Author: Imogen Howson
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Source: Edelweiss DRC
Genre(s): YA Fiction, YA Science Fiction, YA Dystopia, Twins, Science Fiction
Review Spoilers: Moderate (One Major Plot Point Reveal)
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Color me surprised!
I didn’t know what to expect from Linked – I hadn’t done much recon on the title before settling in to read it – and I was super surprised at what I found. Linked is one of those great science fiction stories that seamlessly inserts you into a futuristic world without forcing too much explanation on you. The world just builds itself around the reader and the story with a few little moments here and there were the scene needs to be set. It’s great.
What’s also great is that for the most part the story doesn’t rely on it’s futuristic setting. Set on a colony world a good thousand years in the future, the main character Lissa could be a teenager girl from anywhere. Her family could be any family. Her friends could be any friends. It actually took me a while to realize that the setting wasn’t just the modern day. But then things picked up and bam. Human colony. Future. Sweet. I knew I could dig it.
All right, so, let’s get a basic rundown on Linked.
For the past few years our heroine Lissa has been suffering from strange nightmares, headaches, and hallucinations. She dreams about terrible things happening to her and wakes up with bruises. It effects her every day life and eventually her parents take her to a doctor who is going to make sure it all stops. That sounds great, right? Except after a dream about a fire and some strange questions from this very doctor she realizes that everything she imagined actually happened. There was a fire at a government building and it was all on the news. She begins to realize that all the terrible things that happened in her dreams were real – all the medical experiments and everything.
Except they weren’t happening to her. They were happening to someone else. Relying on whatever psychic connection she has with that person she tracks them down and finds the last person she expected to find – herself. Or, rather, a strange girl with strange powers who looks exactly like her. Suddenly Lissa’s perfect life is over as she takes off with her previously unknown twin. The two are on the run from a secret government organization that has been using her twin – who with her help picks the name Lin – for devious experiments. Experiments that at the end of the book might very well set you reeling.
Their best chance for escape is to leave their planet all together and so they trick one of Lissa’s brother’s friends into taking them off planet. But, of course, it won’t be that easy. Not at all.
The book asks a lot of interesting questions about what makes us human, the rights we deserve, and what governments can do to change the way we think about people just with a few official sounding terms and laws. The characters are all generally pretty well developed and interesting, too. Lissa is kind of cookie cutter at times but she grows as she deals with this crisis in her life. Lin is actually really interesting. She doesn’t just adapt to this real world once she’s into it and after spending her life as a lab rat? She understandably has some shaky concepts regarding morality. Really the only thing that made no damn sense was the relationship they tried to force between Lissa and Cadan. I just saw that they are making a sequel so what the heck? They are in danger of being caught so these two people who haven’t had a civil word between them before this one day just decide ‘Oh, hey, let’s confuse our undying love to one another!’ C’mon. That really stuck out and nearly ruined a great story.
I did like the end, though. The ‘shocking secret’ of the ISF actually did kinda catch me off guard. And I appreciated that in the end Lissa and Lin decide to go home and help the other secret twins and what not.
I’m not really sure how I feel about there being a sequel to this book. I thought it was a great stand-alone novel and I’m not sure what a sequel is going to offer to the story that is any better than leaving things to the imagination. I guess Lissa’s father can get to know Lin if he sticks around and I guess we can see them trying to help the other ‘spare’ twins. But still.
At the same time, I’m kind of excited for a sequel.
I know. I’m indecisive on this. I’d rather there not be one but if there is going to be one then you better believe I’m going to read it. Because surprisingly I liked Linked a lot and I really appreciated the surprise science fiction. There’s nothing better than surprise science fiction.