Author: Kerstin Gier
Release: June 20th 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Silber trilogy
Sequels: Silber #2, Silber #3
Strange doors with lizard handles, talking stone statues and wild nannies with an axe ... Liv Silber's dreams are a little peculiar lately. Especially one is weighing heavily on her mind. She visited a cemetery in the middle of that dream, at night, and observed four boys during a ritual. But the boys embody a connection to her actual life, because Grayson and his three best friends are real. As of late, Liv attends the same school as the four of them.
Really creepy — much creepier than every cemetery at night — is the fact that the boys know things about her that she only talked about in that dream. How can that be? Very bizarre, and Liv has never been able to resist a good mystery...
I was still very hungover on re-reading Divergent when I started with this book and at first I wasn't sure if I really wanted to read this, because I had to adjust to German writing again. (Yes, it's written in German by a German author and there's no English translation yet). Anyways, even through my state of unhappiness at the prospect of having to wait another four months till Allegiant, after about forty pages, I was sucked straight into this story. Divergent, Tris and Four were all forgotten for the moment.
What I noticed first was Gier's sense of humor — her writing is hilariously sassy and witty, her books really have the ability to crack me up and make me laugh like a maniac like nobody's business. I loved that about Ruby Red already, and I loved it about Silber as well. Here are some of the best quotes (translated by myself):
“Get your hands off me, Gandalf,” I said, and freed the strand of my hair from Arthur's fingers.
By then I had learned about fifty new shades of white and selected those with the most beautiful names (»old lace« for Lottie, »snow white« for Mia and «sea shell« for myself), and Florence proved to be an excellent adviser, while Grayson proved to be colorblind. (“Are you kidding me? It's all the same shade of white!”)
“And he murdered your dog because you aren't a virgin?” That seemed to be a bit extreme. Since when were demons catholic?
And there are many more. In ways of her personality, especially her wit and curiosity and overall manner, Liv seemed to be basically Gwen from Gier's other YA series, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I absolutely love Gwen, she's one of my most favorite characters, so I had a soft spot for Liv from the beginning and I couldn't help but compare her to Gwen all the time; sometimes I even thought I really was reading about Gwen, not about Liv. However, she wasn't Gwen, and still Olivia Silber was a strong, determined heroine, very canny and smart, as well as a wonderful narrator, and she certainly provided a lot of entertainment throughout the novel.
But Liv wasn't the only good character, this novel had a big cast of characters, who were all in their distinct ways extremely intriguing. On this matter, it reminded me so much of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, which I kind of expected it to be like right from the start. We have four boys and rituals and weird things happening, and that one girl that gets accepted into the group of boys. But the characters weren't really the same, there was no Ronan here, no Gansey, not even a Gideon from Gier's Ruby Red series. So let's just start with Jasper Grant, whom Liv calls Razorfun Ken in the beginning, because he looks exactly like her little sister's Razorfun Ken doll. Her new "friend", Persephone Porter-Peregrin has an unhealthy obsession with Jasper, which led to another brilliant moment, that I cannot help but quote:
“A new friend of yours, Aphrodite?” inquired Razorfun Ken and pointed at me.
Persephone's cheeks got a shade darker. ”Oh, hi Jasper! I didn't see you. God, no! I was appointed to give her a tour, she's a new student. Olive something. Her parents are missionaries or something.”
Or something. I gave her a pointed look through my missionary's daughter's glasses.
Jasper is extremely attractive and gets all the girls, but unfortunately, he doesn't have many brain cells. He's the man whore in the group, the one who doesn't really get anything that's happening and messes everything up because of his stupidity. He's not a very important character and didn't develop much, but I still enjoyed his idiocy. Made for many great quotes. Next, we have Arthur Hamilton, who's even more good looking than Jasper, thus being called the "most handsome boy in the Western Hemisphere." He was pleasant enough in the beginning, but he started losing his charme by the end. I can't really say how I feel about him, having read the book, because it's spoilery, so I can only say he's nice enough. Following Arthur, there's his best friend Henry Harper, with the alliterative name. I didn't like him as much as I could have for reasons I explain later in this review. He was clever, he wasn't the most beautiful guy ever, which was a relief since every guy is basically an Adonis in this novel, and he wasn't annoying or anything. Besides that one thing that made him hard to like, he was very decent. Now let's get to the last boy remaining: Grayson Spencer. He was probably my favorite character, or well, he shares that position together with Liv and Mia. At first, he was mysterious and unapproachable, later becomes concerned and a little overprotective of Olivia, and I loved his development during the novel, there were times when he was hard and unforgiving and then those scenes where he was very sweet and gentle. Grayson was funny and smart as well, which just made him ridiculously perfect. Plus, he's British, like the other guys, so the only question left is, where can I get one of those Grayson Spencers? That being said, there's only one other character I want to talk about, the before mentioned Mia Silber, Liv's little sister. She was extremely badass and cute, I wish I could have a little sister like her. Liv is so lucky. I'll give you this quote, and if you don't love her after that one, I don't know.
