Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Silver Shark
~Ilona Andrews

Format: Kindle Edition 
File Size: 242 KB 
Publisher: NYLA  
Publish Date: September 14, 2001 

From the author's website:
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?

Claire Shannon was born in a country at war. Brodwyn has been at war with Melko since before she was born; her entire life has been one of service and sacrifice - hot water, food, happiness, her life - all given up for the war cause.  Claire is a soldier; she has been since the age of 14 when she was taken from her sick mother's bedside. She's a member of an elite team of "psychers", or soldiers who fight with their minds instead of their hands.  Claire can disarm or kill any threat in a matter of seconds.

Claire's team is on a mission when she finds out the war is over and her side lost. They're killing all the psychers, so she's forced to hide her identity and manages to get deported to the planet of Rada, where she must learn to assimilate and hide her abilities or be killed immediately, no questions asked.

When she gets a job with Guardian Inc. as an assistant to the handsome and powerful Venturo Escana, she thinks all she has to do is hide her "talent" and blend in.  Then, one of her countrymen gets into some trouble and Claire is the only one who can help, but by helping will she destroy everything she has done to survive?

My thoughts:
Silver Shark is the second book in Ilona Andrew's Kinsman series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.  I read the first book, Silent Blade, because I have Book OCD and couldn't read out of order - with Silver Shark it really wasn't necessary.

I consider myself a "light" sci-fi reader, and Silver Shark was a nice fit for me - not too complicated as far as world building, and a bit of romance to keep me happy.  The world building was very good: I loved the contrast between Claire's home planet - grey, drab, depressing - and her new home, the planet Rada - colorful, friendly, vibrant.  You would think she would be thrilled to be there, but the mindset she was raised with is difficult to shake off, as when another refugee meets her on the street and tells her she stands out, which is a bad thing on her home planet.  She's scared but determined to adapt to her new life.

Silver Shark actually had two different types of world buiding - the physical world and the world Claire enters when she hooks into the system to use her psycher abilities:  This world is lush and full, as if Claire could escape her physical surroundings when she went to work.  I love that her "mental" world also changes after her deportation to reflect her new surroundings.

Claire is a great heroine - smart and resourceful, ruthless yet at times compassionate in her psycher mode.  Her attraction to her boss is achingly wonderful - she cannot reveal herself but yearns for him nonetheless.  I liked Venturo but feel like I would have benefited from knowing more about him; he was a good match for Claire though.

My main issue is with the ending - we're rolling along and the story is moving nicely and then BAM!  It's over.    Don't get me wrong - I'm happy with the outcome, but it was fast.

Silver Shark is a captivating short story, wonderfully descriptive and with a nice romance that doesn't overpower the plot.  I would absolutely recommend Silver Shark for readers who aren't sure if they'd like sci-fi and are looking for something to try, or for seasoned sci-fi readers who are looking for a quick, entertaining read.

My Rating:

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


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