Silverlegs is probably my most personal work yet, so I’m not sure what to put in this review that you guys might find even remotely funny. Here’s a Life of Brian gif anyway.
I am an Ancient Rome nerd, an atheist who reads obsessively about religion, and, some might say a “survivor” (although I never liked that term). To me, Silverlegs is a point in my literary career where these three lines converge.
It is, first and foremost, 380 pages of Ancient-Rome-themed dark/epic/low fantasy porn. If you quietly masturbate under the covers to the biographies of your favorite Roman emperors at night —with your left hand of course— and you’re hiding a replica of a 2nd-century gladius in your closet, you have come to the right Goodreads page, amicus. Marching legions, battle strategies, loricae, and marble everywhere: they’re all waiting for you, so pop up the tissues and lotion!
At a deeper level, Silverlegs is a cautionary tale about politics and religion, witnessed through the eyes of a girl who hasn’t yet the intellectual tools to understand it and tries to navigate the collapse of her world as best as she can. Constanter is our guide, but unlike her, we readers do understand the big picture of the events unfolding before her eyes —meaning that Silverlegs‘s premise is basically a potpourri and a retelling of the collapse of the Roman empire, concomitant with its slide into the throes of religious fanaticism, and, ultimately, its descent into the dark age.
Constanter’s world is a divided empire where emperors are either tired old men or suggestible children at the mercy of religious or military leaders. Conquests and carnage are waged in the name of gods believers have yet to see, and the power rests not in the hands of those who can fight, but rather those who monopolize knowledge and political influence.
Any similarity between the tidal rise of Christianity in the post-Constantine Roman empire and the cult of Aus in its fictional Lorian counterpart is totally intentional and I’m not even sorry.
Lastly, Silverlegs is an intimate journey, a coming age built on the ashes of one’s childhood. Constanter’s rage is both her drive and her poison throughout her saga, and, if nothing else, I hope her internal struggle and empowerment will resonate with readers who’ve been down that same road, and felt the same anger at being trapped in a body someone else has broken into.
And to conclude this review: OMFG it’s not medieval fantasy for once!