Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt (ARC Review)

Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the eARC of Silver Queendom via NetGalley! As always, all opinions are my own. This is a quick, fun heist book with minimal/low fantasy elements and a quintessentially snarky crew that I would definitely recommend for fans of the genre.

Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: Silver Queendom
  • Series: n/a …. ?
  • Author: Dan Koboldt
  • Publisher & Release: Angry Robot, 08/23/22
  • Length: 400 pages
  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Here’s the synopsis via Am*zon:

When you owe money to the biggest criminal in town you are going to need to step up yourthieving game a notch…

Service at the Red Rooster Inn isn’t what you’d call “good,” or even “adequate.” Darin would be the first to say so, and he owns the place. Evie isn’t much of a barmaid; Kat’s home-brewed ale seems to grow less palatable with each new batch; and Seraphina’s service at the bar leaves much to be desired. As for the bouncer, Big Tom, well, everyone learns right quick to stay on his good side.

They may be bad at running an inn, but they’re the best team of con artists in the Old Queendom. When a prospective client approaches Darin with a high-paying job, he knows he should refuse. But the job is boosting a shipment of priceless imperial dream wine, the most coveted and expensive drink in the world. And, thanks to a stretch of bad luck, he’s in deep to The Dame, who oversees criminal enterprises in this part of the Queendom.

If they fail, they’re as good as dead, but if they succeed… well, it’s enough money to get square with the Dame and make all of their dreams come true. Plus, it’s an option for Darin to stick it to the empress, who he has good reason to despise.

Then again, there’s a very good reason no one has ever stolen imperial dream wine…

I like this one as a summer read because it had continually quick pacing with shorter chapters that let me feel like I was making progress. It’s on the lighter, more humorous side and was never boring!

I liked the metallurgy talent but the author could have done a lot more with it. It seems like there are at least one or two other magical abilities in the kingdom that could have been explored too, but I think the choice was made to keep this a relatively low fantasy. The ending certainly left space for future expansion so maybe we will see more in the future.

There’s a good cast of characters with some good banter and dialogue. I liked Tom, he was the stoic warrior with a soft interior type. Darin and Evie and Kat too, each had their own struggles and we saw their strengths. They were a likeable crew and easy to root for, but something was missing to fully flesh them out.  We saw glimpses of their pasts but I think I wanted a little more there. Kat also worked her way into the crew awful quickly, although she earned her place. Their personalities were revealed throughout the book but they themselves didn’t develop. That said, they worked together well and pulled off an amazing heist.

There was not one single character that I disliked, and the side characters did a lot for this one too. Lots of little surprises throughout the book with side characters!

The world build gave me enough to know what was going on.  On a micro level I liked how some cultural tidbits were thrown in like the red foaming mouths of the mercenary horses, the ale making, courier custom, old coins, definitely the rotating market, etc. Little things to make the world seem more real.

I also feel dumb but I don’t actually understand why the client wanted to have the wine stolen 😳, although the resolution was still satisfactory, and that is probably entirely on me, I just didn’t see what the point of it was.

I hope there’s a sequel so we can see the crew in action again!

Overall – it’s a fun, entertaining heist fantasy that I would definitely recommend. It stopped short of 5 stars but I fully enjoyed the book!

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The Pursuit (Book Thoughts) by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

I decided to finish out the Lee Goldberg portion of the Fox and O’Hare series and was not disappointed.  Book 4 – The Scam – was my least favorite in the series and I almost didn’t read The Pursuit but now I’m glad I did.

The action was back.  The heist and con were dangerous, exciting, and interesting, and the bad guy was actually pretty dark in how he treated his employees (and was planning on killing tons of Americans).

A new character was introduced, if anyone remembers the robbery that the team accidentally botched in The Chase – the leader is brought back as a sewer expert.  Oh my gosh he had me cracking up with laughter because he took himself so seriously, but he did his job.  It was also nice to drop back in on Montreal, one of my favorite cities!

The regular team is back as well, Willie and Boyd and the crew.  We finally see some chemistry and action between Kate O’hare and Fox too, which *even I* was ready for at this point.  I’m glad Jake (her dad) approves too.  I’m also glad that he got to pass his love for rocket launchers onto Willie!

The characters carry these books for sure even when all else fails.  Jake always manages to bring in some amazing old military buddies and the entire team has great chemistry at this point. I always say there is banter for days but it’s true!.  There’s a new office assistant type character as well that I think was a Goldberg addition 😂

I think what finally set this one apart was the ultimate danger and complexity of the con – I do love medical things and the bio terror / terrorism angle was something new for the series. Also it seemed like a lot of bad guys got shot and killed – and the FBI was like GUYS YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN! 

Overall: if you think there’s a book 3-4 slump, I would keep reading for this one.  You can always check out the audio as well, Scott Brick can do no wrong and delivers a solid no frills narration with plenty of vocal variety!