I swallowed. “Would it be very bad if I lost my immunity to boys, Mia?” It was pointless to deny it.
Mia just regarded me and sighed. “Is it at least a good feeling?”
Hard to say. Right now, yes. Just because he was there, walking towards me bathed in sunlight and because nobody in the world had a smile like his. And because...
“Liv, stop it,” Mia hissed. “You look like a lovestruck sheep!”
I winced. “That bad? If I look like that again, please nudge me or throw something at me, okay? Promise.”
“Gladly,” she answered, and because she always keeps her promises, three hours later I had bruises on my ribs and been hit by all kinds of missiles: several chestnuts, a small candle, and a blueberry muffin.
I could only stare at him. Immediately, I was hit by an apple.
“'Scuse Me!” Mia shouted.
Now, let's get to the point where I explain my displeasure at Henry: The romance aspect. From the blurb and everything, you have probably guessed that the love interest here is Grayson Spencer, huh? Especially since there seems to be a lot of sexual tension between the two at first. (“It's my fault she's here. Her name is Liv and she's my dad's girlfriend's daughter. And apparently ... I can't stop thinking about her.” | “I think Grayson is the most attractive,” said Pimpledy. “Right after Arthur, of course. He looks like he's nice and he has those beautiful brown eyes.” “Yes, that's right. Like caramel,” I said and cringed at the same time. Oh God, I had to get away from here.) Now, Grayson is Liv's soon-to-be stepbrother, which would have made for an awesome romance, I think, because it has this kind of inofficial "forbidden" thing about it, which I haven't really seen before in YA Literature. Sure, there's always an obstacle that hinders the couple's happiness, but being step siblings isn't the usual starcrossed-lovers kind of hindrance, and it would have been interesting reading about that. I took to the idea of their romance as soon as there was the slightest hint of their being attracted to each other and started shipping them hardcore. BUT. It's not Grayson. It's Henry. That quote above, the one with Mia throwing things at Liv? It's because she's lovestruck with Henry. Now, their romance was sweet and it wasn't insta-love, but I was already shipping Liv with Grayson at the time, hard, so I couldn't... Argh. It annoyed me a bit. Gier hinted that there's relationship trouble with Henry and Liv in the sequel, and if I don't read too much into it, there are hints that Grayson might fall for Liv after all, so maybe in the next books... I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Call me weird or stuff, because I ship step siblings, but what the hey.
Anyways, plot! Yes, amazing, interesting plot. Nice world-building. The story takes place in London again, like Ruby Red already did, but it seemed to me like a whole other London than the one in Ruby Red. It was a bit sad, but she had to distinct the series from each other, I guess. Well, she had a very alluring premise, dreamwalking, so to speak, and I haven't really read about anything like that before. Not really sure if this is Paranormal or Supernatural, I think both applies. Anyways, I loved the idea that everyone has their own individual doors that lead to their dreams. The ritual part of the plot, what with the rising demon, added a nice touch of dark and cryptic, which I was fascinated with and enjoyed. Add to that the mystery aspect, and it felt a little like Mara Dyer and The Archived combined, only slightly less peculiar and a bit less serious. I think Silber is definitely up there with Mara Dyer, and maybe even The Archived.
Another thing I appreciated were some Ruby Red references here and there, it was a nice hint of nostalgia, as it is one of my most loved series, and they are probably the three books I have re-read the most times. Furthermore, quite a few Lord of the Rings hints again, too. Props for that.
In conclusion, a very thrilling and successful start to a new YA series by one of my favorite authors. I'm very looking forward to the sequel. The novel is actionpacked, compelling and unpredictable, as well as very entertaining and amusing. Definitely worth reading, at least if you're German or can read German. If not, you'll have to wait until it's translated into English, but it's going to be worth the wait.
Let me grace you with another hilarious quote to end this awfully long review.
“Right! We have impeccable manners. Good evening, Sir.” Mia curtsied in front of the burly stone statue that was standing next to the front door, a mix of eagle (head to chest) and lion (the rest). “Allow me, my name is Mia Silber, this is my sister Olivia Silber and the one with the frown on her face is our uncaring mother, Professor Doctor Doctor Ann Matthews. May I ask with whom I have the pleasure?”
”That's Frightful Freddy, often called Fat Freddy.” The door had been opened soundlessly, and in front of us stood a tall boy, a little older than me, wearing a long-sleeved black T-Shirt and jeans.