Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
I was drawn to Linked by the cover and the concept of twins being connected enough that when one is harmed the other suffers too. Usually I have a good idea going into a novel what the story is about, and Linked surprised me. Yes, it’s about twins but its futuristic, we are talking Firefly here peeps! Despite a few issues, I enjoyed this original tale and the creative world-building. Three word review: interesting, original and entertaining.
We meet Elissa at the hospital and are quickly given her back history. She has been suffering from phantom pains, unexplained bruises and horrifying visions or hallucinations. Medication and therapy have failed and doctors want to take the next step and remove part of her brain. The weekend before her procedure she discovers her visions are true and the tale that unfolds has Elissa on the run to save herself and the twin she never knew existed.
I had a hard time connecting to Elissa and Lin her twin. While the author shares Elissa’s fears and thoughts something about her just kept me from truly connecting. Lin was the same way, while I knew when she was afraid; I never truly connected with her. This isn’t to say that the girls aren’t likeable, I just felt they weren’t fleshed out enough. They bicker amongst themselves, struggle with who to trust and even doubt each other. Elissa’s parents made the events that unfold seem real and genuine. The captain and his crew added to the tale and helped raise questions. There is a romance and throughout the novel we get subtle hints about the attraction. Then suddenly near the end bam it’s in your face. While, I believed aspects of it the sudden leap from A to C made it feel seriously cheesy. I would have preferred a slower build or none at all.
While I struggled with the characters and the underdeveloped side dish of romance, what kept me reading was the world Howson created. She really gave me a panoramic view of Elissa’s home planet and an epic adventure in space. From the homes to identity cards I found the world fascinating. The thread on twins and the revelations that unfolded about the government and their use for them was disturbing and original. The author made them feel plausible, sick but possible. She also makes you think about cloning, twins, and scientific advancements in an unbiased way. I though the pacing was ok, we spend a lot of time running and in-between we have these intense, made for movie action scenes. I am a huge Firefly fan and the scenes in space reminded me of some of my favorite attack scenes. I honestly think this tale would translate better on the big screen as far as the characters. The ending was good, and I was glad to see we avoided the dreaded cliffhanger. Instead the author gave us an expectation of what’s to come. While not without disappointed, I do think this was an interesting beginning.
Fans of science fiction and world-building will find Linked interesting. Shatteredthe next book in the series releases in July of 2014. I am hoping that the characters are further developed.
Two and half cups of coffee out of five
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