When you go online and look for the best fantasy that flies under the radar, you’ll probably come across ‘The Silver Metal Lover’ without having to do much digging. Really, I don’t know if this still counts as something that flies under the radar‐ it definitely has a following. Still, despite the way people absolutely rave about this book, it took me a really long time to read it, for two reasons. The first reason is that the author, Tanith Lee, has written some other books that are really, really just not my cup of tea, and also because the idea of reading anything (or requesting anything from the library) called ‘The Silver Metal Lover’ gives me the heevies (turns out the title fits really well, but… I am a title snob. What can I say.)
But I decided to give this a try. And I was really glad I did. This book is awesome.
The story is futuristic, but feels pretty familiar, nonetheless, and follows Jane, a sixteen year old who is pressured by her friends and her mother. Her mother has basically designed her entire life for her, selecting not only her clothes and things, but going so far as to decide what weight Jane should be, and what her hair and eye colors should be. Jane has several friends, mainly because she’s supposed to, but really only likes Clovis, a self‐centered boy who actually cares for her, when he’s not thinking about himself.
So when Jane meets Silver, a very life‐like robot, her world is kind of rocked. At first, she’s offended that a machine could be so beautiful, but soon, she realizes that all she can think about is Silver. She goes to extreme lengths to buy him, alienating herself from her mother and pretty much cutting herself out of the world she’s used to. As Jane and Silver start to make a life together, though, Jane realizes it was probably worth it. Although Silver is a robot, supposedly with no soul, she cares for him like she’s never cared for anyone before.
The plotting of the book is interesting enough to keep your attention all the way through. It never gets boring. In the same vein, the character development is well done. However, what I really, really fell in love with was the writing. It’s sparse and concise, but at the same time, manages to be dreamy. It’s like a line drawing with a ton of colors. It conveys a great deal of beauty and drama, and is very heartfelt, but never becomes bogged down with too many overly flowery phrases.
I enjoyed the love story, but what I loved best about the book were the scenes where Jane and Silver decorate their apartment, or shop for clothes. These little descriptions of everyday life were so gorgeous, they absolutely captivated me.
Another nice thing about this book is that it stands alone, so rare in the fantasy/sci‐fi world these days. A sequel of sorts came out a few years ago, but since this book wraps up so neatly, I haven’t yet felt the urge to read it (besides, sequels are scary.)