Book Review: Silent Blade by Ilona AndrewsSilent Blade by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kinsmen #1
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd on June 2, 2009
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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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.

Sometimes when authors become known for bestselling book series it can be easy to overlook their other work. I realized the folly in that when, having loved Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, I found myself adoring her Violin and Servant of the Bones. The same is true of Mercedes Lackey, who’s known for her Valdemar, Five Hundred Kingdoms, and other series, even though no book of hers has moved me to tears as consistently (even after half a dozen reads later) as The Ship Who Searched, written with Anne McCaffrey, who’s known for her Dragonriders of Pern.

When it comes to husband-and-wife writing duo Ilona Andrews, while I first read their novels of the Edge and then the series for which they are best known, the world of Kate Daniels, the book I’ve read the most often is from their lesser known Kinsmen series, Silent Blade.

It features deadly assassin Meli, who decides to take out the target given her by her family (the world of Kinsmen is run pretty much by clans who act like galactic mobs or yakuza) by seducing him instead of slicing him up. That target happens to be Celino, to whom she’d been affianced as a child.

The book is a jumble of typical romance tropes: vengeance served cold (then hot), a woman scorned, a broken engagement, past lovers turned present, arranged marriages, seduction schemes, and so on. But because it’s such a hodgepodge of these tropes, instead of being a tale told many times before, you get a fresh new story.

And at the center of it are the two main characters and their struggle to balance identity and freedom with love and commitment. Meli seems everything warm and inviting at first, but she reveals a cold, ruthless side to her. On the other hand, Celino is very much the corporate shark and outwardly ruthless, but then you learn about his inner marshmallow.

In fact, the whole book is a play of reveal and conceal, two steps forward, two steps back. At one point, Meli is the rock and Celino the waves that wear her down; then, later, they’ve switched roles. The rhythm of their romance is like a dance, and one that’s told so skillfully I found myself returning to it over and over again. I must have read this book 10 or 12 times by now.

And if that’s not enough of a testament, there’s this: I’ve been known to chuck books into my DNF pile because of grammatical errors, but in the case of Silent Blade, it mattered not at all that the grammar and spelling was a little less impeccable than what you’d seen in the authors’ more best-selling series.

So while I wouldn’t say that you should read this over the Kate Daniels series, I would say that if you have enjoyed Ilona Andrews, Silent Blade is definitely a must-read.



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Books in This Series (Nonsequential)

Silent Blade
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Silver Shark
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About Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.