ARC Review: Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke

Title: Of Silver and Shadow
Author: Jennifer Gruenke
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Flux via NetGalley
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: May 26th 2020
Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King. Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted King’s Fang title. But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.

Of Silver and Shadow is an almost 500 page book, (480 pages if we want to be exact) and I read this book in one sitting. One moment I was sitting down to start this book and then suddenly it was 2 a.m. and my kindle wouldn't flip to a new page. Gruenke's debut novel is not one to missed! Full of action, suspense and tons of plot twists Of Silver and Shadows will have you hooked from page one. 

Of Silver and Shadow alternates in POVs which gives us an all around view of this rebellion and what everyone's driving motive is. 

Ren - Ren posses Silver, a magic that was outlawed hundred of years earlier after the purge of all Silver wielders, leaving the magic strictly to those of the royal bloodline. A few years earlier Ren escaped a fire set to her house by the King, leaving her scared and her parents dead. Something she blames herself for everyday. On night she is cornered by Darek and his brother with the offer of a life time: Help them dethrone the King and in return they will pay her 700,000 coins. Ren doesn't care about this so called rebellion but the coins will free her from her debts, finally giving her the freedom she has been craving. Teaming up with these brothers Ren is thrown into a plan that is going to put an unexpected person on the throne if they win. 

Darek - Literally tall, dark and moody. Darek is leading the rebellion that he promised his mother he would finished when she was killed many years earlier. He never counted on Ren being the person who was going to end this rebellion for good. Ren is a thorn in his side, she is snarky, rude and doesn't know how to follow directions and not a challenge he was expecting to have to deal with as well. But soon Darek is warming up to the the street girl who tests his every very being. 

Kellen - Kellen is one of the Princes of Edris. He has a reputation of sharing the bed of many woman and when he can he keeps his head down and avoids his duties. Why act like a prince when his father looks down on him, his mother can't be bothered and his older brother Heath is next in line for the throne? Kellen runs one of the fighting rings with in the kingdom and one night meets Ren when she comes to fight in his ring. With his search for Ren and his involvement with Holland, another key player in the Rebellion, Prince Kellen has no idea what he is getting himself into, but he does know one thing. He is ready for change. 

Adley - Part of the King's Children, an elite guard of the King, Adley's job is to hunt down the rebels. When the King offers the position of the King's Fang up to anyone who can bring the leaders of the rebellion in, Adley jumps on the chance. Adley has a secret though, she has fallen in love with her best friend and the King's Children are not allowed to fall in love, it is an act of treason. But after her service of Fang is over she will be allowed to leave and live a free life with Lesa by her side and not having to hide their love for each other. But soon Adley is in a position she never thought she would be in. 

There is a lot that happens in this book and for the sake of spoilers I am not going to discuss most of it because I want you all the find out for yourself. But the plot twists, the actions and the romance will have you on the edge of your seat. Though all of the characters are on different sides, each have redeeming qualities about them that make you love them, no matter how much you don't want to.

The one thing I will put out there is that I recommend this book for an upper YA audience. Darek is twenty two, making him the oldest in the cast of characters, which wouldn't necessarily bother me for it was easy for me to connect with characters because of their ages. But I can see this being a problem for younger readers. The romance aspect is a little steamy, (which I explain in the next paragraph) making the upper YA audience a better fit rather then a younger YA audience. This book doesn't fall into NA or adult though, it reads as a YA novel would, just with character who are slightly older.

The romance was one of my favorite aspects on this story. Darek and Ren start out hating each other and slowly through the pages we watch what starts out as their partnership in a rebellion turn into something much much more. The tension between these two characters is intense, though they both "hate" each other, they both face the feelings that they want each other and that the want more from the other person, whether they are going to admit it to each other or not. When they finally kiss? Damn. Gruenke did not disappoint on Darek and Ren's part as well as the reader. (I'm always here for a steamy scene though.) But more then just the kissing, watching Ren who is use to being on her own and not letting anyone in, let Darek in which was what made this romance so satisfying to me. The romance didn't take over the whole plot of the story, but it gave it the push it needed in those final scenes on the book. (Once you read you will know exactly what I am talking about!) 

Overall I loved Of Silver and Shadow and I am sad that it is over. I have't heard any news on a sequel but Gruenke did wrap up the story nicely if this book does end up being a stand alone, but I would love to see how their characters make do with the result their actions had given them. 

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