Strange Horizons, 17 July 2006

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“Silent Blade” by Leah Cypess

Leah Cypess delivers an emotional story with a clever twist in “Silent Blade.” 13-year-old Danis wakes up to a sound she had been waiting for and dreading for five years, the sound of her older brother returning home. Only her brother is now a member of the Silent Blade, a cabal of assassins, and his final test is to slay his own family. Can he do it? And if he can, how can she stop him?

Cypess handles this powerful, emotional, character-driven tale with masterful skill. Once you start reading, you won’t stop. Everything you need to know about the background and motivations of Danis and her brother, Renn, as well as the tactics the Silent Blade use in training and brainwashing recruits is handled without the dreaded info-dump. The dialogue rings true, as do the characters themselves. The emotions and motivations feel real, and the plot twists come unexpectedly, yet are logical in the context of the story. You should certainly make a few minutes available for this one.