The Rest is Silence is a beautiful, low-angst, fast-paced story of love, longing, loyalty, and the power of friendship. When you somehow stop staring at this perfect elegant gorgeous cover and begin to read the book, the story opens with a very [record scratch] [freeze frame] "Yup, that's me! You're probably wondering how I got here..." moment of drunkenness, and it's great! We meet Xavier inside of the castle garden's fountain, dripping wet and disoriented, and then suddenly talking to a ghost. But not just any ghost --his best friend's father's ghost. And what does the ghost say? "Avenge me, my boy." Dun! dun! Duuun!
Xavier's best friend is Xander. (Forewarning, for my fellow Executive Dysfunction / brain fog friends: You'll need to make a plan to differentiate between the very similar names. But you can do it! And it's worth it!) Xander is the Prince. His father (the King!) has just died, and his uncle has taken over --He's about to marry Xander's mother to make it all legal. Xander is obviously sad, confused and angry about all of this. And then the King's ghost tells them to avenge his death! Thus begins an adventure and an awakening to uncover the truth of what really happened the night the King died. Who can they trust? How can they fix this mess! All they know is (High School Musical 3 voice) They're allll in this together!
The story is told from three points of view:
1. Xander, the Prince, who will not repeat outfits and cannot bear to live without tea.
2. Xavier, a strong, skilled fighter (his father is Captain of the King's Guard) who knows his best friend well and is always there to comfort him. Also he has dreadlocks. Yes to casual PoC rep!
They are best friends who grew up together and are in love with each other but haven't figured out that it's mutual yet! They remind me of the boys in Mackenzie Lee's Gentlemen's Guide.
and 3. Arcadia, who has been chosen to marry the Prince, and lives in the castle as his future wife, but knows that he's in love with Xavier and is totally supportive of them. She's not bitchy, cruel or vindictive about that in any way, which is AWESOME.
Arcadia's relationship with the Prince is affectionate and supportive and more like a big sister. She's the spark that enlightens the boys of their love for each other and encourages them to go forward. Arcadia is brilliant, determined and defiant. She takes charge of situations, and knows to take advantage of the times women are overlooked. I would like an entire book on her! She embodies the kind of bold, natural confidence you find in Talia Hibbert's women. She's an awesome force in support of the boys' relationship and a fierce fighter in the battle against enemies of the Prince. To me, she's the hero of this story.
Wanna see some fan art?
Emily (@pigeonprincess on Instagram) made this gorgeous image in case you need some help picturing the three main characters.
The Rest is Silence has elements of Fantasy, Historical and Shakespearean darkness, but it felt very Contemporary to me. I wouldn't usually read either of those genres, and yet the world-building is so intriguing that I want this to be a six-book series. The main characters are young adults, and people in power are messing with their lives, but there are also many joyful moments of teasing the Prince for being spoiled and joking with longtime friends. And when Xander and Xavier get together, it's sweet and open, unashamed and totally wonderful! I want so badly for all the fan art I imagined while reading this book to become real.
If you're into: Best friends being in loooove with each other, Castle drama (think The CW's Reign, but gay!), and friends going on quests for justice: This book!
A note: There are some slight grammatical errors. Not big ones, and no spelling errors. Just small 'Oh this should have been this word' second-language things, but it never distracts from the story or interrupts the flow.
Content warnings: deceased parent, ghosts, murder, death of a prominent character (because it's a retelling of Hamlet).