Book Review: Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Angry Robot (August 23, 2022)
Length: 408 pages
Call me an old softie, but a heist novel featuring an ensemble cast of scrappy thieves will get me every single time! Is it any wonder then why I had such great fun with Silver Queendom, Dan Koboldt’s fantasy adventure starring a crew of criminals who moonlight as innkeepers? Or would that be the other way around?
Darin Fields is the owner of the Red Rooster Inn, not exactly known for its comfort or great food, but the establishment makes up for it with its other services. Those in the know come to see Darin to hire him and his associates for their special talents, and it just so happens, he and his team are currently in desperate need of work. Their latest job didn’t exactly go according to plan, leaving them deeply in debt with their local crime boss who doesn’t take kindly to people who owe her money.
Still, one has to be careful in the Old Queendom. After all, Darin isn’t the only thief in town, and this isn’t a place where you’d want to step on any toes. No job is worth getting killed over, and what good is money if you’re dead?
The foundation of any good heist story begins with the crew, and here, Silver Queendom shines. When the book opens, readers are dropped into the middle of a crime in progress, showcasing each of the character’s strengths. Darin is our leader and mastermind, the smooth talker who sometimes lets his mouth get the better of him. Luckily, he has his friends to help out. Evie formerly comes from wealth, and is a master of disguise and quick thinking. And then there’s Tom, the group’s muscle, though in reality, this mountain of a man is actually quite sweet and gentle-hearted. Finally, there’s Kat, the most recent addition to the team. Kat is an amateur brewer who just sort of fell into the whole thieving gig, but she needed a place to keep her stray orphans safe, and the Red Rooster is as good a place as any.
Of course, Darin has one more trick up his sleeve, and that is his metallurgy. Back at the inn, an old bartender named Seraphina holds down the fort whenever the crew is away on business, but she is also an experienced metallurgist who wishes to train Darin to harness his powers, even though magic is strictly forbidden in the Queendom. Only a few know Darin possesses the talent, and he in turn is very circumspect about it, which might explain why the world-building is noticeably sparse in this area. It’s too bad, because would have liked to see more explanation and detail into the magic system, which involves using the power of silver to fuel the user’s actions.
That said, the action and energy in this was high and unrelenting. The plot is not just one heist but many heists, and they simply get bigger and better. Silver Queendom is an adventure through and through, and while it does not offer the genre anything too groundbreaking or new, it was fun and oh so readable. The characters are easy to like and their relationship dynamics and backstories keep the interest strong. It’s great to see that even as the pacing flies along, character development doesn’t suffer at all for it.
Silver Queendom is my third Dan Koboldt novel and he is reliably entertaining as always! If you have a fondness for heist stories, this one is not to be missed, especially if you enjoy the good humor and camaraderie of a fantastic group of characters. Recommended for avid fantasy fans and newcomers to the genre alike.