I'm thinking that perhaps angering a queen of Faerie would be a bad idea of the "really should have found something else to do that day" variety. I'm guess that Riley, heroine of Fiona Skye's Silver Shackles would agree with me. Fervently. If you're not sure why she would think this, or how she angered the Neve, the Queen of the Unseelie Fae then you really need to read more. You can start with Taming Shadows: Revelation. Go ahead. I'll wait.
In this book, Riley faces the wrath for what she did last time around. I don't do spoilers so that's as far as I'm going to take it. For now we'll just say that from the antagonist's point of view, she's done more than enough to face a reckoning and an airing of grievances the exact nature of which was alluded to in the first book. What starts out as a mysterious phone call goes off the rails and things happen at an incredibly quick pace. This one cooks with grease. (I'm sure that's a metaphor that Skye could agree with given the fact that both of the books in this series end with recipes that sound outstanding. Well, except for the fact that she mentions cheese enchiladas in the About the Author. *SIGH* The best enchiladas are made with beef! At any rate...)
Skye has clearly done her research into the monster of myth and legend. Every being has a weakness to exploit and a strength that is terrifying. Even Riley transforms into a were-jaguar capable of extreme violence and possessed of heightened senses. It hunts deer better than I can too but don't tell my family I admitted that. We've got people that can only be killed with cold iron, a demigod that can be controlled with a horn, a vampire with the associated weakness, etc. The part that makes it work is that all of the above are well aware of their soft spots and do whatever they can to guard against them. There is no monologue followed by something incredibly stupid. The bad guys are bad but they're not dumb. A good villain is a villain that falls prey to something the heroes and/or their allies do and Skye nails that here.
The heroes are not infallible either. As a matter of fact I'm left wondering if David isn't out there somewhere kicking himself after missing something that was clear in retrospect. Riley isn't exactly perfect herself and gets caught up when she probably could have avoided doing so, but here's the thing: Both make mistakes that are perfectly in character for who and what they are. Neither does anything forehead slappingly stupid when they should have done the exact opposite. Every person, real or imagined, does something they realize later that they shouldn't have done at some point. The key is making the mistakes make sense and Skye makes that happen.
Parts of this book are quite frankly horrifying and that's good because they need to be. The revenge of a Queen of the Fae is a terrible thing to behold. Some of the details of the torture she suffers are just plain sick and twisted. Some of what she puts herself through mentally at the end of the work may possibly be worse. All of it adds to the story though and none of it seems to be there just for the sake of being there. Through all of the pain we get to know more about both Riley and Neve. We also learn just how far Neve's followers are ready to go for her. This is a woman with not just a lot of mystical power but a lot of political power as well.
I'm excited to announce that the end of the tome sets us up for a sequel that I'm very much looking forward to. It's not quite a cliff hanger but there are some loose ends that are mentioned very prominently at the end. I don't want to go into detail here because spoilers but when the thread of this book runs out things are still really unsettled and there are a million and five different ways they could go. I can't wait to find out what's next. Is it too soon to start pestering the author still? I haven't really gotten on an author in a bit but I'm not against doing so. I guess we'll just have to wait but dammit, I don't wanna.
I do have one complaint about Silver Shackles and it's fairly major: This book needs to be a lot longer. David finds himself convinced to take along a new partner far too quickly. One of his/Riley's partners (Onyx) from Taming Shadows antes up and decides to come along for the fight. That makes sense, but he was a major character last time around with a major part to play this time, and he's barely in there. He needs more uhh.. screen time? What he has is just not enough to do the character justice. He's not the only one either.
The part I missed the most was the fight. Skye mentions that one is going on and we're alerted about a couple of the wounded and/or dead (with some characters it's not clear which side they fall on and I'm guessing that's intentional) but not much actual action. David, in particular, is stuck in a situation where he is forced to sneak around but it's completely left out. Granted, it is entirely possible that I'm just a spoiled reviewer but I think not. I grew up on the tradition of the grand battle. Lord of the Rings is full of them. The battle for the crown at the end of Dragons of Spring Dawning was epic. There are many battles against Thread in Dragonriders of Pern saga. There just needs to be more here.
It's not just the love of slaughter that leads me to say that either. The ending of this book feels a bit rushed. It's almost like Skye was in a hurry to get it finished and decided to leave some things out to get it done sooner. I guess I'll never know her reasoning but it should have been here. There are enough details filled in later to keep the thread of the series moving but it would have been far more entertaining to see it all as it was happening. That much being said, this was a damn fine novel and I'll be picking up a copy of the sequel as soon as it comes out.
Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 Summoned Brownies
Silver Shackles: Revelations Book Two
Self Published, 2015
Silver Shackles is available for purchase here: