Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars
Narrator: Cornell Collins
Length: 10 hours, 16 minutes
The Dragon Queen’s rule is absolute. If you do not fall in line, there is no future as her wrath will take you out. The queen has no room for disobedience or failures, even from her own offspring. The human race has no fight left against the dragons and if the queen has her way, the elves will be next.
Prince Lysander is the son of the queen, but he is essentially a prisoner. The queen has no use for Lysander if he can’t spread her genetic line and Lysander has no interest in having children, nor interest in women, something the queen sees as a failure. If Lysander can’t increase the family line, his time will most certainly run out.
Eroan has been trained as an elf assassin. He has no other purpose other than to kill the queen. Most elves never return home as the queen still lives and now Eroan has been captured, tortured, and held prisoner. But when Lysander takes an interest in Eroan, the queen also takes an interest in Eroan, and Eroan sees his opportunity. Eroan plans to kill them all.
The prince and the elf forge an unspoken bond in their plan to take down the queen and a spark is lit between them. Lysander and Eroan may be true enemies and true warriors and while Lysander doesn’t think he can save himself, he may be able to save one prideful elf. And with that thought, destinies are changed and a love story is born against all odds.
I had not been familiar with this author or this series, but when I saw the description, it really seemed like my type of book. The story was everything I hoped it would be and then even a little more. The Silk and Steel series is a trilogy that will take Lysander and Eroan through an incredible journey. Just seeing where this first book started and ended, it invokes the feeling of a legendary quest and a love story between enemies that will no doubt be epic by the end of the third book.
I’m not going to break down all the immense details of the story as the twists and turns are vast and more impactful when experienced one by one. The book opens with Eroan as a prisoner with Lysander visiting him. One visit gives Eroan hope to try and survive his ordeal. Eroan’s only focus in life has always been to kill the queen, and now that he is inside the castle, he will fight until there is no fight left in him.
The queen is a true villain with a strong magical presence and no redeeming qualities. A dedicated focus of hers is to spread her genetic line and she has little care for who she mates with, and it is implied that includes her offspring. The dragons mostly are evil, and Lysander’s clan is intent on ruling above all. They also have no use for elves. It is an important distinction to note that the dragons are indeed dragons. They will speak of wearing their “human skins,” but it added to the darkness of story to remember they are not human. There is attempted rape on page and rape disguised as dubious consent due to circumstances and there are many harrowing and tension filled passages. Lysander is different than his entire clan, but he has no way out of his life and what is expected of him.
Lysander and Eroan have that spark between them the moment they meet, and even though Eroan is in an incredibly bad state, there is something forged between them from the start. What follows is a tense, seemingly never-ending quest for Lysander and Eroan to find their place in the world while battling one opponent and one situation after the next as the story moves at the perfect pace. This is not listed as a romance, but it is a love story across time and distance and while Lysander and Eroan spend a smaller amount of time together on page, their connection cannot be broken and one chance encounter leads to an endless curiosity, a struggle for survival, and several turning points where they both find themselves at crossroads due to circumstances well beyond their control. Lysander finds himself moving from one distressing and horrific situation to the next, while Eroan tries to reshape his destiny, but their lives will be forever linked.
This book has incredible world building and atmosphere and an intense and graphic story that held me captive at times and when I was not even halfway through this book, I was already looking forward to the next one. The book is darker and may be too much for some readers, but it is an incredibly rich, visual, and rewarding adventure of two true enemies who become irrevocably intertwined for all time.
Cornell Collins narrated this book and his tone really brought the setting to life. What is interesting is that for the first portion of the book, Lysander and Eroan do not speak much and are spoken to. We get to know them extensively through their internal dialogue and it was a technique that worked incredibly well here. A good portion of the book then is Collins in his general narrator tone. His voice is much older than the characters and that worked okay until they actually had their own dialogue when Lysander sounded way older than his years. There are many villains in this story who sounded a bit too cartoonish for my taste and at first when Lysander was speaking, he had the same villainess tone, but his voice was also not consistent throughout. There are many characters that are encountered and many intense scenes and listening to this audio certainly ramped up the adventure and the intrigue and I will highly recommend Silk & Steel in any format.