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[personal profile] jpskewedthrone
This is the debut novel for Margaret Fortune. It's the first in a sci-fi series with an interesting premise, which is why I picked up the book.

Premise: Lia Johansen doesn't remember much beyond the fact that she's survived a prison camp where her parents were killed and is now being returned to her homeland ... until she steps onto the space station and an internal clock begins a countdown for 36 hours. Suddenly, she knows she's a genetically engineered bomb sent to destroy the station, retaliation by rebels for the peace talks that are set to begin shortly, bringing the war to an end. All she has to do is remain undiscovered until she goes nova. But then something goes horribly wrong and her clock halts its countdown. At the same time, she runs into an old friend of Lia's--the real Lia she was modeled after--and she discovers she could take up a new life on this station, one that doesn't end with her annihilation. Torn between wanting to fulfill her orders and go nova, and her desire to live, Lia struggles to decide which is the better option--for her, for the new friends she's made, and the old ones she's left behind. But there are more secrets left hidden inside her, insidious secrets that, when finally revealed, change everything.

I really liked the premise of this novel and its execution. It brings up an intriguing dilemma for the main character, and as the secrets she holds begin to be exposed and the story deepens into something far more complex than a mere bombing, I got drawn further and further into this character and this world. It's hard to talk much about this book without spoiling some of the plot, so I'll just say that, as Lia discovers herself and her real purpose, the world and the stakes involved simply escalate, all the way until the end. Her clock may have stopped, but the tension only grows, as if the countdown were still on. This is a character-based story, but with a strong underlying sci-fi plot that only begins with this novel and will continue in the next book in the series.

Overall, a strong start to this series. There was a section of this book where perhaps it became a little too YA for my taste, and provided a lull in the action, but once that part passed the last half of the novel picked up speed and interest. It ended in such a way that I definitely want to get my hands on the next novel in the series. I'd recommend it for those interested in sci-fi which is much more character-based than usual.


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Joshua Palmatier

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