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A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall
Review by Jon Guenther
Orbit Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780316277983
Date: 14 April 2015 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

While some early previewers declared fans of George R.R. Martin and Joe Ambercrombie will enjoy this book, the comparison is a bit unfair. Mostly because I found A Crown for Cold Silver quite original. I predict the author will gain enough of his own following.

From the first chapter, Alex Marshall had me hooked. The book is filled with great action and a credible world, not to mention the neat twists and turns in the early scenes.

Another pleasurable tidbit turned out to be the pace of the book. Sometimes I found the narrative a bit plodding; however, for the most part it kept my interest. A good pace is one of the most difficult hurdles for debut writers, but in this case Marshall pulls it off. The book relies heavily on characterization to carry it. That's not to imply the plot is thin, by any means, but the meat can be found more in the subplots and that's where the real characterizations are.

Cold Zosia proves a strong female protagonist, and there is a dichotomy to her personality that made me both like and despise her. That's to the author's credit. Several of the other supporting characters also proved interesting, and it's this combination that carried the times where the narrative didn't shine.

The only thing I had difficulty with was the interweaving of a separate story line throughout, which makes it difficult to say more since I don't want to risk spoilers. Suffice it to point out I found this a bit ambiguous until about halfway through the book when I began to understand its relationship to the main plot. This could have been made a bit clearer.

Ultimately, I think A Crown for Cold Silver is a solid debut and should be enjoyable to most any reader who likes epic fantasy tales. While there's more sword than sorcery, this is one of the better titles of this kind I've read in awhile if more for the characters than the plot line.

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