Review: If I Were a Weapon – Skye Kilaen
by Skye Kilaen
Series: All These Gifts #1
Also in this series: Know It in the Dark
Publisher: Skye Kilaen
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Reading Challenges: CBR 14 Bingo
Source: the author
I received an advance review copy of this book from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
See the future. Set things on fire. Fall in love? A superpowered sci-fi romance.
When dying alien ships materialized across the Earth, their nanite infection knocked Deneve Wilder out cold. She woke up with the ability to see the future. Determined to keep anyone from using her visions for evil, she took to the road. Giving up everything was a small price to pay for freedom.
The ship that hit Jolie Betancourt's town gave her the power to set things on fire. It was safer to start over in a new city. Then one terrible mistake demonstrated far too clearly that for her, solitude is safer. For everyone.
So when Deneve shows up after a vision of Jolie being kidnapped, Jolie wants little to do with the frustratingly attractive drifter. Deneve's surprised by how much she wants to thaw the pretty shopkeeper's chilly attitude, but the idea of staying in one place sets off her alarm bells.
If they can't evade whoever's abducting people with powers, however, the growing connection they both feel in spite of themselves might be the least of their problems.
The first installment of a near-future science fiction F/F romance series, which is slow burn to high heat with a guaranteed HEA at series end.
Tropes: superpowers, drifter, ice queen, battle couple, forced proximity.
I’m the sort of person who thinks the world always needs more sapphic sci-fi, so when I realized the author of Glorious Day was writing a near-future one? Immediate grabby hands.
Six months ago, alien ships suddenly appeared all over the world, obliterating whatever used to be there. The aliens died almost immediately but the ships released clouds of nanites. The majority of people were unaffected, but some collapsed and then, when they woke up from their comas, developed new powers, from the ability to detect specific scents to being able to find water. No one knows why the aliens came or what the powers are for – or at least no one’s admitting it.
In the six months since the alien ships appeared, Deneve has been on the move. Her nanites not only give her glimpses of the future but also influence her to change it, whether that’s preventing a dog from running into the street or evacuating a house in the path of a tornado. Ignoring the nanites leads to her passing out so she’s almost entirely beholden to their whims. But what she really can’t understand is why, after saving a woman from kidnappers, they still want her to stay in the woman’s vicinity, especially when it’s very clear that woman doesn’t want her there.
“She did understand why people were afraid of anyone with nanites. It wasn’t irrational unfounded prejudice. They were different, and some were more dangerous than the average person. She should know.
She still didn’t intend to be caged and used.”
Jolie is the epitome of the blonde ice queen. She wasn’t much of a people person before the nanites and certain other events have convinced her that other people aren’t safe around her. Deneve lost everyone when a ship appeared nearly on top of her, but Jolie had been lucky enough to be pulled inside by her parents, who then hustled her off to Austin and a stationery shop they’d inherited. Since then she’s lived a mostly quiet life, only lightly plugged into the local network of folks like her. Though she’s thankful for Deneve’s help saving her, she’s a complication Jolie doesn’t need. After all, she can control fire, so what can a person whose gift is having visions and passing out do to help?
Jolie is all sharp edges and trust issues. While she’s initially suspicious of Deneve – and downright rude – she’s still the sort of person who’ll give her unwanted guest the blankets off her own bed. Deneve, on the other hand, is a people person. While her previous career waitressing gave her some ability to deal with unfriendly people, Jolie is so obviously uncomfortable with her around that she’d be waving good-bye to Austin if it weren’t for her nanites’ insistence. Her go-with-the-flow attitude has served her well considering how the nanites have dragged her around the country, and staying in one place for too long feels frankly dangerous. Both women have ample reasons to distrust the other, especially when it becomes clear that one – or more – entities are grabbing gifted people off the streets.
“I cannot believe,” Deneve replied, trying to be equally quiet, but as gentle as possible, “that you could be any threat to me and I wouldn’t know.”
This is very much a first book in a five book series. While it’s obvious that Deneve and Jolie are being set up for a relationship, it’s very, very slowburn, and the same can be said for the plot as well. While there’s some action, a lot of it is world building and getting to know both characters. The book wraps up on a satisfying enough note but there’s still a lot of unresolved questions. What are the nanites? Why are they insisting that Deneve and Jolie stay together?
Overall, a very promising start to a new series. I can’t wait to see what happens with Deneve and Jolie next!
Content notes: Author’s CW | View Spoiler »attempted kidnapping, housing and food instability, physical assault, mass disappearances, gun violence « Hide Spoiler
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: