Reviewed by: Amanda
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review is spoiler free, it does assume you’ve read the first in the series, Bronze Gods.
After their last case resulted in the interruption of a potentially apocalypse bringing ritual, Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko are willing to do pretty much anything to keep their jobs, including investigate the strange and clearly magical goings on that are likely a direct consequence of their previous mission.
Their newest case takes them north to the Winter Isle, their transport courtesy of Mikani’s ex-lover, Saskia. She’s got her own reasons for ensuring their safe passage—cragger pirates have been wreaking havoc on the shipping lines, and she’s determined to put a stop to it. But they’re fighting the elements, literally, and closing this case proves far more difficult than anyone could have imagined.
The slow turn in Mikani and Ritsuko’s relationship from partners and friends to something more keeps moving, the needle coming closer and closer to a complete 180. After an incident separates Mikani and Ritsuko, he goes a little nuts (well, more than a little) and the depth of his feelings for her pushes to the forefront, surprising the hell out of him—and me. But he can’t seem to find the words to tell her just how he feels, no matter how much he wants to or how hard he tries.
For her part, Ritsuko’s reactions are quieter but no less intense, which fits with her character. She’s the balanced one, the calmer one, the one they both count on to think things through, whereas Mikani is impulsive and almost always ready for a fight. They make an interesting pair that knows how to play off each other’s strengths.
The hunt for the cause of the magical disruptions is rough and dangerous, and the way the cragger raids are tied into the other incidents works well and comes off as realistic. That said, the mystery almost takes a back seat at times to the way Mikani and Ritsuko try to fumble their way through the discovery stage of what’s likely a burgeoning relationship. Parts are well integrated—Mikani’s initial realizations, for instance—but as the story went on, they became more and more separate. Maybe it was because of how the story progressed; there was a lot of time on the road where there wasn’t much to be done, and an awful lot of time for thinking. Whatever it was, the mystery felt thin at times, like there wasn’t quite enough there to hold it up. And I could have done without the subplot of Saskia coming to terms with her lingering feelings for Mikani, and the twist it takes at the end felt convenient.
As a result, Silver Mirrors was a bit uneven. It took me longer than I would have liked to make it through the middle of this book, but not enough to keep me from finishing, and definitely not enough to keep me from telling everyone and their uncle to read it. The writing is tight, the details of the world subtle and woven unobtrusively into the story.
The backlash of Mikani and Ritsuko’s actions to save their world from almost certain death is sure to provide plenty of fodder for future books, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they grovel for their jobs and separate out their personal lives from the professional.
Sexual content: references to sex