Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by. Amélie Wen Zhao | Book Review

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Title: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night (Song of the Last Kingdom, #1)

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Format: ebook (borrowed)

Pages: 512

Publication Date: 1/17/23

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mythology, Dragons, Demons, Romance

In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past–and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China.

Once, Lan had a different name. Now, she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and spends her days scavenging for remnants of the past. For anything that might help her understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother, in her last act before she died.

No one can see the mysterious mark–an untranslatable Hin character–except Lan. Until the night a boy appears at the teahouse and saves her life.

Zen is a practitioner–one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom, whose abilities were rumored to be drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Magic to be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.

When Zen comes across Lan’s unusual qi, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it–but he knows: if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime.

Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world.

Content Warning: violence, death

I got this book on my online library and really haven’t read many reviews for it or wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it. Here is what I thought:

+ I like the other series this author wrote, so I was definitely interested to see how this book would pan out. I love the writing because it’s full of action, secrets, a fallen kingdom, a people trying to hold on to their culture and heritage and passing on their knowledge. There is magic, there are demons, and even a tiny bit of a romance.

+ I thought Lan was a intriguing character – she’s a song girl, but she has a mysterious seal on her arm and I was invested in her story to want to desperately find out what that seal on her contained! This book is about power and the consequences of power when there is no balance – and Zen’s character really exhibits the fight inside himself, trying to control a demon, trying to contain his anger against the Elantians and wanting to not be helpless against them anymore. I sympathized with both characters and the rest of the Hin who was trying to preserve their culture and family name.

+ The magic system is really cool and uses the power of qi. I love how the practioners (magic masters) have these amazing skills to fight and write magic seals. It made me wish I could see this book on the screen, just to witness these battles in action. There were really cool scenes in this book, especially the one where Zen and Lan are at the Guarded Mountain and the climax, big fight at the school was amazing as well.

+ The romance is so slight, barely there and with the way things end. It’s not looking hopeful at the moment, but I can’t wait to read book to see where the story goes.

~ The villain is so villainous, I hated him and was rooting for Lan to somehow take him down but it didn’t happen. They need more to take him and the Elantians down and it’s one of those books that makes me want to read the next and the next just to see them taken down.

~ The only thing that took me awhile to grasp at times was the magic because it had to deal with yin and yang and qi. Lan does grasp everything fairly quick even though she’s only training for about 2 weeks – but it’s due to her bloodline.

Why you should read it:

  • great world building, action scenes and characters fighting for their communities
  • Lan and Zen’s internally battle with the demons and wanting power
  • cool magic system

Why you might not want to read it:

My Thoughts:

I went into this one not really knowing what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. I love the action and the whole story was just pure entertainment. There were moments I just was protective of Lan and Zen and I really, really want that villain to be taken down. I’ll be eagerly waiting to see where this story takes these characters in book two!

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon

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2 thoughts on “Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by. Amélie Wen Zhao | Book Review

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