Title: Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water
Author: Vylar Kaftan
All Bee has ever known is darkness.
She doesn’t remember the crime she committed that landed her in the cold, twisting caverns of the prison planet Colel-Cab with only fellow prisoner Chela for company. Chela says that they’re telepaths and mass-murderers; that they belong here, too dangerous to ever be free. Bee has no reason to doubt her—until she hears the voice of another telepath, one who has answers, and can open her eyes to an entirely different truth.
This was a pretty quick read, and it definitely left me wondering and wanting more.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this one. Based on the blurb, I thought I was in for a space-opera type story, maybe some heisting, action-packed adventure. Instead, I got a uniquely introspective piece, where the main character learns that she has to save herself before she can help the people she cares about.
It’s hard to write a review for this one without giving away too many spoilers, so I’m going to keep it vague. Bee is a supremely likable character, and you can’t help but root for her the entire way even though you’re told she a horrible criminal from the start. Not to mention it’s not every day you get a Latina main character in sci-fi, so I was giddy every time she spoke Spanish. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that her love interest was a woman – just in time for pride month! Though this was a relatively short story, no part of the world felt underdeveloped or rushed. Every bit of the mythos felt real in a casual way – the writer didn’t have to go on long exposition-filled tangents to fill the reader in. World-building was seamlessly worked into the events of the story, and that’s what made this such an enjoyable read.
Not to get on a soapbox, but this story also did a great job of incorporating a diverse main character without it feeling preachy or in your face about it. So many times writers try to do that in a way that feels forced, but that’s not the case here. Bee seems like she could have come from my family, and that made her supremely relatable. And that brings me to the reason I docked the star – though her internal conflict was resolved by the end, I wanted more resolution to the bigger problem. Or a hint that maybe there’s another book in the works for it. The ending left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. Even an ending that doesn’t resolve everything in a neat bow can still be satisfying, and that just didn’t happen for me here. I want to see more of this character and this world. Here’s hoping for a sequel!