A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall

9/10 By the six devils she bound, you will be bound to this book.

Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.

Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner.

The first time you pick up A Crown for Cold Silver your first thought is whoa, this is one spicy meatball. Simply put, it is massive, and I mean Sanderson Word of Radiance large. This book puts the epic into Epic Fantasy. But don’t be afraid, pull up a chair, send the kids to their Grandparents and drop the dogs off at the kennels. Settle in for the weekend in a comfy chair because you're not going anywhere until it's done.

The story begins with some great opening chapters introducing you to Zosia, a retired legendary General and now Mayor of a small mountain hamlet, slaughtered mercilessly for no apparent reason. Setting out to find answers and seek righteous retribution, old bones once more carry the heavy vengeful weight and fire of a general thought and hoped dead, down a long bloody road.

The plot is fast paced and you eat up the pages easily. It does taper off in sections for the first quarter, as we are introduced to the other characters, but kicks into gear once for the rest of the book. This is where is gets really good.

Zosia is a strong female protagonist (and I do like a strong female lead), she's an old force with an inner strength and a dark humor, a humor which is also reflected thought the rest of the story and her villainous captains. They are a war-hardened, taking life as it comes bunch, even with a few new additions to the campaign, there is a well written familiarity (good and bad) in the group which helps the reader along very nicely.

The world is inhabited with a good mix of races and cultures, Gods, monsters (physiological and physical) and demons. It has it all and you'll love each element of it. The story as a whole is self-contained with plenty of room for further books, and I do hope there is more. While only a small negative and still very good, I did find the people and world elements at times coming across as recognisable and familiar, small aspects I have read before in other stories. These little flashes thankfully do not detract from the story as a whole.

A Crown for Cold Silver reminded me a little of The City by Stella Gemmell in its structure and construct and Joe Abercrombie books in its dark motifs. If you like your Sanderson, Gemmell and Abercrombie then this is the book for you. Interested, you can even read the first seven chapters online - http://www.crimsonempire.net/

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Our interview with Alex Marshall

Which book do you own that puts a smile on your face and makes you happy just by holding it in your hand? Encyclopedia of Legendary Creatures, by Tom McGowen and illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus. It’s a children&rsq [...]

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