Silver Under Nightfall (Saga Press trade paperback reprint, July 25, 2023). Cover by Avery Kua
It’s Friday before a long weekend, and there’s a host of books in my to-be-read pile vying for my attention. But it’s the end of summer and I’m in the mood for something different, so the title I plucked from the pile is Silver Under Nightfall, the adult fiction debut from the author of the popular Bone Witch trilogy, Rin Chupeco.
What’s so intriguing about Silver Under Nightfall? Partly it’s the great Castlevania vibe, which is a definite plus for an end-of-summer read. It’s the tale of a vampire hunter who encounters a “terrifying new breed of vampire” and a “shockingly warmhearted vampire heiress.” There’s a lot more in the back cover text, but honestly they had me at “warmhearted vampire heiress.”
There’s the usual enthusiastic press (Publishers Weekly says it “Makes the vampire genre feel fresh… packed with political intrigue and treachery in both human and vampire realms,” and Strange Horizons says it “packs a powerful punch… a wild, wicked, and welcome addition to the ranks of vampire fantasy novels”) but that’s just noise at this point. My tall chair and comfy drink are ready on the porch, and it time to get this weekend started.
[Click the images to lay eyes on bigger versions.]
The Bone Witch (Sourcebooks Fire, March 7, 2017), Book One of The Bone Witch trilogy,
and Court of Wanderers (Saga Press, April 2, 2024), sequel to Silver Under Nightfall
Here’s an excerpt from Zhui Ning Chang’s feature review at Strange Horizons.
In the fog-shrouded kingdom of Aluria, elite vampire hunter Remington “Remy” Pendergast is alienated from both the upper echelons of high society and the ranks of the “Reapers.” Remy is seen as a spectacle and an outcast, the only son of the legendary hunter Edgar Pendergast, the Duke of Valenbonne, and a foreign mother — whose untimely death is shrouded in mystery and rumors of elopement with a vampire, leading to fear and suspicion that Remy himself may have vampire lineage. Much of his life is controlled by his ailing and still ambitious father, who instilled in him a commitment to protecting the kingdom at all costs. Remy’s situation changes drastically when he catches the attention of warm-hearted vampire heiress Song Xiaodan and her forbidding fiancé, the vampire lord Zidan Malekh, who are visiting Aluria to establish an alliance between their vampire courts and the human kingdom. Meanwhile, there is a mysterious rot ravaging the land, turning humans into a new and terrifying breed of vampire that is nigh indestructible and seems to be controlled by an unknown dark force….
The quasi-Regency setting is laden with political intrigue, thrilling action sequences, and a deep and uneasy history of wars and truces between vampire and human society. Chupeco sets up a sprawling world with a multiplicity of kingdoms, each with its own distinct culture and method of dealing with rogue vampires, as well as an intricate vampire social hierarchy divided into territorial courts….
Chupeco creates a hypnotic and cinematic atmosphere in their narrative, employing lyrical prose and sharp dialogue to blend society ballrooms with scientific research, eerie woods and winding caves with castles and courts. The assortment of weapons and magical skills on display is extremely cool… The assorted secondary characters hold their own, too: my favorite is Remy’s secret vampire friend, Elke, a blacksmith and weapons innovator whom he helped to hide among humans. Every character felt real and particular, with a vivid sense of their motives and personalities…
Silver Under Nightfall packs a powerful punch in its ambition, its joyous queerness, and its revelry and subversion of many vampire fiction staples. It is a wild, wicked, and welcome addition to the ranks of vampire fantasy novels.
Read the whole thing here.
Silver Under Nightfall was published in hardcover by Gallery/Saga Press on September 13, 2022, and reprinted in trade paperback on July 25, 2023. The trade paperback edition is 506 pages, not including the 10-page sneak peek of the sequel Court of Wanderers, coming in April 2024. It is priced at $19.99, and $14.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Avery Kua.
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