Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead | Rating: ★★★★★
“Are you in a suit?" I managed at last, my voice choking up. "You didn’t have to dress up for me."
"Quiet, Sage," he said. "I’ll make the hilarious one-liners during this daring rescue."
Richelle Mead is at it again! And by that I mean, she’s being an absolute angel and nightmare and the ultimate goddess of suspense all at the same time. No! Joke! I repeat: no joke.
Silver Shadows is just as fast paced as every novel Mead has ever written and then some. I can’t say all the emotions I felt while reading this one because it’s indescribable but I guess you should trust me when I say it, this book will make you feel e v e r y t h i n g. Prepare yourself for a surge of emotion and a whole world of danger, because whereas The Fiery Heart was all about passion and love, this one takes on a darker tone, while still holding onto the romance and humor of the rest of the series.
Last we saw, Sydney and Adrian were separated when the Alchemists caught wind of their relationship. Sydney Sage was turned in by her own, and younger sister, Zoe Sage and things really hit the fan. After all this time of keeping their relationship a secret, they have been discovered and during an altercation in the night which our previous installment ended, Sydney has sacrificed herself to save her friend Eddie (who was with her when she was taken) and is now being held at an Alchemist reeducation center.
The trickiest part of all is that no one knows where she is being kept. But one thing is for certain, Adrian is determined to find his beloved at any cost and as hope is seemingly lost, he still fights on. Sorta. Back in Palm Springs, the gang is devastated by the loss of Sydney even in the weeks that have past.
It’s obvious that their little family isn’t the same. They are still all together but it is weird to see Jill, Adrian, Eddie, Neil, Angeline and Trey without Sydney and it’s not a shock that they are working to find her and bring her back, along with the help of Marcus and our favorite witch teacher. Aside from these characters returning, we also see Lissa, Rose and Dimitri again.
Little returns include Nina, a mention of Olive, Sonya and Christian as well as a few others who would be considered cameos at best. We also meet up with Sydney’s older sister Carly, for the first time beyond a mention, and the return of Keith. Keith plays a minor part but proves to be of potential great use–he is terrified of his time in reeducation and provides Marcus and Adrian with a lead to where the location may be.
We have a bit of a time jump from the events of the previous book to the start of Silver Shadows. It’s unknown how long Sydney has been gone but she knows one thing: it’s been a very long time and she has been kept in the dark at the center and a voice is urging her to confess her “crimes”–that she fell in love with a vampire.
Once more, our narration is split between Sydney and Adrian as they fight to find their ways back to one another. Sydney in reeducation and Adrian in both Palm Springs, Court and other settings. It doesn’t get confusing, thankfully, and I think Richelle weaved it into the plot excellently.
But back to the characters:
Adrian falls into a hole of despair temporarily and is reunited with his mother, where he learns some interesting details about why she is married to his father. He spends a lot of his time at Court by slipping into old habits and he bonds with Nina a bit–don’t worry, though, there’s nothing romantic there except for Nina’s feelings towards him.
Adrian urges his old friend, and the current queen, Lissa Dragomir, to help find Sydney’s location and is unable to convince her in doing so. I think that Rose would have helped him, though, with just about anything and it’s a bit obvious that she is the first to catch onto his feelings for Sydney.
After a while spent there, he abruptly changes his course and stops drinking and slacking and instead resumes his search for Sydney. Although it never ended, he did slack off a bit but now he and Marcus are ready to continue searching for her and follow up on a lot of leads.
Months had passed for Sydney and the reason Adrian couldn’t reach her was a gas that the Alchemists used to induce sleep in those who reside in care at their reeducation center. It takes her some time to get out of solitary but when she does, she fights their control over her and even gets up to a little trouble that makes the audience equal parts concerned and proud.
While in the center, Sydney meets fellow detainees Emma and Duncan and befriends them. Well, as much as you can befriend someone there. It’s not an easy task, of course, and she fills them in–occasionally–on different things as well as protects a lot of other people at the cost of her own life. I liked seeing this side of Sydney which proves once again how much she has grown in the series.
One day, though, Sydney plans in creating her injection that can fight the compulsion used in the Alchemists ink, she is caught and subjected to further torture by the hands of those in the center. It’s a frightening experience and it certainly escalates from the already shitty torture and treatment people have to suffer through at the center.
We’re talking life threatening.
Meanwhile Marcus and Adrian, along with Eddie and the others, plot a way to get Sydney out after they determine the potential location and Sydrian are reunited in dreams. It’s a risky plan, but together they break into the center and evacuate all those being held–I won’t get into the details but I will say it’s a hell of a wild ride and HOLY SHIT.
Reuniting isn’t all sunshine and daisies though for Sydney and Adrian. The two take a detour and plan to spend a little time with only each other but are soon tailed by multiple alchemists who have clearly been keeping their eyes/ears on the possible whereabouts of the escaped. In particular Sydney. Sydney has replaced Marcus on the Alchemists most wanted list and they only narrowly escape the Alchemists clutches more than once.
Finally inspiration hits Adrian when he remembers Lissa and how she had rejected his demands for helping find Sydney. Lissa will only be able to protect their kind–Moroi. So he has the far fetched theory that if Sydney and himself get married, Lissa would have to help keep her safe and this sets off a chain of events that is thrilling, romantic and dangerous.
Marriage isn’t something that Sydney saw for herself at this age. At least not yet. But she does see her future with Adrian heading this way and the two are wed after an unusual, whirlwind of events and once again escape the Alchemist clutches and make their way back to Court, where they are greeted by a lot of people and a lot of danger.
Let’s just say the parents aren’t pleased with this elopement–Sydney’s jackass of a father is there, as is Zoe and Ian (the Alchemist who had a crush on Sydney), and Adrian’s parents. This isn’t all but they’re the biggest part of this plot, as Mr. Sage demands that they turn Sydney back over to them and it looks as though there is nowhere to go.
Fortunately Lissa vows that Adrian and Sydney are protected. And so they are sent away (thankfully!), but it’s obvious the trouble is only just starting. We’ve got a heartbroken Nina, a startled group of Moroi and Dhampir and humans, and a very angry Ivashkov father–but Adrian’s pleased to find his mother is on his side.
But there’s one thing that could destroy everything–Jill has gone missing and it does not look good. Silver Shadows leaves us on a note that trouble is brewing once more for our favorite characters and that the finale of this incredible series of books is only going to reach an all time high. I recommend this to any fan of the genre and then again to those who don’t, because Bloodlines is truly an insanely good read and Richelle Mead once more blows herself out of the water and outdoes everyone in the genre.