Silver-Tongued Devil (Sabina Kane #4) by Jaye Wells

This review contains spoilers for Red-Headed Stepchild, Mage in Black and Green-Eyed Demon.

Sabina and company have returned from the city of New Orleans after the final showdown with her grandmother. Maisie hasn’t fared well after the nightmarish ordeal and Sabina is having problems dealing with her place in mage society. Various other characters are all having their own little emotional problems. While this in itself might make for a somewhat decent drama, it is in no way conducive to the general style of the series.

In a series predominated by a half-vampire, half-mage ex-assassin, action is the key point. Sabina is a warrior: vicious and funny in her own cynical way. In previous books, she has reveled in that, suppressed it and so on, with each story bringing something unique to her character. Silver-Tongued Devil, however, provides no addition to her character or the plot or setting for the majority of the book.

Not a new city
The first three books each showed a new locale, but this book repeats the setting of Mage in Black, New York City. It removes that interesting experience in which we get to experience how the magical element of the world affects the mundane layers of a new city. Even New York doesn’t seem as detailed as it was written before.

Characters gone sour
The characters that traded back humorous insults and quips in the earlier books spend the majority of Silver-Tongued Devil in a state of constant complaining, fighting, getting emotional and lying to each other that feels like a cheesy soap opera.

Almost non-existent plot with no danger
What is worst about this book, however, is the plot. It focuses on a simple element of a couple of murders right before a peace treaty. That pretty much sums the first three-quarters of the novel. With prior books, Sabina was in danger, whether on the run from vicious vampire assassins or trying to immerse herself in mage society or so on. But in Silver-Tongued Devil, there is almost no sense of urgency, alarm or pathos for the characters when their biggest problem is external and when they focus more on their own petty squabbles and romantic turmoil than on the treaty signing.

The first three-quarters of the novel could probably have been compressed into half its size and left the actual meat of the novel intact. Nonetheless, the last quarter of the book was enjoyable. It had danger, progression, character growth, humor and all the other signature features that made the first three books so much fun to read.

Why should you read this book?
Overall, Silver-Tongued Devil read more like some contractual drama that avoided the series’ major arc for the most part and barely progressed the characters until the last stretch. While I would recommend the first three novels, which fill out a nice trilogy in themselves, I cannot say with certainty that fans of the first three would enjoy this book. However, I have high hopes for the next installment, based on the end of Silver-Tongued Devil.

Ashik received a review copy of Silver-Tongued Devil courtesy of Orbit.

About Ashik Ibrahim

Ashik is fond of fine coffee, tea and books. He is also amenable to bribes (See prior sentence for ideas). He spends his time coasting through life on his charm, intellect and appalling arrogance. Ashik's favorite authors include Kevin Hearne, Lev Grossman, Brandon Sanderson, George R R Martin, Jim Butcher, Scott Lynch, and Douglas Hulick.

Check Also

Half-Off Ragnarok (InCryptid #3) by Seanan McGuire

Review overview Concept Story Writing Characters Genre Elements Family fun? Chock full of quality world …

Leave a Reply