suddenly, Jax and Callyn find themselves embroiled in a world of shifting alliances, dangerous flirtations, and ancient magic . . . where even the deepest loyalties will be tested.

While I must admit that I wasn’t thrilled with the last book in the Cursebreakers series (A Vow So Bold and Deadly), I did miss the incredible world that Kemmerer has built. And I especially missed my favorite character from that series—Tycho! So when I saw a new spin-off series that heavily features Tycho, I couldn’t wait to start reading. And this one didn’t let down my high expectations.

We have three POV characters—Jax, Callyn, and Tycho, and I loved the way these three characters intersect. Jax and Callyn are best friends from the small village of Briarlock, struggling under the weight of loss, poverty, and other hardships. Callyn’s parents are dead, leaving her to take care of her younger sister, run the family bakery, and everything comes to a head when she receives a visit from the tax collector, informing her that they owe a significant amount on the bakery. Jax is a blacksmith who had a foot amputated as a result of an accident, and his father has never stopped berating him for that or blaming him for his mother’s death at his birth. When he receives a note from the tax collector, both of them are in a serious situation.

When an opportunity presents itself for these two to earn some money, they don’t have the ability to turn it down, because if they do, they’ll lose their homes and businesses. But what seems like easy money turns out to open a huge can of worms, changing everything about their lives, including their friendship. 

So many of the roles are reversed in this series—as opposed to loving Grey and hating Rhen, I found myself actually develop a grudging respect for who Rhen has become and not loving Grey as much. And with a conspiracy afoot in Syhl Shallow, I never quite knew who was trustworthy. But I definitely loved seeing Tycho actually get a little romance in his life, and it made me happy to see that he chose a guy who adores him. Jax and Callyn come across as a little flatter than I’d have hoped, to the point where I looked forward to Tycho’s chapters much more than the other two.

This book has the same magical world-building as the Cursebreakers series, which was a pleasure to return to. While it took me a while to get fully immersed in the story, once I was, I struggled to put it down. It’s a bit slower-paced in the beginning, but then picks up rapidly towards the end. And the plot twists follow the same pattern—not many at first but arising faster towards the end. While there isn’t a ton of action for most of the book, just mostly setting the scene and figuring what’s actually going on, the parts towards the very end are action-packed. It’s definitely wroth the read.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 11

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