ARC Review: Ocean’s Echo or fear not, you are in for a treat with this one, too!

Hello everyone! I hope you all are happy and safe, and that some good book keeps you company! At the moment I am in need of sleep, but for the rest, I can’t really complain. I am doing some really fascinating reading, and it seems like Fall has finally arrived since we had a bout of hot weather and it was a lot more like April than October or November, but now things seem to get back to normal so… yay! And today I am here with a review for a book I have just finished, so let’s start!

Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Ocean’s Echo
Author: Everina Maxwell
Pages: 464
Publication Date: November 1st, 2022

Ocean’s Echo is a stand-alone space adventure about a bond that will change the fate of worlds, set in the same universe as Everina Maxwell’s hit debut, Winter’s Orbit.
Rich socialite, inveterate flirt, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.
Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, principled leader, and the son of a notorious traitor general. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.
Surit accepted a suspicious promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal’s escape.
Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space—to the very neuromodifcation lab that Surit’s traitor mother destroyed twenty years ago. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful, one that upends a decades-old power struggle, and begins a war.
Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they’ve been faking.
Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?

This is a stand-alone set in the same universe as Winter’s Orbit, and you can definitely read this one without reading the previous book, you won’t miss a thing and you would have a hell of a time out of your reading but, that said, the first one is a tad heavier on the world-building side so if you read them in order you would have a clearer idea of how things work in a general sense, especially because of the gender representation in these books. The author did a great job with it, and I appreciated it a lot, but in the first book is a bit more relevant or a bit more present than in the second one, and I think you would miss out on a special thing. But again, you don’t need to read both or follow the publication order. I just think that it would be better for nuances, but it is not a thing that you need to do.

I was a bit scared when I started this one because I feared it was in some ways a copy of the first book, with the same dynamics and characters that were just a copy of the previous ones, and okay, on one hand, it would not have been the worst possible scenario, but on the other, I enjoyed a lot of things in Winter’s Orbit, but one of the things I appreciated the most was the sense of originality and of freshness of the whole, and so I feared. But I am really glad to say that I had a blast out of it, and that I should not have feared!

Sure, some similarities are there, but we have a whole new story, full of twists, actions, a small bit of mystery to spice things up, and a whole new set of characters that are their own persona, and that are so full of life that they feel extremely real. And we have a lot of different situations, and happenings, and feelings and… oh, my! we have so much going on in there. And we have also a coup.
Tennal and Surit are amazing MCs, they are quite different (okay, okay, they are the opposite!) but they are an amazing team, once the ball starts rolling. Tennal is the one with a devil-may-care attitude, the adorable rascal with the super-power to commander the attention of a full room, but also to effortlessly annoy everyone in the room… so yeah, maybe take out the “adorable” part, but hey, he can be charming! He is chaos. In more than one sense, but even if he is self-centered his heart is in the right place (or he would be dead, one can presume, but still…), he has a wicked sense of humor and he has some wicked sense of justice, too. He is also entitled, and he can talk his way out of almost anything (but all his wit and charm do not work on auntie dearest, and so he finds himself conscripted… not one of his best moments, truth be told!).
You get the picture, right? Well, now you can just take the opposite and you would have Surit right there for you! He is serious, but make no mistake, he has some sense of humor too, he just tends to hide it better (but not really when he is with Tennal, but to be just or you use some sense of humor or you would strangle Tennal 10 minutes after meeting him so… it is a coping mechanism!). He is loyal to a fault, he is quiet, he has one of the strongest moral compasses ever, and he knows all regulations and things (sometimes he is quite creepy about it!) (okay, okay, not really creepy… but his memory and his attention to even the smallest details is truly something, trust me!). And together they are unstoppable!

One of the things I appreciated the most in there is that we get to see Tennal as Surit sees him, and Surit as Tennal sees him. And this is not really the same thing as seeing Tennal’s point of view on Surit and the other way around, it is that we really can see the how and what one of the two really sees in the other. It can seem like a subtle distinction, and to really understand what I am trying to say here you should probably read the book, but it was something special, and it was a thing that made an impression!
And to give you a bit of context, or something akin to it, I should say a bit about the plot: in this world, or system since we have different planets and space stations and whatever involved, people can be divided into three kinds of persons: the normal ones, the architects and the readers. The last two are neuro-modified people (some of them are so because of some experiments, and some of them, the younger ones, are the children of people that were neuro-modified in the past). The Architects can write people, meaning they can impose their will on other people, they can command others to do their bidding, and they can lay strong compulsions. The Readers can read what other people feel or think, up to a point. And you can also sync an architect with a reader, but this is quite a bad thing, sort of, because it is done mostly to keep readers under control. It is usually applied to readers who went rogues, that are criminals, and it is a thing done by the army, mostly because we are talking about criminals, and because the readers can also feel the chaotic space and so they can navigate the ships into dangerous places. And when two people are synced they are deeply connected, and this can give some unique takes on the people linked.

I really enjoyed the plot, and I loved the characters, even more so because Surit and Tennal are amazing, but they are surrounded by some other interesting people, like Istara and Bastavi, which are a sort of found family for the two MCs, and Zin. They all are complex characters, and I really enjoyed spending time with them. But here we are at one of my two complaints with this book: I wanted more of the secondary characters! Mind me, I loved them, and the book is not really a short one as it is, and we have so much happening, and they are portrayed in satisfying ways, I am not saying that they are plain or that they are not complex or layered people, but I would have loved to spend more time with them! And since I am talking about the complaints, let’s go with the other one: I enjoyed what we see of the world in here, and the author give us a lot of interesting things but… again, I wished for a bit more.

But my complaints are minor things. I had a great time with this book, and I devoured it. It made me laugh, it made me annoyed, it made me mad, it made me happy, sad, and everything in between. And it never bored me!

If you are searching for a sweet story (not really heavy on the romance here!) full of actions, fights and twists, well… what are you waiting for???

Happy reading!
S.

6 thoughts on “ARC Review: Ocean’s Echo or fear not, you are in for a treat with this one, too!

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