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This Splintered Silence

Review

This Splintered Silence

What could be more terrifying than watching a virus devastate your population? Facing this virus, and a possible mutation, in space! Kayla Olson gives us an edge of your seat sci-fi thriller in her newest novel, THIS SPLINTERED SILENCE.

Lindley Hamilton has spent her entire life aboard the space station Lusca. Her mother is commander, and she assumed that one day, she would follow in her mother’s footsteps. She just had no idea that one day meant today.

After a virus kills every earth-born adult on the station, Lindley and her closest friends, find themselves in charge. Learning how to keep the station running, manage the rest of the young population, along with the never-ending struggles that challenge their survival, is not how she envisioned being commander would be.

At least they have one thing working in their favor. They are immune to the virus. Or so they thought. When a girl dies, with symptoms that look exactly like the virus they just endured, Lindley faces the impossible. Either a new virus is on the loose, or something far worse is happening on their station.

"THIS SPLINTERED SILENCE is a novel that effortlessly blends genres. Part science fiction, part thriller, part suspense, they all combine to create a breathtaking story."

Olson doesn’t introduce us to this world gently. She throws us in, showing us the horror and grief Lindley and the entire remaining population on that station is feeling. And this shock sets the tone for the rest of the book. Like Lindley, we are constantly on edge, holding our breath as we try to understand what’s happening. Every detail in Olson’s writing immerses us into this experience. The sentences are short, but they pack a punch. They make you focus and they grab your attention, because you can’t afford lost words when life is hanging so precariously in the balance.

THIS SPLINTERED SILENCE is a novel that effortlessly blends genres. Part science fiction, part thriller, part suspense, they all combine to create a breathtaking story. This isn’t a book that gets bogged down by being too technical, or navigating cumbersome world building. We learn the stakes that Lindley faces immediately, which makes us intimately involved with each victory and each set back. And there’s just enough romance woven in to grab our hearts and remind us that not all stakes are life and death. Some gamble with the heart instead.

One of my favorite things in the way Olson writes, is how true to the world and the character every detail is. The metaphors she uses are both beautiful and space relevant. While those details are easier to overlook, this nuance ensures that we are completely absorbed in Lindley. She doesn’t have any references to earth first hand. Beauty, the things she knows, are all related to the infinite expanse of space surrounding her. As readers, every reminder, even in her thoughts, are wrapped in living in space.

I also really loved how Olson presents the enormous and complex issues of grief, friendship and understanding the sense of self. I really appreciated that we were in Lindley’s head, and rather than jumping to conclusions or being overly emotional, she is often able to take a step back and assess a wide variety of situations. This ability to analyze herself is fantastic. While most teens won’t find themselves in situations remotely similar, I do think they’ll relate in regards to trust, grief and blossoming romance.

As far as thriller and suspense goes, Olson knocks this out of the galaxy. I had no idea what direction this plot was heading in. NONE! She could have gone down so many paths and any of them would have shocked me. I love being surprised by a good twist, and love it even more when I can’t predict the end of a book. So many things go right, and wrong, that I was turning pages as quickly as I could to find out what happens next.

THIS SPLINTERED SILENCE is a high stakes space thriller and will appeal to a wide range of readers. With the days getting shorter, it’s easy to turn off the lights and imagine being lost in space. And this novel is the perfect companion to launch with.

Reviewed by Jena Brown on December 18, 2018

This Splintered Silence
by Kayla Olson