The Silvered Serpents

St. Martin’s/Wednesday Bks. Sept. 2020. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250144577.
Gr 9 Up–Months ago, Séverin and his crew beat the remnants of the exiled Fallen House back into hiding. But the victory came at a steep cost, and a loss that has left the entire team reeling. Determined to never lose anything—or anyone—again, Séverin follows clues to the Fallen House’s Sleeping Palace in Russia. Once there he believes he can uncover their greatest treasure: The Divine Lyrics, a book that is said to bestow godlike powers upon anyone who uses it. It may also unite the Babel Fragments spread across the globe that make forging magic possible. While Séverin chases invulnerability to protect those he cares about, Laila hopes the book might save her before time runs out, historian Enrique thinks the high-profile recovery will earn him the respect that eludes him, and scientist Zofia wants to prove that she can take care of herself even if she sometimes needs help understanding other people. Chokshi expertly builds tension and suspense in this sequel as the team delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding the Fallen House, the secret of The Divine Lyrics, and the Lost Muses who may be able to tap into the artifact’s power. Chapters alternating between Séverin and the rest of the team explore their varied motivations and subplots while moving at a crisp pace inexorably toward the novel’s shocking conclusion that will leave readers eagerly anticipating the final installment.
VERDICT The sleeker, smarter, sharper, and bloodier follow-up that fans of The Gilded Wolves deserve.

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