I received this book for free from Penguin in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne
on June 7th 2016
Number of Pages: 464
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
Ravaged by a plague known as Red Death, the planet Gabriel, a former colony of Earth, is a barren wasteland. Since being abandoned by Earth 500 years ago, resources are scarce and life is cheap. To stay alive, the survivors, the Citizens, scavenge the remains of a now dead city, trading for food with the resource-rich Curadores, the only other survivors on Gabriel. Every old computer, every piece of wire, every scrap of metal counts. To steal is the ultimate sin. So when tough-as-nails seventeen-year-old Leica is caught doing just that, she's exiled and left to the mercy of Gabriel's unforgiving desert for the rest of her life.
While in exile, Leica discovers a mysterious shuttle, which may not only lead her home, but even more impossible—reestablish contact with Earth. Then Red Death rears its head again, killing her entire work crew, leaving Leica all alone until a handsome Curador offers her refuge in the Dome—the only place on Gabriel untouched by Red Death, where a decadent and sultry life awaits. But there's a catch: Leica can only enter the Dome as his concubine—his Kisaeng. When a rogue group of Citizens see their chance for revolution in Leica's good fortune, she finds herself unraveling a deadly mystery with chilling answers to the true origin of Red Death and the reason Earth really abandoned them so long ago.
I loved how detailed the world and it’s customs was. I liked reading about how life inside the Dome was different from both the area the Citizens lived, as well as the desert area. We get to see what kind of technology was lost, as well as what was important enough to have stayed in use after 500 years.
I liked how Leica grew as a character during the book. And I loved getting to know her friends in the Dome. I liked her sisters as well, but we don’t really get to interact with them a lot.
There was, but also wasn’t romance in the book. In some ways there was, because Leica ends up in a relationship because of having to pose as a Kisaeng. But in all the important (and usual!) ways, it wasn’t really romance. Lust yes. Physical attraction, yes. But romance? Not so much.
There is both science and fantasy in the book. Most of the Dome is run by a computer, and all the important things they need to survive, as well as a lot of comforts, require electricity and or robots to keep them running. But there are also some fantasy elements as well.
I didn’t expect the twist at the end, at all. But it totally worked. I don’t know if there is supposed to be a sequel, but the ending works either way. There’s just enough left hanging that a sequel could happen. While wrapping up all the important bits, so if this is a standalone you aren’t left with a ton of lose threads.
If you like your sci-fi and fantasy mixed, you need to read this book.