Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Silent Deal by Levi Stack

This review was written by: B
Received: Free e-book copy from the author
Publication Date of Book: May 2013
Pages: 358 (paperback version)
Stars: 6/5 (Yes, I JUST DID THAT!)

"Dwelling on the unchangeable would only lead to madness." - The Silent Deal

Rating: 6/5

Am I allowed to do this?  I don't know, but I am!  That's how awesome this book is!)

In the town of Aryk, there are three rules: no playing cards, no graffiti, and no firearms.  However, if you look hard enough, you will find back streets and dark alleys adorned with bold, shiny, graffiti centering on the forbidden playing cards.  This is known as Brass Art, holding buried secrets revolving around the mysterious history of the Russian town.  No one will talk about these topics.  Not a single soul wants to bring them up.  Silence is everywhere.  However, demanding questions arise.  Why is this happening?  What does all of it mean?  Young Viktor wants to find out.

Plagued with nightmares of horrific ordeals and past experiences, Viktor, a boy in a family of surfs,  can hardly sleep.  Years ago, he secretly went to a town meeting in which a man was hung by the infamous Captain Ulfrik for having a single playing card in his possession.  Then right after, people in horrific masks raided the streets, chasing and searching those gathered around, ransacking and grabbing everyone in sight.  Running, desperately needing safety, he stumbles upon the Brass Art.  Years later, this fourteen year old is determined to discover the true answers that no one will give him.  However, he will need a little help.

If Romulus had grown  up in Aryk, it would be an impressive feat, because his past remained a mystery.  No one knew him; they only knew about him.  No one knew him as a friend, because he didn't have any of those.  Instead he had secrets.  Whether by choice or necessity, Romulus was detached from life in Aryk in a way his peers didn't understand.

Romulus is allusive and an alluring character.  Under certain circumstances (which I won't spoil), these Viktor and Romulus become blood brothers.  Viktor also discovers that Romulus has a playing card of his own that could get him and those around him killed.  They then stumble across a dark and sinister secret that they were never meant to know, and their lives and the lives of their families are in grave danger.  Soon, the men in masks return once again, the Masqueraiders, in search for them and any other remaining card holders.  They are told that these frightening individuals work for and are servants of a mysterious man called the Leopard who supposedly wants the cards for himself and their owners dead.  The only way to keep themselves and their loved ones safe is to find the Silent Deal, a supposed document holding evidence of the Leopard's gruesome crimes.  If found and given to the tsar, everyone could be saved.  However, this will not be an easy feat.  The road will be paved with hardships and perhaps even some...adventure!

As you can easily guess from my rating, I thought the world of this book.  To make it easier for you to understand, let me explain.  You might have read the Percy Jackson series.  The majority of its audience members loved it, and so did I.  The first book grabbed me, and I went on to read the rest of the series.  I even went back to read some of them four times!  I felt this love once again as I read the Cirque du Freak series.  For awhile now, I have been trying to find something new to replace them and obsess over, and in all honesty, I felt the same love for this book and became hooked on it, just like while reading Percy Jackson and the Cirque du Freak series.  Of course, it was not because of the same exact reasons, but it really made me remember what it was truly like to fall in love with a new series yet again, waiting for a few months to pass just so that you could say "Yep, I'm rereading this book just to refresh my memory on it," but secretly you remember every detail about it and simply want to relive that feeling.

The first thing that drew me into The Silent Deal was the setting.  The story takes place in Russia from about 1839-1840 with a couple of flashbacks from earlier years.  I remember my seventh grade history class when we talked about Russia, and I recall becoming immersed in this period.  It is easily said that I have read little to no books with a Russian setting, and the book really excited me because of this.  Then Stack adds on layers of mystery, secrets, almost fantasy like elements.  It was simply a perfect blend of stunning scene after stunning scene.  There were beautifully described forests, colorful tents in a sudden community, and a mystifying castle.    

The second thing that drew me into The Silent Deal was the array of characters.  While I loved all of them, I was especially intrigued with Romulus and his past.  It was shrouded and distant from the reader at many points.  He practically just walked out of the woods one day.  He has a wolf to protect him and definitely owns an enthralling story.  There were gaps that are indistinct, and he was constantly lying about his true identity when it came to his childhood, and I don't mean these to be bad things.  He himself was such a fascinating topic in the story whenever he came up.  I really wanted, needed to know more. Then there were the gypsies. I loved them!  You just have to read it to understand.

Thirdly, there was the atmosphere of the story.  While this is impossible to ever possibly describe, I can only try.  From the very first page, the novel was simply captivating, compelling, and ultimately appealing.  I think that this was largely due to Levi Stack's writing style.  For this being his first book, you would never know it.  His writing was perfect.  I truly believe that he wove a real masterpiece.  There was plot twist after plot twist, and most I never saw coming.  His topic and story line were not only absorbing abut also enchanting!  I just can't describe how much it drew me in.  Everything was clever and the anticipation just grew and grew.  The Silent Deal portrays what a perfect book actually is.  When I started the story, I fell into and never wanted to come back out.  It was like ripping off a bandaid when I did, unpleasant and unwanted.

The Silent Deal is now my go to recommendation book!   I highly encourage all people to read it!  It would blow my mind if you even didn't remotely enjoy it.  Honestly, I can go on and on forever and ever, but I'm sure you don't want that.  So, just go pick up the book and treat yourself to what I promise you will not regret.  Go it now!  You're in for the ride of your life!      

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