Nova (Spectre War Book 1) by Margaret Fortune
The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.
My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.
And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.”
Lia Johansen was created for only one purpose: to slip onto the strategically placed New Sol Space Station and explode.
But her mission goes to hell when her clock malfunctions, freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets Michael Sorenson, the real Lia’s childhood best friend.
Drawn to Michael and his family against her better judgment, Lia starts learning what it means to live and love, and to be human. It is only when her countdown clock begins sporadically losing time that she realizes even duds can still blow up.
If she wants any chance at a future, she must find a way to unlock the secrets of her past and stop her clock. But as Lia digs into her origins, she begins to suspect there’s far more to her mission and to this war, than meets the eye. With the fate of not just a space station but an entire empire hanging in the balance, Lia races to find the truth before her time—literally—runs out.
This made my list of top ten sci-fi and fantasy books. It has the drive and tone of YA novel, but all the critical detail-work of George R. R. Martin and a twist to rival M. Night Shyamalan.
One of the strongest points of the book is Lia’s character development. She starts off so cold, having no memories and no purpose but to blow up and kill everyone around her. She even meets Michael, one of the sweetest guys on the station and eventual love interest, before the bomb in her head turns out to be a dud, and she just doesn’t care. She starts out very unlikeable.
But then the bomb fails and she goes through a week of oh shit, now what? That’s when she starts to become a person, getting to know Michael (and the standard romantic subplot that goes with him), his family, the other POWs (who aren’t bombs) that are with her, and a bunch of other characters. She faces the desire to want to be Lia and have her life warring with the guilt of deceiving everyone around her.
At the same time, it has a bit of a Bourne Identity storyline. There's a war going on: humans have expanded throughout the universe and have divided into two massive empires that are now fighting over a new planet ripe for colonization. Lia was sent by one side to strike a blow to the other, but she has no idea why. Why is this station so important? Why hasn’t anyone tried to contact her when the mission fails?
Lia eventually figures everything out, though by the time she does, it’s almost too late. She’s smart and capable, but she’s not a genius, she’s not Wonder Woman, she’s a sixteen-year-old kid in way over her head.
If anyone is into mystery and/or sci-fi, I highly recommend this book. It’s one of the best you’re going to read.
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!