Short Take: “Silent Blade,” Ilona Andrews

Pros: Fascinating world and characters; sexy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I wanted a short book I could read while waiting for classes to start and the bus to arrive, and I adore the writing of husband-and-wife team Ilona Andrews, so when I discovered the novella Silent Blade (The World of Kinsmen Book 1) I had to give it a shot. I’m very glad I did.

In the future, wealthy families that have been genetically and technologically enhanced, called “kinsmen,” rule vast empires. Meli was the daughter of a minor family, and when she was ten years old she was betrothed to a teenaged boy from another family. When she was old enough to marry he had gained enough power and influence to be able to call the marriage off–but no one would risk going near her for fear he might change his mind. She chose to excise herself from her family, giving up its money and influence while using her own unique talent to become a deadly assassin for her family’s ends. Eventually she retires, but her father asks her to do one more job: kill Celino, the man who tossed her aside. They expect she’ll take the job due to her hatred of Celino, but to be truthful she doesn’t really hate him. She’s angry at how he did what he did, but she understands all too well why he wanted to be free.

Celino and Meli are unusually suited to each other. They’re both ruthless and deadly, for one. For another, when she expected to marry him she studied all of his interests. Don’t worry–this isn’t portrayed as her having no interests of her own or making her own opinions subservient to his. Instead she sometimes disagrees with his opinions and likes and dislikes no matter how well-considered they are. The story of how they come together and get to know each other is wonderful and sexy and I loved it enough to pick up the other book set in this world. The characters have more depth than I expect from a story of this length, and the world, while briefly drawn, is vivid.

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