Title: Nova (Nova #1)
Author: Margaret Fortune
Publisher: DAW (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Acquired Via: Publisher
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 Lia’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 there’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 time—literally—runs out.
Seriously. Those are the only words that I have to describe Nova right off the top of my head.
*takes a deep breath*
Okay, so it's not very often that a book surprises me, and I can be quite cocky about it. I thought I had Nova all figured out, but I really liked Fortune's writing, so I stayed with it. Lia got a little angsty sometimes, but it never annoyed me too much because spacestations. (I love books set on spacestations! *quivers*) Then, three-fourths of the way into the book, I get shoved smooth on my ass. I had to call my mom because I was so shocked. (She doesn't read sci-fi, but she did tell me to stop being so cocky. Hmph.) I suppose you want some more reviewerly things.
Lia is the main character in Nova, and she has a pretty shitty deal. She's been a prisoner of war for the past two years... Oh wait, no, she's just a bomb and her life will end in thirty-six hours. Until the detonator decides it is going to screw up. So while she's hanging around the space station, waiting to go nova (you see what she did there?), she meets some folks. Michael, who just happens to be in some of her manufactured memories of the real Lia's childhood. It doesn't help that he's adorably sweet and treats her like a princess. Then there is his little sister, Teal, who is a sassy younger teen who is so much more fun because you don't have to live with her. (I'm not in denial about teens - I like to love her from afar.) Then there is Shar and the Captain (whose name I forget, but she reminds me of a friendly Han Solo). I hope to see all of them in more books.
As for the world-building of Nova, it's set umpteen dozen centuries in the future (I'm just kidding, I don't remember how far in the future it is). Humans are either a part of the Celestial Expanse (the folks living on space stations and planets spread out everywhere) or the Tellurian Alliance, which is ruled by Earth. These two factions have been at war over typical human war reasons, and there's an uneasy ceasefire that Lia is smack-dab in the middle of. Most of the story is set on the New Sol Space Station, and I felt like I was there. That's a spectacular feat considering I've never been in a space station, but whatever.
I feel like there's not enough YA sci-fi out there, but Nova is good enough to knock the socks off of even adult sci-fi readers. I don't care what kind of books you like - young adult, science fiction, erotica (haha, just kidding, but you can read it, too), you should do yourself and mankind a favor by picking up Nova. If I was a trillionaire, I would seriously waste my fortune by buying everybody a copy. I want to read lots more by Margaret Fortune (we need to keep an eye on this lady!) and see many, many more additions to the genre.
You can also read my interview with Margaret Fortune from last week HERE.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance digital copy of the novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.