Leta’s Book Review: Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer

Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer

Young Adult Fantasy, 14+

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


In Brigid Kemmerer’s newest novel, we return to the world of Emberfall where we once heard the stories of Harper, Rhen, Grey, and their friends. If you want to read about those characters and how they become who they are in Forging Silver into Stars, you can read the Cursebreaker series, starting with A Curse So Dark and Lonely. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling with magic teleportation between worlds, disability representation, and lots of great characters. It helps you to understand Tycho, one of the point-of-view characters in this newest book, and how he became the King’s Courier. However, it’s not necessary to read the Cursebreaker trilogy in order to enjoy this story. Since this takes place afterwards and with the same characters, be aware that this review and the novel itself will COMPLETELY spoil what happens to the characters in the Cursebreaker trilogy.

You’ve been warned!



The novel opens with Tycho four years after the end of A Vow So Bold and Deadly. Lia Mara is the queen of Syhl Shallow, Grey is the king of Emberfall, and Rhen and Harper are acting regents of Emberfall in Grey’s absence since he married Lia Mara and chose to live in Syhl Shallow. Tycho is the King’s Courier, travelling between the two countries carrying messages and other important information back and forth. In the middle of his journey lies the small village of Briarlock, on the Syhl Shallow side of the border. The other two point-of-view characters live in this small town: Jax, the blacksmith and Callyn, who runs her family’s bakery now that it’s only her and her sister Nora.

One of the main themes that Kemmerer executed so perfectly in the Cursebreaker books transferred over to this new series so well, and that theme is politics. The two kingdoms have a long history of wars with each other, and the citizens have difficulty trusting each other. Despite that their kingdoms were joined four years ago, there are a lot of threats from people opposed to Grey and in particular, his magic. They call themselves the Truthbringers, which is a bit silly but fits right into this world. They want to bring to light the truth about Grey and his magic: that it is a threat to the safety of the queen and the people of Syhl Shallow.

I honestly enjoyed this novel. It was intriguing from the moment they began finding coded messages being passed through seemingly harmless sacks of grain and kept my interest later on with a perfectly lovely romance. Returning to this world felt so comforting, like going home for a holiday break. I gained a better appreciation for the returning characters since they weren’t involved in conflict so actively and seemed more able to grow as people. For example, I remember hating Rhen while reading A Curse So Dark and Lonely and he was one of my favourite characters in this one. I feel like I need to go back and reread the Cursebreaker trilogy so I can gain a better understanding of these characters.

One complaint I have, which is a common one among YA fantasy, is that no one talks to each other and explains their side of the story. Many things could have been solved or avoided if this happened. Of course, I do understand that this does happen in real life and it gets the same reaction of “why didn’t you just ___?” so it’s not unrealistic, just frustrating. There were also a couple of moments where this got quite bad when Grey began questioning Tycho’s loyalty. If I had to guess, the reason this was done was to show Grey’s paranoia about the safety of his family from dissenters, but it didn’t quite come off that way. Grey’s stoicism makes it hard to justify some of his actions because we don’t always know as readers what his personality is like underneath the stoicism.

This first book is setting up a new trilogy very well. It has some good cliff-hangers yet wrapped up enough of the plot to feel satisfied and still has a wide enough range of plot options that readers can wonder about what’s going to happen without being able to guess. It’s about to get even more complicated, so join in on the fun now, catch up on the Cursebreaker books, and settle in for the ride.

Finally, content warnings: child abuse, ableism, sexual assault, kidnapping, and pregnancy loss.


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