Lia Johansen tells us her story; she was a prisoner of war.
A settlement has been reached with the Tellurian Alliance
and she is going to be dropped off at New Sol Space Station
to begin a new life, after two years of uncertainty. NOVA
describes the location very well, from the manufactured
environment to the endless vista of space. Lia has no
family or home left. The Celestian guards don't give the
ceasefire much chance of holding, so it's important to get
the refugees somewhere secure. Then what awaits her?
With a biometric chip implanted in her hand Lia will be
able to draw credit for her needs. But suddenly a hypnotic
state breaks and she realises that she is an agent of the
Tellurian Alliance, engineered to look like a sixteen year
old girl, but actually a human bomb, programmed for
destruction. This is a riveting start and I couldn't wait
to see what happens as the timer in Lia's head counts down.
I find this tale brilliantly conceived and written, an
allegory for today's terrorism by brainwashed bombers. It's
sobering to read something so good. Author Margaret Fortune
has considered why such stresses would arise; the human
settlers bickered about mining rights, trade agreements,
space lanes. When we went to the stars we took our capacity
for war with us. The tension and alienation are constant,
but still Lia is aware of the normality and humanity of the
people around her. She doesn't hate them, she just doesn't
have any other purpose in life. Simultaneously Lia lives a
recognisable teen life, with pals, visits to Michael's
family, slang and bullies. The dystopian tale asks
questions about identity, tribalism and destiny. It becomes
pretty dark. I recommend NOVA for older Young Adults or
adult science fiction fans; I believe it is better
than 'Divergent'. Margaret Fortune has done a cracking job
and I can't wait to see what she'll write next. Science
fiction has a powerful new voice.
The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head
involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes,
dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories
come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave
furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.
My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of
war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two
years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners,
I was given her memories and sent back in her place.
And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.
Lia Johansen was created for only one purpose: to slip onto
the strategically placed New Sol Space Station and explode.
But her mission goes to hell when her clock malfunctions,
freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no
Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a
name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do
next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets
Michael Sorenson, the real Liaâ€™s childhood best friend.
Drawn to Michael and his family against her better judgment,
Lia starts learning what it means to live and love, and to
be human. It is only when her countdown clock begins
sporadically losing time that she realizes even duds can
still blow up. If she wants any chance at a future, she
must find a way to unlock the secrets of her past and stop
her clock. But as Lia digs into her origins, she begins to
suspect thereâ€™s far more to her mission and to this war,
than meets the eye. With the fate of not just a space
station but an entire empire hanging in the balance, Lia
races to find the truth before her timeâ€”literallyâ€”runs out.