Jubilee lives in a strikingly bizarre world, in which silver mist arises from the earth to kill living beings, remake non-living matter, and bring random buildings and even entire empty cities back from the past. Because the “silver” tends to destroy written records, the people are very vague and confused about their history, though they have a high degree of poorly-understood technology. They also have some extremely odd customs regarding sex and love – people can only marry (or, apparently, have sex with) their one true mate, as determined by genetic testing - which turn out to be based on even odder biology.

When Jubilee is a little girl, her brother Jolly claims to have called the silver –right before he vanishes into it forever. Years later, a man walks out of the silver, which no one should be able to survive, and asks her where her brother is, before walking back into it. Jubilee begins to investigate the possibility that Jolly could still be alive, and that some people can survive the silver.

The first third of the novel, which appears to be hard sf set in a world whose inhabitants think they’re living in high fantasy, is a fascinating farrago of strangeness and mystery, with such intriguing worldbuilding that I wasn’t bothered by the thin characterization. The rest of the book, which sends Jubilee on a roundabout quest and introduces an irritatingly powerful and insufficiently motivated supervillain, doesn’t live up to the promise of the earliest sections.

I had hoped that all the weirdness would come together in a coherent explanation of the secretly sfnal origins of the world, and that “it’s all virtual reality” would not be the explanation. There is an explanation, but one which only covers a small portion of all the peculiarities. It’s not “it’s all virtual reality,” but it’s not complete enough to be truly satisfying.


I really wanted to know what was up with every person’s blood, and presumably other bodily fluids, being deadly to everyone but their destined mate. I assumed it was some sort of deliberate engineering, but to what purpose? And were people really always attracted to their one true mate, or was it just such a powerful social idea that it usually worked? Annoyingly, this was never addressed.

I also never figured out whether the reincarnation had some sort of sfnal explanation, or not.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com

It's a shame it didn't pay off - the setup sounds really interesting.

I really wanted to know what was up with every person’s blood, and presumably other bodily fluids, being deadly to everyone but their destined mate.

That sounds... inconvenient. I mean, what happens if kids spit on each other? (Or if it's only blood, bleed on each other.) What about nursing mothers and shared bathrooms and medical treatment and and and.

I'm sure I'm interrogating the text from the wrong perspective.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Huh, I guess breast milk must be an exception. And maybe saliva. I extrapolated to "other bodily fluids" because that would explain why people won't have sex until they find their One True Mate, even if that takes years and years.

It's narratively revealed when one character gets a cut that bleeds a lot, and another freaks out because his blood is POISON TO HER.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com

I think urine has to be an exception as well, otherwise changing diapers would require approximately the same preparation as surgery.

And of course there's perspiration, which you have in low quantities on your skin at all times.

So to make this even vaguely plausible I think it has to be blood and maybe semen and vaginal lubrication.

Still, though... what's to prevent someone from just, I dunno, collecting some of their own blood and then throwing it at people? You could put it in a water pistol!

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

There is an attempted assassination via blood, actually. The villain cuts himself and then cuts the heroine with the same knife - more dignified than a water pistol, but the same idea. She becomes deathly ill but survives for complicated plot reasons.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com

Good, I feel better now.

Did Nagata at least explain HOW everyone's blood is so deadly to everyone else, if not why? I mean, in the real world getting someone else's blood in your system can be bad (almost anyone else's would be dangerous to me, actually), but generally in large quantities.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Do you have a rare blood type?

It causes an always-fatal fever. Otherwise, it's not explained.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com

Actually I'm AB+ (universal recipient), but due to a blood disorder I have a very low immunoglobin A level. My hematologist is afraid that a whole-blood transfusion will put me into anaphylactic shock. I promised her I would try not to need a transfusion.

From: [identity profile] evalangui.livejournal.com

A water pistol! That idea is genius, pitty my blood isn't poisonous :s

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