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Take flight with the Silvers'

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'The Flight of the Silvers' a strong sci-fi start

In the course of my reading life both personal and professional I experience a lot of work within many different genres. Some of those genres carry within them their own varying dynamics. In others, however, there's a tendency to an across-the-board sameness that can be a little off-putting.

(Science fiction, fantasy I'm looking in your direction.)

However, that makes it all the more enjoyable to discover genre fiction that is more than formulaic paint-by-numbers boilerplate. There's real delight in finding work especially series-oriented work that offers something more than same-old same-old.

Work like Daniel Price's 'The Flight of the Silvers' (Blue Rider Press; $27.95).

Our world ends. A flash renders all electronics unusable. Hours later, a falling white sky annihilates all traces of the world we know. It's the end of everything for everyone save six.

Six people chosen by mysterious strangers to wear silver bracelets that protected them from the crushing cataclysm of our world who find themselves in a new placea new Earth that is similar to, yet very different from, the one they left behind.

The Given sisters nurse Amanda and actress Hannah are joined by cartoonist Zack, shy teenager Mia, brilliant Australian David, and failed prodigy Theo. These six are the lone survivors of their world, set adrift in a place that they don't quite understand. In this world, time is a force that has been harnessed by mechanical means. But these six the Silvers soon learn that they are special indeed, gifted with abilities to manipulate those same forces with nothing more than their minds.

Unsurprisingly, there are those who would look to exploit the talents of the Silvers. There are also those who would see them captured and others who would do them harm. And behind it all, the hazy motives of the enigmatic power brokers who brought them to this new world, this alternate America.

Science fiction novels especially those intended as part of a series often sacrifice character, contenting themselves with broad archetypes and minimal development. 'The Flight of the Silvers' avoids that trap, building the entire story on a foundation of character. Creating a single nuanced character is difficult enough; Price manages a whole cast.

That isn't to say that the worldbuilding takes a back seat. Far from it; the AltAmerica constructed here is a fascinating place, filled with an impressive level of detail. This parallel place bears marked similarities to our own, but it also has enough differences to be compelling - so compelling, in fact, that there's room for even more history. The hope is that those differences springing from this world's own cataclysmic event back in 1912 are further explored down the road.

Perhaps the most impressive feat of 'The Flight of the Silvers' is the blending of introductory exposition and engaging narrative; many series debuts have a tough time finding the proper balance and find themselves going too far in one direction or the other. Here, Price finds ways to tell us who these people are and what this place is while still advancing a well-constructed story.

Daniel Price has given readers the first installment of what promises to be a well-wrought sci-fi saga, colored by intriguing ideas and complex characters adrift in a wonderfully weird world. 'The Flight of the Silvers' is thought-provoking, cinematic in scopeand very, very good.

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