Author: Sharon Lynn Fisher
Published: April 1st 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
Format: Paperback, 320 pgs
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
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.
Well then, color me surprised. Romantic science fiction hasn’t been this good since Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series! With a strong worldbuilding and an even stronger romance, The Ophelia Prophecy is a breath of fresh air in a (sub)genre that desperately needs it.
Asha and Pax were born on opposite sides of a long and bloody conflict. She is one the few remaining humans, raised in the Sanctuary, humanity’s last stand. Pax is Manti, a human-animal genetic hybrid, and a prince of sorts among his kind. When they meet, both their memories have been tampered with, and Asha ends up as a prisoner on Pax’s spaceship, Banshee.
Paradoxically, the romance was both quick and slow to develop. The attraction was instantly there, as well as Pax’s determination to keep Asha safe, no matter the cost. But while strong, attraction wasn’t accompanied by trust, and it took these two a long time to learn how to trust each other. Asha, for her part, didn’t just hide behind the first strong man determined to protect her, not even when a big part of her wanted to start a relationship with him. She insisted on making her own choices, and for the most part, those choices lead to something good.
I was more than a little surprised by the quality of Fisher’s worldbuilding! Sci-fi romances are usually just romances with a few sci-fi elements thrown in as a disguise, but here I felt that the author achieved a perfect balance between the two and took her time to develop the world, the well thought-through plot, and the romantic entanglement(s).
Admittedly, the big finale was somewhat poorly handled. A big and important scene happened mostly away from the reader’s eyes, which I resented. The switching of POV in that particular moment was, I suppose, meant to increase the suspense, but it only managed to irritate me. Luckily, the switch didn’t last long and everything was adequately explained afterwards.
The ending left plenty of room for a sequel, and I do hope we’ll get one in the near future. I’ve grown to care for these characters and I wouldn’t mind another lengthy visit to their exciting world.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.