Thanks to Tor.com and NetGalley for providing a copy of Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan for review! Tor.com is cranking out the hits this year, and this one really caught my attention with the cover reveal. I was immediately attracted to the vibe of the artwork, and after reading the synopsis I had to add it to my reading list. It is a short read, but well worth your time!
Click here for the Synopsis!
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.
Fans of speculative fiction will find a lot to love in Sillhouette. The expectations for the narrative change dramatically from one page to the next. So much so that it’s difficult to talk about it without spoilers, even for the first few pages. It was amazing to me that this novella was able to capture such complex context shifts so seamlessly. Riddling out the truth in the story required some real thought on my part, which I enjoyed! For once I didn’t see all the twists and turns coming.
This is a great book to add to any LGBTQ reading list. I enjoyed the complexity of the primary relationship explored in Silhouette. Some additional points of representation include mental disorder in the form of PTSD, amnesia, and generalized trauma. There is also some attention to physical disability, and the othering of a subset of society. Throughout the first section of the book there are a lot of Spanish phrases, and though I don’t speak Spanish I never felt confused by these moment. I also really enjoyed seeing the Spanish language in a Sci-Fi setting.
I do hope that Kaftan will continue to write more stories in this world, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for further exploration. I haven’t read another book quite like this in a long time, but I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water goes on sale May 21st!