People often say never to judge a book by its cover, but in the literal sense, that’s exactly what I do. Its the best feeling in the world when I pick out something at a book store with a cool book cover and an amazing story to boot. I proudly own an entire bookshelf dedicated to great fantasy novels, and the whole thing looks amazing. A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall is the latest edition to said amazing bookshelf. With a strong female protagonist set in a wonderfully dark and humorous fantasy world, A Crown for Cold Silver is something you can read in public and be richly entertained at the same time. Its win-win I’d say.
Zosia, the Cobalt Queen and her five villains waged war across an empire, carving their name across the star. The name of Zosia had become a symbol of freedom and change to the common folk, which was more than reason enough for the gentry to hate her. After finally capturing the capital of the empire, and seat of the crown, Zosia rules for one full year before giving it all up. Frustrated with the resistance she finds in trying to illicit change, she turns her back on the empire and fakes her own death.
Residing in secret as a Mayor of a small town, Zosia is able to find peace for years, right up until the whole town, including her husband, is brutally massacred. Now, seeking vengeance again
st the empire she had already conquered, Zosia must start from scratch, with only her dog and his devilish appetite for strong human emotions for company.
Although the book cover is a large portion of my judgment when it comes time to find something new, what matters most is whether or not the story can capture my interest long enough for me to finish it. What did it for me with A Crown for Cold Silver is the case it makes for diversity in the fantasy genre. Although the main character, Zosia, had a husband, it is made very clear later in the story that she also finds other women sexually enticing. On top of that, practically every character of authority is female, with a royal union between man and man being one of only a couple exceptions. Furthermore, Marshall’s entire host of characters is nearly as disparate and numerous as those witnessed in Game of Thrones. This however, was just the glaze on the donut (I really like donuts.) A Crown for Cold Silver combines the type of gallows humor you would expect to see with Joe Abercrombie, and intricate plot scenarios the likes of which can be seen in The Conqueror’s Shadow, by Ari Marmell.
In addition to the aesthetic appeal to the cover, and the statements made about diversity expressed through a bisexual main character, a same-sex sovereign couple, and battle-ready female warriors, A Crown for Cold Silver contains the type of witty dialogue and humor that causes the overall tone of the story to be much more balanced in terms of elements that carry a lighter or darker nature. Character interaction and development in this book is like the three-course dinner chewing gum in Willy Wonka’s assortment of candy; the different flavors attach to each character and pleasantly intermingle with each other in order to create an altogether different experience that, ultimately, leaves you feeling satisfied by the end.
Overall, I give A Crown for Cold Silver a 7 out of 10 in the book cover category, an 8 out of 10 in character diversity, and a 10 out of 10 in worthiness to read.
By: J. Garza