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WesternSFA
Silverblind
by Tina Connolly
TOR books; $24.99; 315pp
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
A terrific end to a great, wonderfully-detailed three book series.

This trio of novels: Ironskin, Copperhead (click titles for review) and now Silverblind are set in a unique world, sort of steampunk-ish, sort of English overlaid with a glamour of ancient magic and all Connolly’s. It is refreshing and inventive.

In this novel we focus on Dorrie, the strange, half-fey daughter of widower Edward Rochart from the first novel, Ironskin who gave society women their beautiful alluring faces, at great cost and fell in love with Jane who came to his country home of Silver Birch to be a governess to Dorrie.

Jane fell in love with Edward and helped defeat the evil Queen of the Fey.

In Silverblind we discover an awful lot about the nature of the elusive uncommunicative fey.

People are still trying to distill fey essence into the clean wonderful power source it was before the Great War when the fey—who lost---retreated and took their power with them. Researchers are also working on a way to stop fey magic cold so it can be controlled. It’s a power struggle about to crumble into revolt: they who can be in command of fey magic and all its ramifications against those who want the magic released and returned to the fey. Whoever wins this struggle pretty much controls everyone’s lives.

At this point, the fey power source has been discovered to be bits of punished beings shredded to be captive in various devices: door locks, lights, anything that need an outside power source. (This was done by the Evil Queen. Once released, these shredded pieces can reform into the original being.)

Tam, who was a young boy in the previous novel, Copperhead, stepson to a man overcome by evil fey who created a machine to manufacture a forever source of fey power, has now become a part of Dorrie’s family. He was adopted by her Aunt Helen and Uncle Rook (the main characters in Copperhead).

Dorrie and Tam went to separate schools but remained close friends until their fifteenth year, when Dorrie let him go into the woods and live with the fey, at his insistence. He was gone for months. She did not tell him that living in the fey world time flowed different and when he finally returned, with the fey gift of exceptional musical composing, he was angry and so he and Dorrie parted.

It is years later and Dorrie as an adult, wants to work at the Queen’s Lab where they are currently experimenting with the albumen of wyvern eggs which apparently kills fey magic on contact. They want that power so they can control what the fey infect and what they don’t.

There are still ironskins, people who carry a bit a bad fey in them, injuries from the Great War, who are cursed with overwhelming hunger, or depression or fear. (Wearing iron keeps the fey magic from manifesting, hence the term ironskins.)Wiping the goo from the inside of a freshly hatched wyvern egg kills the fey poison and frees the human from the curse. So suddenly capturing wyvern chicks becomes of great importance to the researchers.

Dorrie wants to save the last of the ironskins, but cannot be hired at the Queen’s Lab. Because of her half-fey heritage she is a beautiful blonde with perpetually perfect curls and she is dismissed as a feather-head, despite her college education.

So, she decides to use her magical heritage to her advantage and become a boy named Dorian so she can be hired, hunt wyverns and help those poor souls still overcome by a fey curse.

Her roommate, an artist named Jack (short for Jacqueline) knows she can switch and eventually Jack’s best friend/model, a dwarven named Stella, also knows Dorrie can be Dorian when needed. But no one else does.

But while hunting wyverns for the Queen’s Lab, Dorrie runs unexpectedly into Tam---whom she hasn’t seen in years. Tam doesn’t recognize her as Dorian.

Tam has moderate fame for compiling a book of fey tales he collected from around the world which gives both he and Dorian clues as to the real nature of the fey and the origin of not only the wyverns, but of the legendary basilisks which no one has seen in hundreds of years. Tam has also acquired a creepy female friend/associate named Annika who’s an interesting mix of pragmatic action and blind devotion. Almost a stereotype of Hitler Youth, Annika is very blonde, speaks with an accent, ja? and is all about the Motherland. And she gives Dorrie a run for her money where Tam is concerned, because Dorrie realizes she loves Tam.

What develops from their rediscovery of the basilisk is where the fey have come from, what will happen to them now and the impact on everyone’s lives.       

It’s a very satisfying ending to an inventive series. ~~ Sue Martin

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