Neptune’s Tears review

A totally original adventure set in a futuristic London… 

Neptune’s Tears (Timedance) by Susan Waggoner

September 2012, Piccadilly Press 

Book jacket blurb:

It’s 2218 and Zee McAdams is in her second year as a healing empath at a busy London hospital. When a mysterious young man becomes her patient, Zee’s hard-won calm is pierced. Her attraction is complicated by the fact that David Sutton is an alien, a group whose presence – and purpose – on Earth is deeply mistrusted. When London and other cities experience a wave of anarchist attacks, Zee and David are brought even closer together. The more time Zee spends with David, the more she likes him – and the more questions she has. Even as their relationship deepens, Zee knows that David is still hiding something from her.

Will Zee have the courage to follow her heart, no matter where it takes her? 

Review: 

This book is so different to anything I have read recently and I finished it in one sitting. It mixes elements of sci-fi, dystopia and paranormal, but I’d hesitate to give it any of those labels because the premise is so inventive.

Susan Waggoner’s London of 2218 is at once futuristic and yet reassuringly familiar. Medical science has extended human life-span considerably, Britain’s public transport problems have been resolved by the installation of a super-efficient vactrain (vacuum train) network and terrorists have invented horrifying shock-wave bombs, a silent, invisible weapon that destroys people’s internal organs. Oh, and humanoid aliens are visiting from the planet Omura. Yet (I was relieved to discover!) you can still buy Branston Pickle and Maltesers and browse second-hand bookshops. London is still a multi-cultural, buzzing city and residents escape for day trips to the seaside in Brighton. It was a joy to read something with familiar landmarks for a change. With her light touch Waggoner has created a believable futuristic setting, without getting bogged down in the sci-fi mechanics of it all. She has also steered clear of the trope of oppressive governments and uprisings we’ve seen so much of lately in YA dystopian fiction.

I found the central character Zee McAdams’s role as an empath particularly fascinating – she works in one of London’s hospitals, forming a mental bridge with patients and guiding them through pain management and healing. It is there that she meets David, a handsome and mysterious alien from Omura. Actually, he comes across as a bit geeky, with his obsession for learning about Earth’s culture, but in a cute way. Endearingly, Zee thinks she’s immune to falling in love – until it happens to her. Once ‘pierced’ by her attraction to David, she can never make it unhappen. But things aren’t going to be simple for our star-crossed lovers – Romeo and Juliet had it easy by comparison! Speaking of Romeo and Juliet, Zee and David do fall in love very suddenly, something I’ve always found irritatingly unrealistic in fiction (sorry Shakespeare!). However, because of they way ‘piercing’ is described (when empaths feel attraction for or fall in love with a patient, an involuntary and undesirable occurrence that impedes their work), in this case at least it seems more likely in the context.

Rapid romance aside, there are some unforgettable characters – I loved Zee’s friendship with her ageing patient Mrs Hart, and with her two girlfriends, feisty, independent Rana and sweet-natured Jasmine. And there is one corker of a twist right at the end that blows everything wide open. Be warned – you will want to read the sequel right away.

I also really like the author’s take on writing fiction, who says in her author bio on the Piccadilly Press website: ‘In my heart of hearts, I believe all stories happened somewhere and sometime. The writer’s job, like Zee’s, is to shut out daily distractions to describe that other reality.’

 

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3 Comments

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