Author: Imogen Howson
Series: Linked #1
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
I follow along with the generic saying "Don't judge a book by its cover", but I will be the first to admit that this cover is all I paid attention to before I decided to give this book a read. Not only are the color selections perfect, but the scattered/spliced images are perfect. I figured the writing wouldn't be as pretty as the cover (perhaps pretty on the surface, but a little shallow in the plot, I guessed) but I must say, I was pleasantly surprised but what awaited me between the folds of the cover.
Since the cover completely drew me in, I wasn't even 100% sure of the synopsis of this novel before I dove in. After the fact, I kind of prefer it that way. I was almost a third of the way through the novel before I realized, much to my delight, that it was going to be a space opera novel.
Linked appears to take place thousands of years in the future. Earth is no longer the main hub for humanity, but there was a reference to two thrown in to Old Earth. Well, color me intrigued. Hopefully this is something they will explore a little more further down the line in the series. I will say, and I am no doubt nit-picking now, but I always find it mind boggling that space opera novels still use standard references of time (the 24 hour format). Especially in novels like Linked, where Earth is no longer a factor, it seems archaic to still base a universal time system off the rotation of the Earth on its axis.
One other point of Linked that didn't quite sync with me was the romance aspect of the novel. Since it falls into the young adult category of novels, a romantic inclination was all but mandated. From close to the beginning, I hedged my bets on Elissa and Cadan (I was not wrong). Still, the romantic side of the novel wasn't too stifling, and it only deterred from the plot a little, right towards the end. My biggest issue with the romantic element in Linked it that it seemed rather forced, as the entirety of the novel spanned only a few days time, but their relationship involved from a simplistic younger sister of a friend to something much more in such a very short time. But I guess, when you follow the rules of relativity, time passed different for them while they were hopping through space.
Romantic issues aside, Linked was a rather stellar novel. The characters, well not as well defined as I would have liked, were none the less thought provoking and none of them took away from the story. The story was original and intriguing, and their was definitely a hook towards the end that I didn't see coming at all (perhaps because it just seemed too fantastical to me, but I was able to suspend my disbelief). The way the novel ends was interesting, as I felt that Howson had to push to expand it to be open ended for continuation into a series. A few slight alterations to the last couple of pages, and Linked would have made a fine stand alone novel itself. Even though I thought Howson could have soundly ended it with this one volume, I am eagerly awaiting the follow up novel.