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‘The Flight of the Silvers:’ Book Review

In a somewhat random turn of events, fueled mostly by my inability to plan for some variety in my reading schedule, I ended up starting The Flight of the Silvers immediately after finishing The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (See my recent review here.), which meant I’ve been immersed in the topic of time and the themes surrounding its relativity and manipulation for quite a few weeks.  All I needed was a good Doctor Who binge-watch to really cap it off.

The Flight of the Silvers is a roller coaster ride right from the beginning.  We have newly discovered superpowers, alternate universes, mysterious beings who show up out of thin air, and comic convention attendees.  We have explosions, love triangles, and sword-wielding bad guys.  We even have flying cars.  There’s a little something for everyone in this story, no matter what your genre preference might be . . . post-apocalyptic, supernatural, romance, coming-of-age, science fiction . . . and the list goes on.

Which prompts the question, is there too much of too many good things?  Price weaves an intricate narrative, managing complex levels of exposition throughout the course of the story.  He explains not one, not two, but dozens of time-related superpowers, theorems, and gadgets.  All of this is balanced against the development of a fairly large cast of characters.  Overall, Price succeeds in crafting a story that still feels fast paced and urgent, if sometimes a bit exposition heavy.  

And, when I say dozens of superpowers, I’m not exaggerating.  Among our heroes, we have the abilities to slow down time, move at ridiculously fast speeds, rewind and relive past decisions, create time portals, project past events as spectral images, and the ability to see and move between all existing time lines.  Even by the end of the story, it was clear that Price was not finished introducing new abilities. 

In tackling these frequently omnipotent skills, Price focuses heavily on their negative side effects and the heavy responsibilities that accompany them.  Nothing is swept under the carpet.  Our heroes don’t acclimate easily, don’t wield their powers without trepidation or regret, and, most of all, don’t come out the other side without injury or consequence.  Relationships are tested, strained, and forever altered. 

Among the weaker elements in this epic tale, there was some tedium in the depiction of these relationships.  It felt like there was an exhaustingly high level of interpersonal bickering, which threatened to sap my sympathies for a number of the characters.  Price also employs frequent changes in point-of-view – both mid-scene and involving seemingly minor characters, that were sometimes jolting to the pace of the story (especially in the audiobook experience). 

These dips in the experience, however, did not dramatically affect the excitement to be found in this story.  The concepts felt fresh, the alternate universe world-building fascinating, and the potential for advancing the story throughout remaining (and inevitable) books in the trilogy is great.  The Flight of the Silvers is an entertaining mix of X-Men, Inception, and Fringe with a very nice balance between Hollywood action and science fiction . . . which is never too much of a good thing.

Audiobook Review
Narrated by Rich Orlow
Published by Recorded Books

Rich Orlow does a very nice job of this narration, given the sheer number of characters of varying genders, ages, and nationalities with which he had to deal.  For a few characters, I thought he leaned a little too heavily into straightforward regional accents.  That aside, he achieves an easy, conversational tone and energetic pace throughout the story.  A definite recommendation for this audiobook experience.


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