Author: Sharon Lynn Fisher
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: April 2014
Series: Stand Alone
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: ARC
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters -- the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past. Some of us intend to do more than survive.
Asha and Pax -- strangers and enemies -- find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there. Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource -- information -- viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society. Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check. Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie. With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.
Yea for a descriptive book blurb! This is excellent, because it gives me space to talk about this book!
I read Ghost Planet by Fisher last year, and I really enjoyed it (4 out of 5 kitties). The heroine was a psychologist! Plus, Fisher did a great job of having a really full SF world in addition to lots of romance. It was really neat. When I saw The Ophelia Prophecy was available for review I jumped at the chance to read it. I devoured the book in just a few hours after receiving my copy. Seriously, I got my copy at 4 PM and I finished the book by 9 PM.
Okay, let's talk about why I finished this book so quickly. First, the world building was fantastic. Fisher did a great job of explaining the Manti and why the humans started playing with genetics and the aftermath of the Manti-human war. The world and world building felt unique and very science fiction-y. There was a bit of info dumping every so often, but I ate it up, because I so desperately wanted to learn all that I could about this world. Many times, world building in books that are billed as romance-SF or mystery-SF, or genre-SF isn't very strong. The genre takes primary billing and the SF world building is just the window dressing. This is not true in a Fisher book; she can genre blend with the best of them. Second, I applaud Fisher for having one-sided insta-love in a totally plausible way. As soon as Pax smells Asha, he is madly in love with her because of her pheromones. Some of you might be shaking your heads, but I loved it. It totally worked. Pheromones. That's all you need to know. Also, I am not being sarcastic. I really liked the pheromone explanation. Also, Asha didn't fall for Pax straightaway, so there was still tension between the two characters. Third, Fisher had a ton of exciting action sequences in this novel. In Ghost Planet, there was a bit of a slow build. In The Ophelia Prophecy, the action is almost non-stop. Finally, although I was disappointed that there were only a few steamy scenes and they were towards the end, the scenes were pretty steamy.
Alright, now let's talk about what I didn't like. I had two concerns with this book. First, Asha was a problematic character. I didn't feel like I got a good understanding of her motivations. With that said, I think my problems with Asha are due to my other concern with this book. Namely, the plot felt really disjointed. The book does not open with the instigation of Asha's journey. It starts with Asha and Pax waking up on the outskirts of Asha's home and Asha has no memory of her life. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal. It is a plotting technique that can work. Unfortunately, this time it didn't work, at least for me. I just felt really unsettled and confused throughout most of the book. It seemed like Asha started remembering things and acting on this knowledge, but the reader wasn't privy to these memories. I don't want to make too big of a deal out of this, because I was really tired when I read this book. I was falling asleep reading it, but I couldn't stop. The plot may have flowed better than I realized if I had been wider awake. One plot concern that is not related to my sleepiness is that a big part of the plot happens in the second half/last third of the book. I wasn't sure that the book was going to be resolved based on how everything stood at 90% into the book. Everything gets resolved; however, I wish that the second half of the book had been a bit stretched out, so the plot didn't get resolved so quickly.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story despite the disjointed plotting. I love Fisher's world and her writing. I was going to give this book a 3, but then I realized that I enjoyed the book enough that I would potentially give it a reread (which bumps up my rating). If I was being honest, I would give this book a 3.5. Because I don't give 0.5 ratings (I'm not going to decapitate a kitty!), The Ophelia Prophecy gets bumped to a 4. I would recommend reading Ghost Planet first, however, because I think it is a stronger book (both of these books are stand alone books in different universes).