Book Reviews

Book Review: The Silver Tide by Jen Williams


Grazing your arm from palm to elbow, you slide around the corner and take shelter behind the wall. You shake the shower of dust and detritus from your hair and dodge the half a brick that topples from the crumbling top of your refuge.
All around you is utter chaos; the city is transformed by the palls of black smoke, occasionally lit up by mages’ fire, buildings are being reduced to rubble, there is a ringing in your ears that overlays the screaming.
Finally she turns from surveying the street, a dagger grasped comfortably in one hand, a stained short sword in the other. Her eyebrows disappear into her shock of hair.
“Ye gods, what the fuck are you doing here?”
Shifting closer, you think better of grasping her arm,
“I need another story. Just the one more. It’s fine, I’ll leave you alone then, but please…”
“A story? Here? Now? With the gods amongst our midst, and everything we hold dear at risk? What sort of story would suit you best right now, as our world crumbles all around us? You want to hear about a mysterious island famed for treasure no-one can possibly reach? Cursed pirates doomed for their greed? Cannibals lurking in the fetid dark? You don’t think we have enough on our hands right now?”

The Silver Tide is our last foray in Jen Williams’ The Copper Cat trilogy. And what an ending! Jen certainly ramps everything up for this last book; we’re back to the kind of pace we saw with the first book of the trilogy, The Copper Promise.

There were similar mechanics in place to The Iron Ghost, where there were many little reminders of what happened previously and who characters were;

“Her head had been full of Nuava [an important character], the girl who had [highlight to read the massive spoiler] ridden a great stone monster to her doom in an effort to stop him taking more lives,

It was frustrating and unnecessary; but this is, however, the only problem I had.

As I said above, the pace mirrored that of the first book; fast, full of action, to the point. And yet it was perfectly balanced, I never felt there were aspects that were rushed or plot points that were not sufficiently balanced. Jen knows exactly where she’s taking her readers, even when you may have no idea where the story is taking you next, and delivers some perfectly planned resolutions.

Throughout the stabbing and racing around and the magic and the pirates and everything; we explore the depths of grief, love, hope, faith, sacrifice… our characters have been built up wonderfully throughout the trilogy to the decisions they face in this last book. And they’re some pretty bloody big ones. That made me cry. There are some beautifully bitter sweet moments.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the world building throughout the trilogy. Jen’s created a fascinating world here and we get to see plenty of it and it’s myriad peoples and cultures, faiths and beliefs, traditions and quirks. But again she takes it up a notch in The Silver Tide; we visit new places and old places made new, which was intriguing in itself. We dive into the history of Jen’s world here, the layers of humanity she creates, and explore the extent of her magic’s mechanics and evolution. It’s a comprehensive and impressive feat.

I shall leave you with this wonderful line, it really resonated with me:

“We think we are talking and living our lives, but we are the wailing of ghosts.”

The Silver Tide is available on The Book Depository
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