Review: Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne

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August 29, 2016 by Zoë

Leica has lived all her life in Gabriel’s barren wasteland, making do as best she can. In Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne, the whole planet has been stricken by periodic plagues of Red Death. Society has broken off into small factions and Leica has found herself banished from the only place she could call home. Then she discovers a shuttle with a radio that seems to be picking up signals from Earth. This could be her chance to return to the planet that left all of them behind so many years ago.

The Good
Diversity! Leica comes from a society that seems to be descended from Mexicans and it’s very cool how seamlessly that culture is woven in to the rest of the story. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I don’t want books that have diversity just to have diversity; I want books that have diversity and it’s just an afterthought because there’s so much else going on.

And there is a lot going on in this book. The world building was really interesting (but I’ve always had a soft spot for devastating plagues) and I liked seeing a society many, many years after a cataclysmic event. The divisions in that society were a bit stark and maybe even clichéd, but I overall liked the book and what was going on.

The Bad
I had a lot of trouble with the romance. The older I’ve gotten, the harder it is to please me in the romance department, but in this book it was just creepy. Luckily it turned out that it was meant to be creepy, but even then Leica’s emotions didn’t really seem to ring true all of the time. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the secondary romance that went on. Like I said: I’m hard to please.

I also found the ending a little bit rushed or hard to understand or something. After the carefully laid plans blew up in everyone’s faces and everything looked really dire there was a pretty satisfying confrontation and then suddenly all the issues seemed to have resolved themselves. Sure, there was devastation, but not as much as it seemed earlier? I don’t know. I was a little confused on that point.

The Verdict
This is solid sci-fi with a strong female character and lots of diversity. Sure, there were bits of the plot that rubbed me the wrong way, but I definitely recommend checking this one out if you like sci-fi, because you might really enjoy it.

“I have to go back…I have to find it…” Before it went dark, I managed to push the last word out of my raw throat. “Earth.”

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