A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall book review

All roads lead to war in Alex Marshall’s A Crown For Cold Silver

In a divided land brought tentatively together under the new reign of the Crimson Queen and the religious support of torture enthusiasts, Cobalt Zosia looks to topple the new queen and wreak vengeance on those who have wronged her by reuniting her former war allies. This is a full-on devil-summoning, pipe-smoking, dagger-wielding brutal quest fantasy, then. While it sounds like a rather familiar tale, A Crown For Cold Silver’s world is a joy to fall into for reasons beyond recognisable revenge plots.

For those bored to tears of books filled with heterosexual men, the book is a refreshing break, providing a range of realistic and varied characters more concerned with political affiliation and race than gender or sexuality. The characters are well-written, from the battle-hardened Stricken Queen to her five Villains, though a few jarring notes hit in the form of slang from a handful of the younger characters. Still, for the most part it expertly pulls off the combination of accessible modern language (ie a sugarload of swearing) and more familiar fantasy language, giving a realistic edge to all the talk of devils, animal people and oh-so many kinds of inebriating substances.

It’s unfortunate, then, that this information comes so fast. While setting up A Crown For Cold Silver to be a much easier read a second time around, it can be a little distancing to have such a variety of unfamiliar terms thrown at you in such quick succession. However, it is a great read, and as more details reveal themselves along the way, we’d have loved to have spent more time in the casual company of its players. Cities, provinces, characters and political groups are thrown around so casually that while it does create a realistic world, it is one that the reader can feel a little bombarded by.

Overall, though, the multi-faceted quests of the several individuals the book follows are gripping, and will suit any quest-lover looking for a new addiction.