Published by Putnam Juvenile on June 7, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Romantic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing, brief mentions of sex, brief sex scenes
Reviewed by: Kate
A thrilling science fiction adventure perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Sarah Maas
Ravaged by a plague known as Red Death, the planet Gabriel, a former colony of Earth, is a barren wasteland. Since being abandoned by Earth 500 years ago, resources are scarce and life is cheap. To stay alive, the survivors, the Citizens, scavenge the remains of a now dead city, trading for food with the resource-rich Curadores, the only other survivors on Gabriel. Every old computer, every piece of wire, every scrap of metal counts. To steal is the ultimate sin. So when tough-as-nails seventeen-year-old Leica is caught doing just that, she's exiled and left to the mercy of Gabriel's unforgiving desert for the rest of her life.
While in exile, Leica discovers a mysterious shuttle, which may not only lead her home, but even more impossible—reestablish contact with Earth. Then Red Death rears its head again, killing her entire work crew, leaving Leica all alone until a handsome Curador offers her refuge in the Dome—the only place on Gabriel untouched by Red Death, where a decadent and sultry life awaits. But there's a catch: Leica can only enter the Dome as his concubine—his Kisaeng. When a rogue group of Citizens see their chance for revolution in Leica's good fortune, she finds herself unraveling a deadly mystery with chilling answers to the true origin of Red Death and the reason Earth really abandoned them so long ago.
A richly imagined fantasy in the vein of Tamora Pierce, Lotus and Thorn, is a magnificent, epic adventure.
LOTUS AND THORN is one of those rare stand-alone young adult books in a sea of trilogies and series, and it is so full of awesome and crazy that it left me almost speechless at the end. (Almost, because obviously I have to write this review.) LOTUS AND THORN has fascinating world-building, a wide variety of well-developed characters and did I mention the awesome and crazy?
Leica (yes, she's named for the camera), our heroine, is a girl you genuinely want to root for. Kicked out of her community in the prologue, she's a survivor, willing to do what it takes to stay alive. She's badass, and almost the too perfect to be true type of heroine, except that she's got flaws and she isn't all-knowing or smarter than everyone. She's emotional and the reader feels those emotions, and that is one of the strengths of the character building. Plus, not only is there Leica, but we're also introduced to Edison, the handsome Curadore, Marisol, another Kisaeng (basically a Curadore's concubine) and various other characters. I truly felt that there were no caricatures in LOTUS AND THORN, that all the characters had at least a little depth to them, even if they weren't part of the story very much.
LOTUS AND THORN is both action-filled and slow at times. Leica's introduction to the Dome and being a Kisaeng was a bit slow, but there were other parts that were full of fight scenes or just tense moments. This book had me on the edge of my seat multiple times, and it was one I really wanted to keep reading to find out the ending. The intricacies of the plot were awesome, with bits at the end that tied up bits from the beginning, and it all felt very satisfying when I finished.
Overall, I would recommend LOTUS AND THORN for somebody looking for an interesting world, well-developed characters, and really great plot twists and turns. It's a fun read, faster than its length suggests, and definitely enjoyable on multiple levels.Series Titles: