I first heard of this series a couple of weeks ago when book 2, Silver Shark, was released. Since I’m a huge fan of the On the Edge series I decided to read these novellas because they looked promising and most importantly, short.
These are sci-fi stories set in a distant future were different planets have been colonized and where the most influential people have several enhancements that can be either mechanical or psychic, which gives them the upper hand when it comes to the world the live in thus making them the political and economic force. They are called Kinsmen and they are quite the tight group. Family is everything to them and they marry other Kinsmen in order to make them stronger in a political world where genes and family ties are everything.
In Silent Blade we meet Meli Galdes. She severed all ties to her powerful family and now lives as an outcast working for her family as an assassin using her special ability. She is now ready to retire but her brother asks her one last favor, she must kill Celino Carvanna. Meli and Celino share a history, years ago when they were just kids their families arranged an engagement between them. Meli couldn’t be happier about it and spent her adolescence preparing to be the perfect wife in order to gain Celino’s love. But Celino wanted to be free and saw the engagement as a huge roadblock, so he breaks the engagement (which in this world is a great offense) and brutally rejects Meli by calling her ugly and undeserving. Meli wants revenge, but murder isn’t enough, she wants to cause him the same heartache and pain he caused her, so she decides to seduce him and make him fall for her so she can then reject him.
This is another example of Ilona Andrews’ writing skills. In a short story that can barely be called a novella, Andrews manages to create a rich and complex word without overwhelming the reader with a huge amount of info-dumping. The planet where the story takes place is colorful and passionate, just like the people who inhabit it. The world-building is strong and tight, without many loose ends, which is very important when the story is this short. It’s full of possibilities and complex but the story is told in a very simple way as to not to confound the reader.
Meli and Celino were fantastic leads. He was the embodiment of the ruthless alpha-male who would stop at nothing to get what he wants both in business and in love. He falls fast for Meli even though he doesn’t remember her and when he realizes what happened and how she deceived him his reaction was just perfect.
Meli was the perfect match for Celino, in a way she was just as ruthless, but she only wanted to belong and the opportunity to love and be loved. Their story was sweet and hot and I was happy to see how things ended and how everything was resolved.
As much as I loved Silent Blade, I was blown away by Silver Shark. This takes the world-building one step further by showing us a completely different planet, which gives us better understanding of the incredible potential this world has. We now get to see a different culture and dynamics.
When the story begins the reader finds himself in Uley, a planet devastated by more than three hundred years of war. Claire is a soldier and a psycher, a strong psychic ability that allows her to control and read minds. Suddenly Claire’s faction loses the war and she must take cover because her abilities make her a target. So she takes her late mother’s identity and is sent to the planet Rada (the same planet where Silent Blade takes place) as a refugee. The refugees must adapt and so they are forced to look for jobs, Claire ends up becoming the personal assistant to Venturo Escana, one of Rada’s most powerful psychers and also entrepreneurs. But she needs to hide her abilities from him because if the authorities find out about her she will be deported back to Uley and murdered.
This novella was more about the world, and seeing it through Claire’s eyes than about the love story, in fact, there’s a bit of sexual tension between them but nothing really happens until the very end, although when it does you will see that all that waiting pays off.
Just like in the previous story, the characters were compelling a likeable. I think Claire was a fascinating character. Everything about this world is new to her, the colors, the people, the culture, the food, and she needs to adapt while feeling overwhelmed by everything. She comes from a place where everything was dull and grey and people weren’t even allowed to smile. And now she is in a planet where everything, from the scenery to the people, is exuberant and passionate, even to the point of violence.
The love story takes some time developing, but I didn’t miss it, first because everything else that’s going on keeps you riveted, and second because when the romance finally comes, it does it with a vengeance. So here you have a bit of everything, danger, intrigue, politics, sex and love. What else could you want? If you don’t feel like reading both stories you should at least consider reading this one, to me it was almost perfect and I can’t understand why this wasn’t written as a full-length novel, hopefully we won’t have to wait as long to get the next installment.
Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.
On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport—in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.
Kill the man who ruined her life.
Celino Carvanna’s razor-sharp business acumen—and skills with a blade—won him the freedom to do as he pleases. There’s only one thing he can’t seem to control—his reaction to the mysterious woman who tantalizes his senses. Her eyes alone set his blood simmering, stirring ridiculous adolescent fantasies about breasts and honey. With a few words she dissects his soul. Who is she? And how does she slide so easily under his well-guarded skin?
It’s almost too easy to draw Celino within the kill zone. Meli plans to revel in him. Drink him in. Wring every drop of pleasure out of every moment.
And when she’s sure he belongs to her, she will finally repay a decade’s worth of pain—in a single, brutal dose of reality.
Warning: Contains a heroine who excels in moving targets, a hero who can’t get into her pants fast enough, and implant-enhanced sex (no, not that kind of implant…).
Samhain Publishing, Ltd. June 2, 2009
Claire Shannon is a Kinsman, a woman gifted with enhanced mental capabilities. Her skills and her life were taken over by the military to fight in war that has raged on her home planet for decades.
But as the war ends, she is forced to hide her abilities in order to make a new life for herself as a civilian. It’s a new persona, a new planet and new job that has her crossing paths with the powerful and alluring Venturo Escana. Is she strong enough to hide her true nature from her perceptive new boss? And as they grow closer, will she even still want to try?
NYLA. September 14, 2011.