The Si­lence

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Books -

Threat Sounds

Re­lease Date: 17 April 368 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook Au­thor: Tim Leb­bon Pub­lisher: Ti­tan Books

Our genre is full of threats with one fa­tal flaw, whether it’s the Weep­ing An­gels’ in­abil­ity to move when wit­nessed, or the T- Rex’s trou­ble see­ing sta­tion­ary tar­gets. It should be con­sol­ing to know there’s some­thing he­roes can do when faced with scary mon­sters. But those ap­par­ent im­per­fec­tions of­ten cre­ate in­creased ten­sion, as your lead des­per­ately tries not to blink at stat­ues, or stay still as a di­nosaur snorts his hat off.

The Si­lence’s Big Bads are no dif­fer­ent. Bat- like beasts called vesps who can’t see any­thing, they hunt by sound, grue­somely dec­i­mat­ing their prey in the hope that they’ll in­spire screams, so they can start the cy­cle all over again. It’s a pretty cool high con­cept, but it gets bet­ter. Our main pro­tag­o­nist is a young deaf girl, Ally, with a close- knit fam­ily who can sign to each other – they can com­mu­ni­cate with­out sound. Ally’s per­ceived dis­abil­ity com­bines with her fierce in­tel­li­gence, giv­ing her loved ones a chance of sur­vival as the vesps, re­leased from a cave pri­son dur­ing an ex­ca­va­tion, spread across the planet.

If The Si­lence has a flaw, it’s that it’s an ex­tremely slow- paced book. But when the ac­tion does even­tu­ally kick in, that weak­ness is re­vealed as a strength – the time taken to build makes you care about care­fully crafted char­ac­ters, bring­ing al­most un­bear­able stress to the con­clu­sion. Sam Ashurst

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