Elissa used to have it all. But for the last three years she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: She’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl – Lin – who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose. With nowhere left to hide, Elissa is forced to take a drastic step to get Lin to safety – but it could take away her home forever. Lin is too valuable to let go, and Elissa has knowledge too dangerous to let her keep. And the government will stop at nothing to get them back.
Linked by Imogen Howson is a debut sci-fi novel that takes place not just in the future, but on another planet – and I was hooked from the beginning. Elissa is having very creepy and dangerous visions that actually result in physical harm. From the start, I had ideas that the doctor Lissa sees to try and get answers knows more than he’s letting on. As must her parents.
When Elissa finally realizes what her visions mean, and meets her twin Lin, the action really takes off. There are some very suspenseful scenes running from cops (all while letting the reader explore a very nifty new planet and technology) and some moments where I thought that was it for them. But Elissa’s dad gives some surprise help, as does Caden – Elissa’s brother’s best friend (her brother, by the way, seemed to be a very throw-away character. We hardly see him at all, and it feels like he was there so Caden wouldn’t have to be a stranger to Elissa, but someone she already knows and can hopefully trust). The pace of the story unfolds at a good rate with some crazy fight scenes, space travel and surprising reveals. I felt the main characters of Elissa and Lin were very well developed to the point that I was often frustrated with their decisions, proud of their choices, scared for them and excited for them throughout the course of the novel. With Caden, we get a fairly good sense of who he is but what we see of him is through Elissa’s perception and so his personality fluctuates a bit depending on her feelings for him at the time (it is easy to see that he is level headed and dependable in an emergency though!). The idea behind Elissa’s visions and connection to her twin Lin is really neat and quite unique. I definitely wasn’t expecting some of the reveals in the end.
I was definitely swept up in Linked by Imogen Howson, from the action to the mystery of Elissa and Lin, to the sci-fi aspects of the novel and the small beginning romance between Elissa and Caden. The end was left wide open for the sequel, of which I’m ridiculously happy because despite being engrossed in the story I definitely had some questions about how the link between Elissa and Lin (and all twins, apparently) works and their mysterious power, as well as some confusion about the final explanation/solution/twist/reveal at the end that I’m dying to discuss but don’t want to spoil for you! Final verdict? Solid read (even with leaving me with questions) from a promising debut author – I’m excited to read more in Elissa and Lin’s universe.
ARC received from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!