Book Review – Silver Tongue

Silver Tongue

AshleyRose Sullivan

Paperback

2015

 

Silver Tongue is, most simply, a story of three friends going out on an unfortunate (unlikely?) adventure.    Okay, maybe that’s too simple.

Silver Tongue is the story of three friends – Claire, Phil, and Sam – who live in Nouvelle France.  Yep, tis an Alt Hist story.  The year is 1839, and the Revolutionary War has finally ended, with the colonies in defeat.  What we know as the USA is divided into three colonies.  New Brittania (East of the Mississippi), Nouvelle France (Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains), and Nueva Espana (Rocky Mountains west).  No, not the author’s most creative naming of places.  

Oh, and about the three of them.  Phil is overly read and thus book smart.  And gay.  Claire is an Indian with special powers.  And Sam is a warewolf.

The book starts off with Claire getting tattoos around her arms from her Indian grandmother.  Then there’s an attack on Sam and a family member (who dies in the attack).  Sam survives and after a ritual from Claire’s Uncle, the three are now linked through more than just friendship.

The trio then set off to leave New Orleans and find the people responsible for the attack and to stop them. 

 

Okay.  Just.  Give me a minute to sigh deeply and then I’ll give you my review.  

SIGH.

So the book has an interesting feel to it, but not good interesting.  I actually sent a message to the publisher to verify how the book is categorized – Alternate History/Young Adult – to see if I was right.  I had it pegged as a very weak -punk of some sort, but I can see how Alternate History would feel that way.  But I really did need the publisher to tell me that.

And I had issues.  I mean, the sentences were technically beautiful.  Commas in the right places, well formed sentences, characters that didn’t totally blend into one another over the course of the book.  But the fact that I had to send a message to the publisher is a red flag.  

Also, the chapters are all wrapped up with neat little bows, and they didn’t have much (any) flow from one to the other.  I know that might sound like a “so?” type thing, but the problem was that when I got to the end of a chapter, nothing pulled me into the next one.  It was really easy to set this book down and walk away, which a book should never do.  The chapters themselves were easy to sum up in just a couple words.  Again, oversimplification, but it shouldn’t have been easy to do that.  “Tattoo Party,” “Attack on Sam,” “Sam’s secret,” “Riverboat…”  You get the idea.  

 

There were also a few nods throughout the story to real historical figures, and they did nothing for the story at all.

 

…SO

I wanted something that I didn’t get.  I wanted to see more of the world.  There was a backstory – the revolution/USA losing – but I never felt it.  If the chapter headings hadn’t given the date of the chapter, it could be any time.  There were few references to clothing, but they were vague, and there were a few details like horses and riverboats, but the author spent more time describing totally unimportant things like scenery.  

I wanted to feel the fabrics.  I wanted to see the thing that was Nouvelle France or New Britania.  (Nuevo Espana isn’t in this story).  Instead, I got a story that could have been just about anywhere.  There were a few little pockets of beautiful story, but the majority was just pretty writing.  

Several characters came and went and I’m not sure what their purpose was.  

When I got to the end, another perfect little bow, but this one to end this story and set up a perfect opportunity for a sequel.

 

I mean, the book didn’t suck, so there’s that.  And even though I had no trouble stopping at any point, I did at least want to read it (although as much to see if the story would ever get to its meat as anything else.  The answer is hot dogs.)  I will say that I was mostly satisfied with the results.

 

 

 

So I have to rate this thing, right?  Sigh.  AshleyRose has the basics down, and it was refreshing to at least see a book where I didn’t have to try to interpret what I had just read.  But there were a lot of things that she got to about 80% and just didn’t get all the way. And there were a few things that I just don’t see the point to.   I’ve deliberated on this one for most of the afternoon, and I’m going to settle on a solid 3/5 page rating.  I think with a little more work this author will be awesome.

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