The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher
Genre: Adult Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: April 1 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
The nitty-gritty: An imaginative future, a sizzling romance, and a complex plot full of constantly shifting alliances.
A buzzing cry ripped through the air just above her, and something grazed the top of her head. She yelped and Pax fired a shot. Glancing up, she saw a dark insect the size of a man dropping toward her—gleaming black torso like armor and eyes like gold pearls, oblong and soulless. Huge mandibles clicked with menace as a pair of too-human arms extended from the wasp’s midsection, grasping her shoulders and dragging her off her feet.
Last year I inhaled Sharon Lynn Fisher’s Ghost Planet, an exciting science fiction romance with a unique concept, and so I was very excited to dive into The Ophelia Prophecy, another stand-alone novel. Once again, Fisher has written a hard-to-put-down adventure story that seamlessly combines romance with everything I love about science fiction. And her romances tend to be on the, um, unusual side. In Ghost Planet, the romance is between a human and a ghost (sort of—it’s hard to explain). And now in The Ophelia Prophecy, Fisher throws together a human and a creature that has a combination of human and insect DNA. If you’re envisioning bulging eyeballs, wings, and stingers, well, you would be partially correct. Most of the insectoid characters in this novel are more human than insect, but that simply made them easier to relate to, and ultimately easier to imagine them having sex with a human. For you male readers out there who might shy away at the mere mention of the word “romance,” not to worry. There is plenty of political intrigue, attacks by giant mutant wasps, and a healthy dose of betrayals and lies. In other words, something for everyone.
In The Ophelia Prophecy, humans have been all but wiped out. There are only a handful left in a colony called Sanctuary, after a new species called the Manti, a cross between humans and insects, decided to get back at the humans who created them. The Manti developed and let loose a virus that was deadly to humans, and now they are, more or less, in charge. Asha is a pure human living in Sanctuary with her parents, working as an archivist to try to preserve the past. Her father has taught her to stay within the walls of Sanctuary, or the Manti who patrol the skies around the perimeter might capture her and take her away to the Manti city of Granada.
But one day, Asha awakens just outside Sanctuary, with no memory of how she got there. Even worse, a Manti male named Pax is lying beside her, equally confused. Pax immediately kidnaps Asha and takes her on his ship, certain that she is a spy of some sort. Confused and scared, Asha struggles to remember what she was doing outside of Sanctuary, while trying to convince Pax that she is telling the truth. The two grow closer, but they are both in for some surprises when Asha’s memory returns.
One of the things I loved most about this book was that I was never really sure what the characters were going to do. I thought Asha was one kind of person, but then she would surprise me and make a decision that I didn’t see coming. I mentioned before that the characters form alliances with each other, and then they pull the rug out from under you by switching sides. Humans and Manti are enemies, but the Manti allow the humans that have survived the Bio Holocaust to live safely in Sanctuary, as long as they don’t try to leave. So they are basically prisoners, although Asha certainly doesn’t see herself as such, at least in the beginning of the story. But after she is taken away from her home, she begins to understand that her parents have been lying to her about many things, and I loved the way she became a stronger person because of that.
I really liked Pax as well. In typical romance fashion, Pax has an unquenchable desire for Asha as soon as he meets her—he literally wants to mate with her (I’m assuming that’s his insect side at work!). But luckily he holds back and the two get to know each other before they finally allow their libidos to take over. Pax’s sister Iris, who helps pilot the ship, is not fond of Asha at all, and I liked the way her character tried to keep them apart during their journey to Granada.
One of my other favorite characters was Banshee, Pax’s ship—yes, I said ship. Banshee is the AI persona who interfaces with Pax and Iris, and she eventually becomes a trusted friend to Asha. I loved the way the author described the interior walls of the ship as being flexible and even warm, almost as if Banshee were human.
Probably the most interesting part of the book was the world building itself. I love the idea that the world has gone to hell because of DNA experimentation. And I loved the rebel factions that are trying to hide from both the Manti and the humans. Fisher adds plenty of twists and turns to her story, and yes, there is an “Ophelia Prophecy” that is eventually explained. The author keeps the suspense going up until the very end, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen until literally the last few pages. The Ophelia Prophecy was exciting, sexy, and kept me guessing. I don’t know if there’s a sequel planned, but I sure wouldn’t mind diving back into this fascinating world.
Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. Be sure to check back here on April 6th, because I’ll be on the blog tour for The Ophelia Prophecy!
You can find The Ophelia Prophecy here: