Genre: Sci Fi, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: Non-Binary, Pan, Queer, Gender-Fluid, Poly
Reviewer: Jay, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Working odd jobs across the Outer Ring gets a little lonely sometimes—not everyone loves having a synchronist with supraliminal perception around. But all Sacheri wants, he tells himself, is to wander the stars.
Then he takes a salvage run to an abandoned moon where he meets the wry, reserved, strictly-by-the-rules archivist Jin. Mesmerized by their confidence and charm, Sacheri can’t resist showing off his abilities—but instead of collecting the damaged ai he was tracking, he stumbles onto a signal left by another synchronist who went missing decades earlier.
Sacheri knows from previous experience that pursuing the truth—never mind justice—could destroy everything he loves. He would defy his employers, the institution responsible for the myconeural networks that make him a synchronist, and the leadership of several worlds. And it would complicate his new, passionate, and impossibly sweet relationship with Jin. They might be the best thing that’s ever happened to him, but they work for the very entities that ended Sacheri’s last investigation.
He knows better than to risk it.
But he’s never been able to turn away from someone in need, and there’s a voice in the void calling for aid…
This is a beautifully written story set in a future universe with lots of interesting characters, all well-developed, with very detailed world building, and a complex, ‘hard’ sci fi plot.
Some humans have special implants that enable them to communicate without words, and explore situations without asking questions. The implants are introduced by science, not magic, and there is no suggestion of paranormal activity. The various planets do not always agree, and not everybody is fond of people with such enhanced abilities.
There are also fai – originally artificial intelligences that have now been granted citizenship on most worlds. Again, their origins are science-based, and some humans distrust them. However, most humans have basic implants that enable them to communicate without obvious hardware, in much the same way that we use smartphones.
The story revolves around the treatment of ‘syns’ (those with special synthetic implants) and fai, and the cover-ups instituted both by quasi-governmental departments and by merchant companies. There are problems that are both new and age-old, and the same applies to the solutions. The reader inevitably compares the situation with cover-ups in both our own time and throughout history.
I loved the intricate worlds and the way the story unfolded.
I was, however, slightly put off by the prologue. This introduced a sense of impending doom that prevented me from forming too great of an attachment to the main characters or to the developing romance between a ‘syn’ and a non-binary non-enhanced human. Since it is replicated at the appropriate point in the novel, I would recommend skipping it and starting at chapter one.
I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I had been able to truly immerse myself in it and not felt obliged to stand back. As the book has a happy ending, I felt resentful at having been in some sense denied that immersion by unnecessary doom-mongering. For that reason, the book loses a star that it would have deserved for the quality of the writing.
Highly recommended for lovers of sci fi. I understand that it is the first in a series – it will be interesting to see what happens next.
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