SILVER QUEENDOM by Dan Koboldt (BOOK REVIEW)
Darin Fields never got invited to elegant affairs, but that didn’t stop him from showing up.
And robbing the guests blind, of course. Darin Fields is the landlord of the Red Rooster, and the leader of a crew of … thieves is such a crass word but, let’s face it, thieves.
Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt follows the exploits of Darin and his associates Evie, Tom, and Kat. Each job they take on, something just happens to go wrong, landing them deeper and deeper in debt to their local crime boss, the Dame. When an impossible-sounding heist is brought to the table, Darin is faced with a very tough decision indeed. His options, however, are pretty limited; as anyone caught between a rock and a hard place will attest to.
Koboldt’s fantasy heist romp is the dictionary definition of plot-driven. We waltz straight into the middle of a job and the action never lets up. This is a pacey page-turner which refuses to be put down, and I simply have to commend Koboldt for not serving a single dull moment. The actions of the characters are sometimes questionable, I did occasionally wonder at some of their decisions, but hey. None of us are perfect, and it highlighted how human they are.
Often in books that are as pacey and action-packed as this, the character depth usually suffers, but I felt Koboldt actually balanced this quite well. I loved that each of our main characters (the narrative switches between the four, Darin, Evie, Tom, and Kat) are driven and affected by their pasts. They all have elements they hide from each other, some have guessed at some elements, most have no idea. It was a nice touch, experiencing the questioning of our narrator over something we the reader would know about one of the other characters. I also loved that they had quite strong morals, for immoral thieves; avoiding bloodshed when they can, and running an almost Robin-Hood-Code of operation. They don’t live in a perfect world, and whilst not necessarily out to change that fact, it is an issue they bear in mind and effects their decision making.
Speaking of their world, possibly the one gripe I had was that I’d have loved to see more magic. The magic system is a form of metallurgy, wherein magic users have the innate ability to draw upon silver. Darin is the only metallurgist in the crew, and only Evie knows about it; magic is not permitted in the Queendom. Darin has a complicated relationship with his magic, though; Seraphina, an older metallurgist who runs the bar when the team are on a job, would very much like to teach him how to use his powers, but Darin refuses. It’s an interesting aspect of his character, in that he thinks it will make his life easier, and as such he’ll become complacent. There’s something of a martyr complex happening here and I’d be interested to see how this pans out in any possible sequels.
Silver Queendom has very strong Locke Lamora vibes, with a soupçon of Patrick Rothfuss’ tavern of operations. It’s a matriarchal society of Dames, Duchesses, Marquesses, and Queens; again, there are hints that this is an aspect that may be explored further in a later book as Darin and his crew begin to attract more attention. This was a fun and easy read, the various rivalries and risks were exciting, and Darin’s schemes were intelligent and fun to follow. All in all, this is a strong start to what I certainly hope is a series we might get return to.
A big thank you to Gemma Creffield from Angry Robot for my advance reader copy
Silver Queendom is out from Angry Robot on the 23rd August – you can get your copy HERE