Where did you get the book: Review copies from publisher
Release date: Out 1st April
Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters — the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.
Some of us intend to do more than survive.
* * *
Asha and Pax — strangers and enemies — find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.
Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource — information — viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.
Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.
Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.
With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.
*blurb taken from Goodreads*
Thoughts on heroine
Lou: Without giving away spoilers, Asha left me split because she acted one way in the first half and totally different in the second half. This is not a bad thing. It just took me longer to readjust to her change in goals. Asha was strong-minded but also softly spoken. I loved how she never gave up when she was first taken prisoner by Pax, but she was also sensible regarding her situation. She didn’t become TSTL. She made decisions in tough circumstances and did what was best for her. In the second half, I loved how ruthless she became in getting what she wanted. She didn’t want to betray Pax but he was her enemy and well, I can’t say more because it was an awesome twist the author created and I don’t want to spoil it for others. Asha starts off vulnerable but by the end of the book she holds her own.
E: Asha was a very complex character. Like Lou I found myself fascinated by her thoughts and actions. I enjoyed the first half but found myself concerned that she was going to turn down a particular path which would have made it very difficult for me to believe in the romance aspect, but Fisher’s twist added an entire new dimension. I enjoyed how throughout the entire story Asha demonstrated an ability to think, adapt, work towards her goals but also deal with an ever changing world. I ended up loving how her character developed with each event, choice, and discovery.
Has: I think it was understandable for Asha to have torn loyalties; she had been lied to and even manipulated throughout her life. I thought her actions were believable and realistic in the way she coped and dealt with the events in the book, although I had the same fear about the direction she was taking, especially in the second half. But I agree with you both about her character development. I loved how Asha reacted with her quest to find her father, and that she learned and evolved over the course of the events which made her realise that things were not black and white with the different factions, especially with humans and Mantis colonies. The romance also reflected her character arc and that also helped to solidify her character for me. I liked that she was feeling wary over her feelings for him but was drawn to Pax who was protective of her, even though she mistrusted him.
Thoughts on hero
Lou: Ahhh Pax. How I did grow to love you. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of his biology. Pax is half manti and human. Because of whatever they did in his genes, the manti have trouble controlling themselves around women when it comes to a certain time in their cycle. Pax fights this all the time and he makes sure that he doesn’t become his father in that regards. Pax is the enemy to Asha but these two don’t share any hate. Pax is quite liberal and he doesn’t believe in his father’s decisions of how the human colonies are run and how they shouldn’t be the enemies to the rebellion. Pax and Asha’s romance is a slow burn that’s thick with tension. The attraction between the two of them never goes away, and the two can never really go through with their individual plans because of their feelings. There’s no insta love though Pax senses what Asha is to him from the start.
E: Pax was such a rebel! I loved how he was willing to take the time to get to know Asha and not immediately assume she was out to destroy him. At the same time he knew he had an obligation to protect his people as much as possible. I loved watching him wrestle with his biology, his sense of loyalty and protectiveness to his people, and his fear that the two opposing Manti leaders were going to end his race. Pax’s ability to think beyond his biological imperative and what he had been told growing up was a definite asset to my enjoyment of the story. His flexibility and desire to generate change without disintegrating into open warfare certainly added to the complexity of Fisher’s world. And his delicacy mixed with intenseness when it came to Asha was *fans self* most lovely.
Has: I adored Pax! I never thought I would find another character who could compete with Vel from the Grimspace series with insect qualities and abilities which would be engaging or attractive. But he ran a close second on that list, and I loved that despite he appeared human, the almost alien like elements of his biology really added to the world-building and atmosphere of the book. It also added a delicious layer in the romance, especially when the mating urges emerged in him in response to Asha. He never succumbed to them but gave her space and protected her from himself when it became overwhelming. It really showed that despite him being infused with mantis insect DNA, he still retained his humanity and this was a strong factor of the book’s main theme which I loved. Sharon Lynn Fisher’s imagination was just lush, eerie and even scary in her description of the bio-punk elements of the Mantis and other human and insect combination.
Lou: My favourite scenes were the beginning where Pax and Asha are found together where they’re on the Banshee ship. I just loved the imagery and I got so excited about the worldbuilding. My other favourite scene is the smexy time with Pax and Asha. That was smoking hot and it was worth the wait with how intense Pax behaved. It does include being tied up :D. Oh, and the killer wasp scene was creepy but very good.
