Three young people in a post-Earth world work together to uncover a mystery.
Anna is a gifted mechanic bucking the laws against technology. Nathaniel, son of the abusive and powerful Commissioner, just wants to make his father happy. And Eliza, who has dedicated her life to serving as the Queen’s spy, is loyally preparing for a strategic marriage. Set in a distant future where humans have fled to space and are searching for a safe terrestrial home after destroying Earth, these three have to navigate their differing agendas, burgeoning identities, and a strange illness that attacks the hearts of anyone born on Earth Adjacent. The easily followed plot twists and turns between them, and debut author Thor departs from clichés in the genre in interesting and modern ways; Nathaniel explores an asexual and aromantic orientation while Eliza and Anna develop a steamy connection. The main characters are cued as white, but racial identity categories don’t seem to have survived the apocalypse, nor did anything resembling a community for LGBTQ people. The prose becomes a bit labored and graceless at times, with an occasionally dragging plot, but the worldbuilding and sympathetic characters will keep readers invested in this strange but plausible future.
A blend of space opera, queer romance, and high-stakes dystopia, this story will appeal to a broad audience. (Science fiction. 14-18)