Thursday, November 4, 2021

Book & Audio Review: The Kinsman Universe by Ilona Andrews

The Kinsman Universe

Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Samantha Cook
Series: Kinsman
Publication: NYLA (March 8, 2019); NYLA (December 31, 2018)
Length: 7 hours and 15 minutes; 188 p.

Description: This is an anthology edition of the Kinsmen Universe, which includes SILENT BLADE, SILVER SHARK, plus a new short story, and three original illustrations.

Family is everything. Talent is power. And revenge is sweet.

In a distant, future world Kinsmen-small powerful groups of genetically and technologically advanced families-control vast financial empires. They are their own country, their own rulers, and their only limits are other Kinsmen. The struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport: in business, on the battlefield...and sometimes in the bedroom.

Silent Blade

Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.

On the planet Rada, Meli Galdes' family is of minor rank, and were relying on her marriage to Celino, the razor-smart, ruthless leader of the powerful Carvanna empire. When he abruptly breaks their engagement, he ruins her family and guarantees that Meli will never marry, as no suitor will oppose the rich and influential Carvannas.

But Meli has a rare, secret, lethal-and valuable-talent. As a melder of energy, she's capable of severing anything in her path. So she 'leaves' her family and trains to become one of the best and most lethal of assassins, all the while covertly guarding her family's interests. Now she's ready to quit; but she has one more assignment.

To kill the man who ruined her life.

Silver Shark

Claire Shannon is a killer...and her weapon is her mind.

Born on a planet torn by war for over 300 years, Claire is a soldier: a psycher, with the ability to read, control, and destroy the minds of enemy psychers and to infiltrate the biological network where they battle to death.

When Claire's faction loses the war, she barely escapes extermination from both sides, as her talent brands her as too dangerous to society. By so-deeply burying her ability that she avoids detection, Claire is instead deported to Rada as a refugee, where she must find work to remain. She finds a job as personal assistant to Venturo Escana, a premiere kinsman; one of Rada's most wealthy entrepreneurs—and most powerful psychers.

She thought she had left war behind, but now she must hide her skills and her growing feelings from Venturo...and this battle might just cost her everything...

A Mere Formality

The leader of the fierce Reigh people expires during an intergalactic summit, putting 30 million colonists' lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. When the new heir to the Reigh throne, Lord Nagrad, demands restitution, the phrase "'a life for a life" turns the intergalactic calamity into an arranged marriage contract between Lord Nagrad and sharply intelligent diplomatic analyst Deirdre Lebed... and the negotiation of terms becomes anything but formal!

My Thoughts: This anthology contains two novellas and a short story. All three stories are paranormal romances with strong females and intriguing males. 

The first story (SILENT BLADE) tells about the romance between Meli Galdes and Celino Carvanna. They were betrothed when Meli was ten and Celino was sixteen. Meli spent years learning all she could about Celino in order to be a perfect wife for him. Celino spent those same years building his empire and hating that his marriage meant a lack of freedom for him.

When he breaks the engagement when Meli is sixteen, he does more than break her heart. He throws Meli's family into severe economic distress and makes it impossible for Meli to ever marry. She leaves her family and becomes an assassin - primarily killing people who want to do her former family harm.

When her father via her brother asks her to murder Celino, she thinks this would be the perfect end to her career. But meeting him again reminds her how much she loved him and gives her an idea for a better plan. 

SILVER SHARK tells the story of Claire Shannon and Venturo Escana. Claire was a soldier, a psycher, who used her psychic abilities to help her country fight against a rival country. When her country loses the war, she is sent into exile to another planet. She needs to hide her psychic abilities because that planet isn't letting psychers in. Claire remakes herself as a mild-mannered, psychic null office assistant and gets a job with Venturo Escana who runs a security company.

When one of her fellow refugees gets into trouble that could lead to deportation, she needs to take down the blocks she has on her psychic abilities to get into the datanet and change some incriminating information. While in the datanet, she meets Venturo who is also there because of the activity Claire and her fellow invaders have begun. 

They get out without getting caught, but Venturo becomes determined to find the woman he met in the datanet and Claire becomes equally determined to keep her secrets even though she is falling in love with Venturo. 

Then one of her co-conspirators in the data breach is caught and Claire needs to get help from Venturo, but she has to reveal her secrets to get it. 

A MERE FORMALITY is a short story about peace negotiations after a war. Deirdre Lebed is a talented diplomatic analyst who knows a lot about the Reigh. But when the Reigh leader dies at a banquet put on by her side, she doesn't expect that, besides a hefty ransom, the new leader of the Reigh will also demand that she marry him.

All of the stories were entertaining. Samantha Cook did a good job narrating them. 

Favorite Quote: 
Fatima sneered. "You have no ambition. In the next life, you'll be reborn as a teakettle."
I bought this one but it contains stories I bought in 2011 and can't find. You can buy your copy here.

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