The Silvered – Tanya Huff

So I got to read The Silvered in the end, which is Tanya Huff’s latest book. This is a return to secondary world fantasy. I choose to believe, based off very little evidence, that this is the world that Crystal created at the end of The Last Wizard. My reasoning for this is that:

  • the religion of Aydori, where two of our protagonists are from, involves a Lady and Lord
  • it mentions Lady’s Groves, and I can see Crystal going in the footsteps of her own creator
  • I can see Crystal wanting to create werewolves, after what happens in The Last Wizard.

All that, of course, has pretty much nothing to do with this book!

The main plot of The Silvered starts with the kidnap of five mages, who are part of the aristocracy of Aydori, by an invading empire. Not for any political control, but because of a prophecy (of course). But the prophecy implies there are six mages whom the empire needs to control: the sixth mage being Mirian Maylin, banker’s daughter.

I love Mirian a lot. Witnessing the kidnap of the other mages, Mirian immediately focuses on what needs to be done. She’s the person who steps up. She’s very practical, and I love how that plays into the way she thinks about her magic.

The novel is structured around Mirian’s rescue attempt – which is made more difficult by the fact that soldiers of the empire are trying to capture her as well, and that her sole help is Pack – and the emperor has declared the Pack to be abominations.

I suppose you could call this an ‘evil empire’, but it’s not, in the traditional fantasy sense. (Although the emperor is certainly a piece of work). An aspect of The Silvered I really enjoyed was how it dealt with people who are ‘just following orders’, and the ways in which we define people as not-people.

The worldbuilding was really done too – the attention paid to class (the importance of shoes!); the relationship of the Pack to others in Aydori; the development of technology in the empire and the still-novel nature of it.

It was an extremely satisfying book. Also, not a series! Although I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more in this world.

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