I recently read Silver Strife by J.A. Kenney. My first thought upon reading it was that, if I were immortal, I would NOT want to be spending my time like THAT! My second thought started with a great big BUT… followed by as many questions as answers. That’s about the time I realized I’d just read a smart science fiction story with heaps of complexity. During the reading, I’d been too caught up in the compelling drama to really appreciate how cleverly Silver Strife threads elements of time, futurism, epic battle, cosmic scope, the meaning of life the universe and everything all into a very down to earth tale about rebel fighters resisting a world-wide elitist government…and not to be forgotten…love.
The catch in that very well told rebel fighter story is in the subtitle—An Immortal Quicksilver Novel. This story, and I believe the series, focuses on an immortal being called Quicksilver, or Qui for short. Once a being of energy able to move through the universe at will, it is now forced to move from mortal to mortal, each time living that mortal’s adult lifespan before being deposited in the next mortal never know where or when the next life will be. Remember the TV series, Quantum Leap? It’s a little like that, only Qui can be awakened as a man or woman, a human or an alien lizard person. Qui has no control and no ability to do anything more than fight the fight that is inevitably in front of it at that moment.
Going back to the main storyline of the book, we meet Qui in its dying moments as a dragon-like creature mourning the loss of another lover, another battle, and another life. After a period of dormancy, she awakens as a young woman with a blending of all of her experiences and the knowledge of the human she’s now become. She immediately recognizes the bigger picture of where and when she is and that the human she now inhabits is on the “wrong side” of the conflict around her. While she is in a college-like school that day, the rebels attack and she sees her opportunity. Instead of hiding under a desk like the other students, she stands in the middle of the room and asks the rebels to take her with them.
The man in charge of the raid is Captain David Mitchell. Convincing the rebels that she is on their side isn’t easy and when they realize that she is way too battle-smart and has mad fighting skills it doesn’t exactly aid her in winning them over. But David is at her side through much of it. Instead of wanting to destroy what he doesn’t understand, David is smart and curious and more than a little attracted to her strange mix of weariness, determination, and idealism. In return, Qui is drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand. She’s had lovers, husbands, even wives and children in other lives, but David is different.
It is a relationship doomed from the start. Much like the battle she has dedicated herself to, it’s too big for one lifetime. That’s why she suspects he might be one of her immortal cohorts and risks opening up to him. But the mixed danger/blessing of running into others of her kind comes from places she doesn’t expect in this dangerous life.
Silver Strife was definitely a memorable read for me – one I enjoyed from beginning to end, but at the risk of being spoilery I feel compelled to warn you that the romance and overarching plot in this story are also too big for the book. The ending is a bit of a gut punch. If you need a 100% resolution to your SFR, you may have to wait for the next novellla, Dark Silver, due out in December. And of course, I can’t guarantee anything there. I haven’t read it yet, but the blurb available on JA’s website provides some clues. There is also a prequel novella, Slivers of Silver, which provides great insight into how the bigger battle all started and into the relationships between the immortals. It provides particular insight into Qui and how she became who she is at the moment of the story. I believe it is free at the moment.
I hate to wrap this up because there is tons more I’d love to tell you about the book, but I guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself.
Genre: Romantic SciFi
Length: 298 pages
Publisher: Bottom Drawer Publications
Blush Quotient: Red
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for a fair review.