FORGING SILVER INTO STARS by Brigid Kemmerer, narrated by Cecily Bednar Schmidt (Callyn), Nezar Alderazi (Jax), and Chase Brown (Tycho)

If you loved THE CURSE BREAKER trilogy, which started as a retelling of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and then evolved into a story about two brothers ruling two kingdoms (Emberfall and Sylh Shallow), then you will love this volume, the first of a spinoff trilogy that examines what happens after the magnificent ending of CB.

Author Brigid Kemmerer made an excellent choice in elevating Tycho (whom we met in A VOW SO BOLD AND DEADLY) to one of the main characters, as that provides continuity with the previous trilogy. Tycho, a troubled boy of 15 in AVSBAD, is now, at 19, the King’s Courier. His job is to ride between Crystal City in Sylh Shallow and Ironrose Castle in Emberfall, delivering the private correspondence of King Grey and Prince Rhen.

Tycho enjoys his position and the responsibilities that come with it, but he is lonely. He needs to find that special person that will bring some light into his life.

The two new main characters, Jax an 18-year-old Blacksmith (who lost a foot in an accident), and Callyn, an 18-year-old baker (who makes mouthwatering pastries) both live in the village of Briarlock in Sylh Shallow, near the border with Emberfall. Briarlock is a sleepy place until Tycho’s mare Mercy throws a shoe, and he is obliged to go to the local blacksmith.

Which is how he meets Jax. And since Jax and Callyn have been best friends from childhood, he soon meets Callyn and her charming younger sister Nora. And then various other people find their way there.

Nora was one of my favorite characters in this novel. I loved how her nickname “Callie-Cow” cut the rather serious elder sister down to size. I loved the way she talked or rather prattled about everything. Her dialogue was marvelous and very funny, bringing much-needed comic relief to this rather tense novel about assassination attempts and attacks on the palace that was too uncomfortably close to the riot at the capitol in Washington DC on 6 January 2021.

Although this volume stands on its own, you will understand everything much better if you read THE CURSE BREAKER trilogy first. Five stars.


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