Wednesday, 14 June 2017

False Hearts // not as awesome as I'd hoped

False Hearts is the first in a series of standalone novels set in the same universe. Set in a futuristic San-Francisco with advanced drugs and technology, the story focuses on Taema, a previously conjoined twin, who must assume her sister Tila's identity in order to bring down a crime syndicate and clear her sister's name.

I love Sci-Fi, but I don't read a lot of it, and I definitely haven't read a futuristic Sci-Fi like this before. But the unique and exciting summary sounded to exciting not to pass up reading this book, and I had high expectations after reading and enjoying Laura Lam's Pantomime.

The Good:
  • An awesome concept. I hadn't read anything like this before, but the blurb was so effective in selling the story to me that I didn't hesitate in preordering. There are plenty of cool ideas in this book and I was very excited to see how they all fit together.
  • Diversity. I knew how diverse this book was before I read it, but it goes without saying that this is always a huge plus for me. The protagonists are bisexual, mixed race, formerly conjoined twins, and although this wasn't necessarily a focus the whole way through, it was good to see more diversity in the science fiction genre.

The Not-So-Good:
  • Showing and not telling. It took me over half the book to actually connect with the plot or the characters or anything. The book felt a lot like 'this is a thing! and this is a thing! and this is a thing!' And don't get me wrong - they were all cool things. But it made it near impossible to fall into the story.
  • Difficult to visualise. Maybe this point was down to me, but I just could not see how all the cool concepts connected to make one world. There was little to no description on what things looked like so it was a lot of guess work.
  • It felt like there were gaps. Maybe I wasn't paying attention enough, but I did not understand how this world functioned. Obviously books only have to be a snapshot of a world, but it was a very blurry snapshot. I didn't understand how the government worked in this world or if there even was one, or if religious people existed outside of the Hearth. Normally I'd consider these small things, but as politics and faith seemed so vital to the story it felt wrong that there were these huge gaps.
  • Uncomfortably negative about religion. The people of the Hearth are the only people of faith seen in this universe, and they're presented as brain washed and in need of escape. Since religion doesn't seem to exist in any other form it feels like the major message of the book is seriously anti-religion. I doubt that was the intention, but honestly? I was uncomfortable.
  • It was kind of slow, and not much happened. Again, this is probably a me thing. It felt like there were pages and pages of inaction, and all the interesting stuff was really summed up in the blurb. The story itself was just all the cool stuff in the blurb plus Taema brain loading information to learn stuff. Stuff that unfortunately, I could not understand.

I really hate giving negative reviews, especially to authors I like. I actually have an ARC of the second Pacifica novel that I still feel I ought to read. But I might take some time to ponder on my feelings for False Hearts before picking up Shattered Minds. Hopefully with different characters it will work a lot better for me.

Diversity note: Bisexual mixed raced formerly conjoined twins.

Warnings: surgery, hospitals, blood, murder, death, drugs

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