Book Review: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

About the Book:

Title: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Series: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night

Page Length: 512

Publication Date: Jan. 17, 2023

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Synopsis: In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China.

Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died.

The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life.

Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.

When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime.

Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world. 

Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night is the first book in a new YA fantasy series, and it is an immersive and exciting read. There’s a lot to like about the story. The premise is intriguing, and the characters are dynamically developed, complex, and layered, as is the world-building. Oh, and the romance – loved the romance! Stylistically, I loved the book too. The author’s use of language and imagery is exceptional.

Influenced by Chinese mythology and folklore, this is an immersive and immense world that is easy to get pulled into. The chronology at the beginning of the book also offers more insight into the history of the world. Everything is so vivid and rich, and the unique fantasy elements and magic system are fascinating. The setting, plot, and characters also serve to criticize forced assimilation, colonialism, cultural appropriation, sexism, and racism. There are parts at the beginning where there was a lot of information about the world and the magic and mythology, which threw the pacing off for me, but it doesn’t take away from the exceptional development and well-crafted world and characters.

Lan and Zen are both such interesting protagonists, and I like that we have dual perspectives. It definitely gives you the chance to see both of their points of view. And their slow-building love story is fantastic! You can feel the chemistry between Lan and Zen from their first meeting, and that chemistry only increases as the story progresses. Their stories are compelling and heartbreaking, and I didn’t always agree with their decisions, but I’m so curious to find out what happens next!!!

I thought this was an entertaining start to the series. There are a lot of twists and turns, secrets and lies, betrayal, and a few surprising revelations. I’m eager to read the next book in the series, as there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, and I can’t wait to learn more about the characters and their journeys.

Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The writing style.
  • The romance.
  • The character development.

Favorite Line:

She would no longer be the flower. She would be the blade.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

  1. Great review, Julie! This sounds SO good and that cover is absolutely stunning. I love multiple POVs so it’s great to see that you get that in this book too! 😍 I’ve been meaning to check this author’s book out but haven’t had the chance yet… Might even start with this one, lol!

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