Silver Malloy was no longer the frightened 12-year-old hidden away while terrorist Tyrone Bluth and his Mauraders murdered her parents and everyone else in their agronomy settlement. But it wasn't until Bluth dealt her a second blow thirteen years later, destroying her research into a new fuel that would benefit Earth, that she'd set out to kill the dastardly felon herself. Training as an assassin for Earth Centrum's Security Integrated Network (S.I.N.), her first mission – to put a bullet into Bluth's black heart – has run into a formidable obstacle, one Jace Vernon, former Kurashki parsator, combat pilot...and convicted murderer.
In reality, Jace has been set up. He hasn't murdered anyone, least of all his parents. The commission of that act – along with the kidnapping of his sister Shanna, whom he suspects has been sold into slavery – rests squarely on the shoulders of Tyrone Bluth and whoever his allies are in his own government. Jace needs Bluth alive to clear his name so he can reclaim his inheritance, including his rightful place as a member of the Parsate, Kurash's ruling body, and find his sister. He can't allow Silver to follow through with her assignment before Bluth can clear his name. Moreover, his enemy's enemy must become his ally if either one of them are to see justice done, but to accomplish his goals, Jace must break through Silver's formidable defenses to energize her closed down emotions. What he doesn't expect are his own emotions coming into play.
When Silver's purpose falters under Jace's seductive persuasion, will she be able to carry out her mission as assigned? Or will her newly aroused emotions lead her in a different direction, one that could mean selling out her family and everything she's worked for, not to mention one that could very well get them both killed?
Nancy J. Cohen began publishing mass market sci-fi romance as Nancy Cane back in the early 90's, but of late, she's diverted her sizable talents to “paranormal romance novels and mysteries with a touch of humor.” Now, with Silver Serenade, she's returned in a big way to her sci-fi beginnings, and the genre of sci-fi romance is much better for it.
Silver Serenade is an exciting, action-packed space adventure with more attention-grabbing twists and turns than a West Virginia highway. I loved it! Ms. Cohen's detailed world-building is colorful and imaginative, with just a smidgeon of cowpunk action as originated in the TV show Firefly. She also adds a helping of paranormal intrigue with a sidetrip to the enchanting, yet almost frighteningly unnatural, Selia Dar. Even her underlying political intrigue, which normally bores me to death, was fascinating.
Although she has her hidden vulnerabilities, Silver can hold her own with anybody, including Jace. She's smart, courageous and capable. She also proves to be adaptable and sympathetic. Although somewhat of a politician, Jace has enough of the swashbuckler in him to entice any damsel with working hormones. And that includes Silver. Once they get together, the action really takes off, both in and out of bed. Their relationship is complex, emotional, and heart-warming. And then there are some truly memorable supporting characters, particularly Elusion empaths Mixy and Kira. I really enjoyed their competitive bantering over how to best serve their atrani bondmates.
The only issues keeping me from giving Silver Serenade a Recommended Read are a couple abrupt jumps in time between scenes in the last several chapters. As this is a fairly long book, it gave me the impression that Ms. Cohen was trying to cut down on its length, but frankly, it took a bit away from my enjoyment of the book. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly recommend Silver Serenade. Plus, I'm happy to see that some building blocks for several sequels have been written into the book. I think Ms. Cohen probably has additional books planned for Silver's cousins – Dash, Remy, and Evelina. And I have to have a story for Cur, a “tall, rangy” Dorian warrior with speckled skin. His tears at Selia Dar tugged at my heartstrings, not to mention my curiosity.
Alas, whomever Ms. Cohen writes about next and wherever she wants to take me, it's safe to say that I will go happily and enjoy every minute of it.