Rating: 4.5 stars
The Silvers is divided into two parts. Part 1 takes place on the the Silvers planet, where Captain B and his crew of men and women are responsible for preliminary investigation of an unknown lifeform named Silvers. Humanoid with skin the color of their namesake, and eyes like glass, Silvers are an enigma to humans with their inability to feel hatred.
Captain B hates them.
This is just the beginning though, and one Silver among many (named Imms) forms a tenuous relationship with the good Captain.
Part 2 comprises the majority of the book, and takes place on planet Earth. It deals mostly with Imms trying to acclimate to Earth, the political impact of his integration into society, his relationship with B and B's family, and self discovery into his own identity.
What makes The Silvers such a magnificent book? To me, it was Jill Smith's ability to create a book that gives us so many different facets of being an outsider looking in. Imms is such an interesting character, with thoughts and concepts that make many quote-worthy moments to highlight on my ereader. You see a change in his character, and his own conception of “self” that by the time you've reached the last two chapters of Part 2, you can't help but be amazed at the full circle Imms has made. How a 360 degree turn doesn't always mean you're back at the beginning, but at a new starting point.
But then there was also B. I couldn't figure him out. He came off as a simple, two-dimensional character during Part 1. But the dynamics between the Silvers planet and Earth scrambled something in his character. He became something else, and I couldn't put my finger on it. His motivations, his desires, the hollowness in going through the motions that screams for the desire to just be lost. All of a sudden, his emptiness was a well of gravity sucking me in beyond his event horizon. And while he isn't by any means the most original or complex character I've ever read, he had a certain magnetism that made me crave reading the portions told from his POV.
There was also a nice cast of characters surrounding B and Imms. Jill Smith did a good job at including these characters and making them great secondary characters without taking the spotlight away from Imms.
The biggest complaint I have with this novel was the amount of time it took to acclimate Imms to Earth. Most of Part 2 seemed to be Imms just doing human things with one of the characters in the book (usually, Brid) with some very interesting introspective thinking from Imms himself. It kept the book from becoming boring (Imms thoughts, I mean), but I felt these moments could have been shorter to keep the pace going. I also wished there was more Imms and B interaction in Part 2. A lot of the interaction that takes place is usually with Imms and a secondary character, but by the end, the focus was back on the two main MCs (thank goodness).
I should also through out there that there is no explicit sex in this book. It's all fade-in-the-dark and off-page stuff, but I could have cared less. And that takes a lot for a pervert like me to admit, but the book was so smart and thoughtful, I couldn't imagine it being any other way. There is also a lack of action, so don't expect guns blazing, and exploding factory buildings.
Instead, The Silvers is a book of exploration into one's identity. About one's own contradictions and realizing the cost of reaching that ending beyond The End.
I never heard of this author before, but I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for her future releases.“When you live in one big dream about the future, you can justify your disdain for the present. And the dream of the future ends at achievement, at gratification – it never goes as far as consequences.”