As I sit on my bed writing this post, there’s a cat curled up asleep beside me, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s not a cat at all, and instead a fallen angel. I mean, if I were a fallen angel, I could see taking the form of an asshole that gets pampered as much as it desires. I’d be doing a bit more than editing pictures of perfectly spiced chicken thighs, I’ll tell you that much. But I digress. What does this musing of mine have to do with books or food?
A lot. You see, today I am reviewing The Silent by Elizabeth Hunter, and those angels? Well, let’s just say that some of them love them some pussy. Literally. Not a euphemism.
Well, not literally, because it’s fucking fiction, but fictionally literally. You get it right? Have I had too much wine? Probably, but I can’t change that now, can I?
They are called kareshta, the silent ones.
But the silent are waking.
Kyra has lived her life in the shadow of a powerful Grigori brother. She’s ignored her own desires for the good of her family, but an unexpected request from Thailand sends her on a mission that could change her life and alter the fate of free Grigori all over the world. Sons of the Fallen hidden in the mountains of Thailand have adapted an ancient human magic for their own purposes. Will this practice bring peace or lead to even greater danger for the Irin race?
A simple diplomatic mission sends Leo to Bangkok, but he didn’t expect to see a familiar face in surveillance photographs. He’s tried everything to drive Kyra from his mind, since he was convinced the gentle kareshta wanted to hide from the world. How did she turn up halfway across the globe, living with Grigori who may or may not be Irin allies?
Leo has bided his time. He’s given Kyra her space.
But this scribe is ready to hear a kareshta sing.
My feelings were…feely.
I have thoughts. I also have tingles. Some of those thoughts and tingles mingled making me feel very feely.
This book is book five in the series and stands alone, but it would serve the reader better to read the first four. However, if you jump right in on this one, you won’t be lost, as Hunter is ridiculously adept at bringing round the backstory of the series without making it tedious and boring, which is a fate befallen many a series installment.
Leo and Kyra made me so happy. They’re far from a typical pairing. She’s very dark and as jaded as a bus driver who’s run the night shift for 30 years. Leo? He’s a glass half-full kind of guy. He’s capable of optimism even if he’s grounded in reality. Straight away, the relationship they have–or lack thereof is designed to be just riddled with both possibility and tension.
Not to mention the pesky fact that Kareshta are prone to just go poof one day because they can’t access the magic the singers can, to, I don’t know, maybe not go poof. (This is not a spoiler–if you’ve read the previous books, you know that the Kareshta are not long for this world.)
What do you do when you’re falling for a guy, but you could just blink out of existence without notice? You see what I’m saying? Complicated.
But as always, Hunter manages to pull all the millions of strings that belong to this world she’s created from the magical ether inside her mind and string them together in a a tapestry that I imagine looks something like the musical weavings completed by the brightest Kareshta in Bangkok. The plot plays along like a ballet with an unassuming but intensely strong company that supports the stars but manages not to fade into the scenery.
The Silent never gets to the point where it feels like you have to pull apart the pieces of the storyline to understand the plot. It’s a story that marches forward, and, while it makes reference to and falls into the past at times, never gets lost in the framework, but instead allows you to view the whole as something altogether more.
Hunter also gave me such a nerdgasm when she dug through the cultural traditions of Southeast Asia and pulled aspects of their culture into her world. You honestly learn a lot about the region and it makes you want to learn even more. Bhutan and Myanmar are not places that are often written about in the Western tradition. In that slow, inexorable slide into modernity that has swept up the rest of the world–seemingly overnight–a great deal of that area remains as it was–and that’s really amazing and beautiful. Hunter must’ve completed just a boatload of research to be able to flesh it out into her narrative as seamlessly as she did.
But this book isn’t merely a fantasy that’s gripped in the real traditions of the people featured in it. Oh, fuck no. This is a romance, baby, and the characters are definitely DTF.
And get down they did.
Now, I lost my virginity so long ago that phones didn’t even really have internet, yet, so I have a hard time remembering what that was like. But I will tell you one thing–I know it wasn’t child of an angel boning, because it it was, I’d not have stopped. In fact, I’d still be doing it right now instead of chatting with you folk.
You read that right–they’re both virgins. Or they were until just recently. Let me tell you, the offspring of the angels don’t just wing it when it comes to being fruitful and multiplying–or practicing their multiplication tables. Oh no, they take that stairway to heaven without leaving earth.
How many angel puns do you think I should add?
He tasted her forbidden fruit and found it delectable, believe you me.
He was all up in her Garden of Eden and dropped his fig leaf quicker than Adam dropped Lilith.
Keep going? Stop?
You get the point. (So did Kyra–all night long.)
Let’s just put it this way; a good time was had by all.
In all seriousness, The Silent is an unambiguously captivating novel that’s a joy to read and almost too easy to get lost in. As soon as you crack the spine, you’ll keep flipping the pages until you reach the end, and you’ll love every minute. Elizabeth Hunter manages to lull her readers into such a state of bliss that they’re completely willing to winnow off the necessities of reality in order to dive into her fantasy world. Her work is always singular in its prose, but The Silent is permeated with a sensual style and flair that becomes a quiescent narration which flows as seamlessly as spun sugar and is flavored just as beautifully.
Five StarsReview: The Silent by @ehunterwrites Recipe: Perfectly Spiced Chicken Thighs BOTH ARE DELICIOUS Click To Tweet
When I was coming up with a recipe for this post I knew it had to be chicken. Why, you ask? They eat like, four kinds of chicken in this book, so it was fucking obvious to me I had to make some. But, it’s the summer, and the heavy curry and noodle dishes that are popular year-round in Southeast Asia are not as popular in the states this time of the year. My kids want something that tastes good hot or cold, can be eaten with their hands at the park, and doesn’t take forever.
These Perfectly Spiced Chicken Thighs are inspired by the chilis of Bhutan and the curries of Burma. It’s roasted easily in the oven, but could also be grilled or cooked in a tandoor.
Perfectly Spiced Chicken Thighs
What Goes In?
- 2 lbs chicken thighs
- chopped cilantro
- cooking spray or parchment
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp clarified butter
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp chopped red chilis
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 3 tbsp finely grated onion
- 1 tbsp chopped and bruised lemongrass
- tbsp soy sauce
- tsp white pepper
- combine all the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken, tossing it together
- refrigerate at least three hours or overnight
- preheat oven to 375F
- lay the chicken out on a sprayed cookie sheet or parchment lined sheet
- give each chicken thigh at least 2" of space on all sides
- roast for 30 minutes or until cooked until 160F in the center
- top with chopped cilantro