Fantasy abounds in Alex Marshall’s A Crown for Cold Silver. Marshall creates a fully realized world that unconventionally unfolds past the prime of adventurers. This creates an amazing inter-generational dynamic wherein the old and young are sent on mutual adventures. What unfolds is a thrilling tale.
Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.
Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner.
FIVE VILLAINS. ONE LEGENDARY GENERAL. A FINAL QUEST FOR VENGEANCE.
Marshall knows how to write a fascinating story. This is done through several perspectives amid the cast of characters throughout the course of a year. What makes it even more interesting is that it starts off with seemingly random events and melds into an epic quest for all of them. I am a big fan of this type of narrative and Marshall employed it well. The storyline never felt forced and it had a decent pace. The one downside to this style was the several chapters devoted to characters who weren’t as fascinating or who the reader loved to hate. That being said, Marshall made this chapters worthwhile with tidbits of information and a whole new way of thinking about certain characters.
The core story is that of war. As such, A Crown for Cold Silver was right up my alley. Unfortunately, it seemed to be lacking on fighting scenes or true action. We often link back up with a character right before or after a skirmish. This aspect leaves me wanting more.
The characters are a fascinating bunch with plenty of backstory and potential growth. As there were two core age groups for characters, there was quite a bit of diversity. The characters were from a variety of different regions of Marshall’s world and has distinct roles. There were only a couple, two of the five villains, that somewhat melded into one character as they both were the dishonorable sort, one powerful, and one not. One of my favorite characters was a young adult by the name of Tapai Purna. She was someone who always dreamed of adventure and launched herself into one. This was done through hard work and determination despite her noble upbringing. Other favorites include Maroto, the older berserker barbarian and Zosia, the former leader turned mayoress.
I loved how Marshall approached race, gender, and orientation in A Crown for Cold Silver. Leaders and warriors were a variety of combinations, no one demographic nudging out the other. It seemed effortlessly done on Marshall’s part but as this diversity is lacking in so many other stories, it felt remarkable.
The quest of each characters feeds into the overarcing plot in an impressive fashion. A Crown for Cold Silver isn’t short on humor either. Combined with neat characters and a well-written story, it makes for an enjoyable read. Anyone looking for a bit of epic fantasy need not look further than A Crown for Cold Silver.