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Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: Linked by Imogen Howson

A thrilling sci-fi read that swept me off my feet!

Title: Linked (Linked #1) by Imogen Howson
Release Date: August 1st 2013
Published by: Quercus
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


For years, Elissa has suffered nightmarish visions and unexplained bruises. Finally, she's promised a cure, and an operation is scheduled. But on the eve of the procedure, Elissa discovers the truth: she's seeing the world through another girl's eyes. A world filled with wires, machines and pain. Elissa follows her visions, only to find a battered, broken girl. A girl who looks exactly like her. A twin she never knew existed. Elissa and her twin Lin go on the run, but even after changing their looks and clothes, they're barely a step ahead of the government agents who are ruthlessly tracking them down. For Lin and Elissa are too valuable to let go, and the dark truth at the heart of it all is too shocking to risk exposing...

I have a twin, I am a twin myself so anything written that features twins will always be fascinating to me. How will they put a different spin on the fact that they're two children, born on the same day, might not be on the same time and might also not be of the same gender? And yet in Imogen Howson's Linked, the concept of twins is foreign. Wrong. Abnormal. And that in itself is what made this book so interesting.

Elissa had a condition where she had nightmares, faints, feels pain and she didn't know what caused it. And so when a doctor finally came up with a solution for her ailment, she was willing to go under the knife to make it stop. But what happens when Elissa's hallucinations turn out to be real? I love how everything in this story is mysterious from the get go, and you'll start wondering from page one what was happening to Elissa. And when you finally make a connection, it doesn't stop there. Who is this other person who looks just like her? Why was she locked away?

The contrast between the twins is very obvious. Elissa pushes Lin and Lin needed Elissa to push her. Elissa leads on and Lin follows, but by no means is she weaker than her twin. Though I hate the fact that Lin had to feel inferior all her life because she's a spare, Elissa's reaction, worries and fear felt genuine. She felt confused, scared, pitied Lin, but I love how she tried to understand her. How she gradually accepted her. And how, in her eyes, Lin is just like her, a human who deserves to be treated rightly and with respect.

The world building is solid for Linked, and it's easy for me to imagine what kind of world Elissa lives in. Planets terraforming, with technologies far advanced than what we have, all of these were explained by the author in great detail. Imogen Howson, aside from the solid world building, managed to showcase what it's like to live in Sekoia. It might be a high tech world, but the way society reacted to Elissa's condition and Lin being a Spare, something people do not readily understand, is still the same as the present. Everyone thought Elissa was an attention seeker, and Lin was treated as nothing more than dirt, even by her own mother. No matter how much civilization has progressed, humanity can still be cruel and judgmental to the things that are foreign to them.

Imogen Howson managed to write a novel balanced with just the right amount of thrill, suspense and a shot of unexpected romance set in a highly developed world. I have to say, I wasn't expecting the surprise the twins found out inside Phoenix. I also liked how unusual Cadan and Elissa's relationship was. That underlying current of romance amidst their prejudice and initial judgment of each other. I like Cadan because he's not the type of male lead you'll immediately swoon over. I was mostly irritated with him until the last 80 pages of the book. But he, along with Lin and Elissa, grew up and changed for the better.

Unlikely bonds, sisterly love leading to unpredicted discoveries, untimely romance, unexpected allies, conspiracies and sinister experiments all wrapped up in a neatly, nicely paced story. I breezed through Linked in a matter of hours! What a page turner! I randomly picked this book up from my shelf and I am just pleasantly surprised. Now I am craving to read the sequel!

Content (plot, story flow, character):
The one star off was: My initial dislike for Lin. I'm glad her behavior gradually got better but she was so unstable at times. Gradually recognizing that she too was human was something I liked and hated at the same time in this book. It was a painful process for her. Also, the timing for when Cadan and Elissa's feelings finally connected with each other? I thought that wasn't possible given the circumstances they were in. Will you really bother confessing when you're about to die? I thought that was out of character for both of them. But I'm a sucker for happy endings, so I'm okay with it. And when Lin finally met her father for the first time? That almost made me cry.

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
The illustration of the twins on the cover helped me form a likeness for Lissa and Lin in my mind! Nice imagery for the twins!


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