Tanya Huff: The Silvered

I’ll have to hand it to Ms. Huff — she’s not happy with any one setting or world or genre, and boldly explores new ones. I generally like her work, though find the quality of it somewhat uneven.

Amazon had suggested, or at least one of its reviews did, that Silvered was Huff’s foray into steampunk. Since I like her and I like steampunk, I picked it up. It’s not steampunk. Yes, there are cannons and balloons and such, but the role of technology is minor, and the type and technological level is not close to that genre either. Instead, it’s a tale of a nation of witches and werewolves at war with a nation of technology and religion. A young witch and a young werewolf have to step up when it becomes obvious that only they can prevent a great calamity.

I have some trouble figuring out just what this book tries to be. There’s obviously a bit of romance. It’s a tale of a girl growing up to a woman, and a powerful hero. It’s a tale of personal conviction and morals overcoming duty when duty is immoral. It’s a werewolf story, it’s fantasy paranormal romance, it’s… a bit hard to pin down.

The characters never quite gain the depth I wish they did. The setting has potential, Ms. Huff doesn’t shy away from brutal violence in her depiction of evil, of fear and war. The plot is well crafted. And yet somehow it doesn’t quite get together, the chemistry doesn’t quite work. There’s nothing wrong with the pacing, the prose or the setting, it just didn’t quite grab me that way I think it should have.

Two and a half out of five.