E: I think my favorite scene is when Pax was explaining his biological imperatives to Asha. He was so careful as he tried to make sure she understood how it affected him, what she could be aware of, and the limits he placed on his behavior towards her. He also hinted about wanting emotion on both sides to go along with his biological imperative. To me this scene was so sweet and touching because he didn’t want Asha to feel threatened or scared off and he was hoping to get her to start considering how she actually felt about him. I also have to admit that I really enjoyed a scene when Pax administered a well deserved punishment to someone who hurt Asha.
Has: I enjoyed those scenes as well! The scenes between Pax and Asha and their development of their romance was the highlight of the book for me. And ditto about the smexy times! I loved their tension which broke magnificently between Pax and Asha when they finally succumbed. It was wonderful, very sexy and well worth waiting for! But the descriptions of the world and the intense battle scene with the wasp-men was memorable and very creepy and unsettling.
What did you dislike
Lou: Despite my enjoyment of this book, I did have some issues. I thought the middle of the book lagged quite a bit. The pace slowed down and I struggled a little; I lost my excitement and I was getting a little impatient about when the romance was going to come into action. Another issue I had was the ending. It was so quick. Asha and Pax finally get together and there’s not much time to enjoy it before the ending arrives with Pax and his father having a show-down. It felt as the maximum of the word count arrived and the book had to finish right there. There were so many things left in the air, like Carrick and Iris.
E: I didn’t really dislike anything with this story provided Fisher develops The Ophelia Prophecy into a series. Like Lou mentioned several things were hinted at or started but not tied up and the final sequence SCREAMS for more stories. I want to see what happens with Carrick and Iris. I also want to see what happens with a certain almost double agent and resolution with Asha’s parents.
Has: I totally felt the same way about the pacing, although I was more underwhelmed with the ending which I found to be anti-climactic. Although I agree with E about the ending. It felt like the beginning of a series because there were on-going plot threads left hanging, and I would really like to see more of this world and characters. I wished there was more expansion of that ending because several important things happened off screen. I was left wanting and I was disappointed because it felt abrupt and glossed over.
Misc thoughts and grade
Lou: I’m so grateful that Tor sent me this book for review because I don’t think I would have picked up this author otherwise. The worldbuilding was creepy, strange but beautiful. It does have an alien/otherworldly vibe that I’ve not come across before and I really hope the author writes more stories in this world because I feel there’s so much left to discover. I want more Pax and Asha and I love to see more of Carrick and Iris. The ending and pace was rocky and I felt it affected my enjoyment a little of the romance because it took so long to get there, and then the story ended abruptly.
I give The Ophelia Prophecy a B.
E: I think Lou needs to try Fisher’s other SFR, Ghost Planet. I really enjoyed this story. I felt the worldbuilding and backstory was extremely fascinating and I hope to find out more details if Fisher continues writing in this world. The impact of unregulated and even regulated genetic engineering and manipulation was deftly explored as was the power of controlling reproduction. I loved the tricky combination of politics, bargains, power, and withholding information and its impact on Asha, Pax, and how they altered the known world. I enjoyed the slow growing and then intense romance between Asha and Pax along with the hints of an attraction between Carrick and Iris.
Unlike Ghost Planet which appeared to be a fully contained novel, I thought The Ophelia Prophecy was set up as the first book in a series. I really hope this is the case but Fisher did a fabulous job of introducing all sorts of things I really want to know more about. I am looking forward to seeing what Fisher comes up with next.
I give The Ophelia Prophecy a B+
Has: I think Sharon Lynn Fisher has one of the best voices in Sci Fi romance. I really enjoyed and loved Ghost Planet (which I also highly recommend) but this book really cements her as an auto-buy author for me. Even though I was left a bit underwhelmed with the abruptness of the ending, this was an intriguing and compelling read, to what I hope is the first of a series. The Ophelia Prophecy was an imaginative world, filled with vivid and eerie characters. I loved the bio-punk elements which gave the story an other-worldly tone, but for me the romance was my favourite aspect of the book. I enjoyed the romantic tension of two different people who are seen to be enemies but overcome their differences and fall in love in a rich and vivid alien backdrop of a world changed by DNA manipulation. It was memorable and unique and I am hoping for more!
I give The Ophelia Prophecy a B.