Annalinde Matichei – The Flight of the Silver VixenJuly 22nd, 2011 by Sara
I have to admit that when I received The Flight of the Silver Vixen in the post, I had mixed thoughts about reading it. On the one hand, it was actually science fiction, a genre that I love but have really been neglecting recently. On the other, the tagline “Enter a world where both sexes are female”, along with the ♀ symbol made me worry that it was going to be a novel with some sort of feminist agenda.
The story opens with a group of teenage females carefully hijacking an important military space ship. In order to get away from their pursuers, they flight right into an ‘aether crease’. That is, a fold in space (huzzah, science fiction! Oh how I missed that sort of thing.), and essentially get spat out on the other side of the galaxy. What follows is a surprising story with a lot more elements that I had initially anticipated.
I will have to admit however, that this novel falls into the same problem as most other pieces of sci-fi. That is, it’s rather difficult to get into at first. Not because the story itself is boring – if anything, by the end I didn’t want to read the book, I just wanted to /devour/ it…I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough – but because on top of the obligatory difficult-to-pronounce names, there are also a lot of original terms. There’s a glossary in the back of the novel, which was a nice touch to help the reader out instead of expecting them to figure things out by themselves…but it breaks up the flow of the text, which is a shame when it does so well in keeping up a decent (although in some parts, a little too quick) pace.
Dialogue in this book is – despite the odd terms – surprisingly realistic. Part of it had me smirking at the witty banter between two of the main characters, since it reminded me of conversations I’ve had with my own friends. Any author who can write good dialogue consistently ought to be applauded just for that, since it’s where the majority of authors tend to have weak spots.
The most obvious things to note about the novel, is the fact that in the universe where it is set, both genders are female. The gender split itself is signified by hair colour (blonde for ‘women’, brunette for ‘men’, naturally). But although digs are made at what they call ‘mascul’ species (men, essentially), I couldn’t help but to chuckle at their point of view. Perhaps I took it a little too light-hearted, but I (thankfully) didn’t get the impression that the author was having any particular digs at men.
There are other themes, too. Parallels between the east/west divide on our own world…“I get it. I’m only a shallow Westrenne…”, as well as a closer look into gender norms, and even the role of tradition and religion versus ‘barbarism’ and mechanisation.
It’s also a surprisingly effective coming of age story. This theme isn’t particularly something I had ever thought to associate with the genre before, and although I did have to remind myself once or twice that the protagonists were rather young, I think Matchei has a very solid base from which to—
Was that sudden stop mildly irritating? You were just getting into the swing of the paragraph and suddenly you had to stop? Suffice it to say, I could quite happily have read twice the pages this book had to offer.
Despite the mild pacing issues (too quick in places, and not a lot of room to breathe since things happen so swiftly) and the fact that – although the characters were likeable and all individual – more could have been made out of the protagonists, I have to admit that I am eagerly awaiting the second book in the series.…although I still don’t know whether I would recommend this book to mascul–sorry…men.