If you loved Winter’s Orbit, then you have to keep reading! One of the things I loved the most about Winter’s Orbit is how Maxwell is able to balance romance and science fiction action. And I have to admit that it’s the same in Ocean’s Echo! Except this one definitely felt more ‘space like’ to me! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Rich socialite, inveterate flirt, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.
Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, principled leader, and the son of a notorious traitor general. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.
Surit accepted a suspicious promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal’s escape.
Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space—to the very neuromodifcation lab that Surit’s traitor mother destroyed twenty years ago. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful, one that upends a decades-old power struggle, and begins a war.
Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they’ve been faking.
Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I was instantly intrigued by Ocean’s Echo and its position as a companion novel to Winter’s Orbit. While it is in the same world, I feel like we are seeing an entirely different piece of the world. To be fair, it’s been a while since I read Winter’s Orbit, but the world felt so unique to me! I loved this idea of “reading” and architects. So while I was just getting used to the characters at the beginning, I was drawn in by the world. While this one felt more ‘space-y’ and science fiction than Winter’s Orbit because they are legit in space and there are space chases and battles, that’s one of the reasons I loved it.
It’s a lot to handle at the beginning, but once you wrap your head around space (see what I did there??), I began to sink into their POVs. Not going to lie, Tennal’s arrogance was hard at first until you realize he’s a secret cinnamon roll. He’s been so hurt by his family and is only used to transactions. So when he meets Surit who is noble (almost to a fault and certainly to his loss sometimes), he is flummoxed. Major opposites! So while we are getting to know them to see if Surit is truly exactly how he seems and whether there’s more to Tennal, I was struck by the themes in Ocean’s Echo.
How it’s a story about consent, legality, and morality. About authority, technology, and ethics. The military knows it’s wrong, to force Tennal to sync, but no one seems to care. I loved how Ocean’s Echo examines this line of the ‘authority’ not respecting the law and what individuals can do about it. Both privileged ones like Tennal – whose own privilege isn’t protecting him – and Surit who is exposed. They have to work together in this uneasy allyship in which their entire futures are on the line. And not going to lie, by the end, I was both in love with the themes and the characters!
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)
If you are searching for a SF with battles, character detail, and heart, you have to read Ocean’s Echo. There’s tension, awkward miscommunications, and chaos. At the same time, we love a character who has to process their trauma and open up – this is for you! Something I haven’t mentioned yet is there is also a significant kind of mystery tension too! Ocean’s Echo is multi-faceted and a winner! Find Ocean’s Echo on Goodreads, Amazon (UK), Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.