by Laura Lam
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To save her twin, she must take her identity
One night Tila stumbles home, terrified and covered in blood. She's then arrested for murder, the first by a civilian in decades. The San Francisco police suspect involvement with Verve, a powerful drug, and offer her twin sister Taema a chilling deal. Taema must assume Tila's identity and gather information to bring down the drug syndicate. The police may then let her sister live. However, Taema's investigation raises ghosts from the twins' past.
The sisters were raised by a cult, which banned modern medicine - yet as conjoined twins, they needed life-saving surgery to replace their failing heart. And with help from co-conspirators, they escaped. Taema now discovers that Tila had found links between the cult and the city's criminal underworld. The twins were once unable to keep secrets, but will learn the true cost of lies.
After years without reading science fiction (because really, who cares about aliens anymore?), I decided to try and find some new authors because you know what? The real world sucks sometimes, and escaping it seems wonderful to me right now. Please feel free to send me your recs, and a big thank you to Emily for her review without which I would have never heard of False Hearts.
*looking at the news*
*turning my ocular implants off*
I don’t know what’s worst, really : reading about a futurist world both fascinating and frightening, or putting my book aside to discover, if needed, that our real world is more fucked-up than anything writers could create.
Alright, I lied : the second possibility is much, much worst. Too bad it’s the truth. As much as I’ve always prided myself on being able to see things in a positive light, I cannot deny that it’s becoming harder and harder to stand the internet lately – and let it be known that I love technologies.
In that aspect, False Hearts asked the good questions in my opinion (well, I don’t know if they are good, honestly, only that they’re the ones I always wondered about) : where do we stop? Is there a boundary, some kind of limit where science shouldn’t go? I’ve always been uncomfortable with people arguing against science or progress, because it reeked too much of censure for me, yet it does not mean that everything scientific or new is good by essence. What matters is what we, humans with twisted minds, do with it.
Everyone agrees (I strongly hope, at least) that experimenting on humans or animals is sick and inhuman. Everyone agrees that there are many countries that produce our stuff with no respect for basic human rights. Yet we welcome any novelty with open arms, we buy them cheaper and cheaper, and we’re very sorry, and then we shrug and say –
What you wanna do?
I am guilty of this hypocrisy as well. Sure, I pay attention to what I buy and try to choose human and animal friendly products more often than not – especially clothes, food, and beauty products – yet I own a smartphone, a tab, an ereader, a computer, games consoles… I love the internet and the freedom of speech it allows, even if I often struggle with the cultural – and legal – differences between the US and France (where incitement to hatred is outlawed and not protected under the cloak of freedom of expression).
And now you’re wondering why the fuck I am rambling about that and what this has to do with False Hearts. I’m coming to that, I promise.
It all comes down to : human beings are complex, our world is complex, and I need to find remnants of this complexity to be convinced by a fictional world.
Would I be able to live in the Hearth, the technology-free colony Tila and Taema come from? In this hidden cult where “meditation” allows you to share your neighbor’s mind? Oh, no, absolutely not.
Would I enjoy living in the Pacifica, this futuristic country where appearances are never what they seem, where you can order an ersatz of coffee – and anything, really – through a replicator, where all your steps are monitored and analyzed by your brain nanobots? Where the aseptic atmosphere hides loneliness and corruption? Where a psychoactive drug enables you to share dreams, at the risk of losing any interest in your real life? No, I don’t think I would.
And this, my friends – this imaginative and frightening world-building? It’s what makes False Hearts stand out from the overtroped Fantasy and Scifi out there.
But there’s more! Not only the murder investigation, filled with mistrust and twists, hooked me right away, but the depth (both with regards to the – diverse! – characters and to the questions asked) made my reading experience even better. If not for the writing that didn’t always convince me, and the beginning that I found a little slow, False Hearts was damn near perfect for me.
► Give me more of this, please.*
Oh, also? I’ll take some of these cleaning Bots, thank you very much. I’ll keep my real coffee, though.
*Apparently there is a sequel coming, and I cannot wait to dive into it.