Karlie's Reviews > The Silver Blade

The Silver Blade by Sally Gardner
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's review
Jan 27, 2012

really liked it

“Paris, 1793. The blade of the guillotine falls on the neck of the King himself, and the spirit of the French Revolution lies in tatters. The Reign of Terror has begun. Yann Margoza is helping desperate people to escape to England, where Sido, the girl he loves, waits to hear from him. But Yann's past haunts him. He is in grave danger, and so is Sido. For under the streets of Paris, in the catacombs, the howl of a great beast can be heard. And a boy with angelic looks and an evil heart is ready to do the bidding of a man who has made a pact with the devil. A thrilling tale of secrets, of murder, revenge and romance, written with the vividness and passion that made The Red Necklace such a fantastic success”

I stumbled across this book in a tiny bookshop in a little quiet town, whilst on a weekend away. Rather perfect for me, small town, cute bookshop I was in heaven. (Well almost! That award goes to Hay-on-Wye “Bookshop That Becomes A Cocktail Piano Bar” *faints*) I was curiously scanning a bookshelf looking for a book that I hadn't read yet. This book jumped out at me because of my “It's shiny” Magpie personality. It had the wonderful shiny image on a black background look, that I am fond of. All it took was turning over the book to read the top line “Paris, 1793.” With that it had to be mine. I have a certain weakness for any adventure in a historical setting, add in Paris and the devil to that and the Bibliophile in me is putty in your authorly hands.

I really enjoyed this book for reasons that weren't always central to the plot. I loved the setting, I loved the darkness, the fear of the aristocracy and the gritty, dirty, realism of the newly empowered working class. I could picture the bars with their straw covered floors, could smell the spilled beer and neglected to recently wash patrons. In the scenes with the actors you could smell the greasy face paint, see their stressed, haggard expressions in a very real way. That is talented writing at its best. I think I've read so much urban fantasy recently that this was slightly out of my comfort zone, but in a wonderful swashbuckling adventure kind of way.

This book was dark. Dark in a way that a lot of other books try for and miss. Dark in a casual, almost easy way. It pulled you in and sat you next to the characters, made you hide in the shadows and clutch your loved ones in sympathy for the aristocrats. There were certain parts to the book that didn't grip me as much as other books have done, didn't make me feel for the individual main characters in some way. I didn't care for them as much as I usually do when I read fiction. But this world, the atmosphere, the background characters, the setting, they grabbed me and brought me into the world in a way that the main characters didn't quite manage to do. But for once I didn't think that this detracted from my enjoyment of the book. The fear and world was more than enough for me and I indulgently fell into it and savoured the experience.

I was greatly disappointed when I realised that this book was a sequel, meaning I would have to read them in the wrong order. This didn't reduce my enjoyment of the book though, even though it should have. This was a world that I really enjoyed to explore and would like to visit again.

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