Build On What You CAN Do: A Brief Review of The Silvered
5/5 - Thoroughly Enjoyed!
The Silvered is a stand-alone fantasy novel written by Tanya Huff (2012). It follows Mirian Maylin as she steps up when the Empire invades the were-kingdom of Aydori, her homeland. She happens to be nearby when the emperor's men capture five women of the Mage-Pack, and, along with Hunt Pack member Thomas Hagen, resolves to rescue them, even though she is only a low-level mage.
I thought the best feature of this story was the character development. Mirian goes from a privileged but relatively powerless girl to the greatest mage of her time in incremental steps.
As I've said in my On Fantastic Stories series, a story should motivate and empower the reader to action in their own life. Huff does this well through her main character.
Miriam begins with a conviction to do what is right and so little magical talent that she is dropping out of university. Her abilities boil down to lighting a candle and blowing it out again; two seemingly useless abilities. However, she builds on these throughout the story. She can light a gunpowder pouch on fire, she can blow down a stand of trees, etc.
The consistent growth of her powers can be attributed to her application of the simple tasks she understands to more complex problems.
She employs the same principle to the journey itself. Mirian and Thomas must travel out of their kingdom to the heart of the empire as they follow the kidnapped mages, but Mirian is not a soldier as Thomas is. She has lead a sheltered life and rarely walked anywhere before.
However, speed is extremely important to their mission, so they begin alternating between running 50 paces and then walking for 50 paces. At first, Mirian cannot even do that, but eventually she becomes an excellent runner.
The theme that I find encouraging in The Silvered is perseverance.
Mirian does not allow her initial powerlessness to immobilize her. Instead, she takes what she can do and builds on it, growing as a person until, by the climax, she can confront evil face-to-face.
When that happens, when a character overcomes not only their enemies, but also their own limits, my sense of satisfaction at the story's conclusion is much greater. I was disappointed when I realized there was no sequel, although, after consideration, I think Huff made the right decision.