False Hearts by Laura Lam ~Goodreads~
Published by Pan Macmillan 2016
Hardback edition 384 pages ~Book Depository~
Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending me this book via Netgalley for an honest review.
Orphan Black meets Inception: Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult.
Raised in the closed cult of Mana’s Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. From then on they pursue lives beyond anything they could have previously imagined.
Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins’ home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder—the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Tila is suspected of involvement with the Ratel, a powerful crime syndicate that deals in the flow of Zeal, a drug that allows violent minds to enact their darkest desires in a terrifying dreamscape. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin’s life. But during her investigation Taema discovers disturbing links between the twins’ past and their present. Once unable to keep anything from each other, the sisters now discover the true cost of secrets.
I was really excited to be given this book on Netgalley to read for an honest review, and I feel a little embarrassed and disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. With all the hype and amazing reviews for False Hearts I feel that perhaps I have missed something.
False Hearts is the story of conjoined twins Taema and Tila, who now live in the future San Francisco and have been physically separated after being together for sixteen years. After a decade apart they have developed their own personalities and have become polar opposites of each other- Tila is loud, socially adept one, and Taema is the quieter studious one.
Tila turns up at Taema’s place covered in blood and is arrested on suspicion of murder, and Taema realises her sister might not have been telling the truth about her job of being an escort at the nightclub, Zenith. In order to help her sister, Taema is persuaded to take her sisters identity and go undercover for the SFPD. The police are convinced that the club has connections with the local crime syndicate- the Ratel and Tila is caught up in something important.
It’s tempting to say that this book gives a kind of “crime, murder, drugs, and sex” appeal to it when really its much more.
What drew me in initially to this book was the characterisation of the twins, and the author really brought out the emotional connections between the twins and how this still connects them if not physically anymore.
We’re given the perspective of Taema going undercover as her sister, while Tila gives us the backstory as to what happened to lead to where we are currently with Taema. For me Taema was definitely the brave and honourable sister, taking on the criminal underworld involving taking drugs and travelling into mindscapes. She sacrifices a lot to help her sister, and I really didn’t like Tila at all throughout the story even though their twin story as a whole was captivating and a reason for me to carry on reading to find out their backstory.
False Hearts wasn’t initially what I had expected, and at times I did feel it dragged on a bit and some of the terminology was a bit hard to get my head around but that’s not to say it wasn’t a different and therefore for me an interesting read. I loved the sci-fi/thriller elements to the book, and unlike some other readers I like that some bits were far-fetched because it shows imagination.The brain control was a little scary at times, and yet fascinating too.
I’m interested to see what happens in book two and hopefully I will find it to be more to my liking. I think in terms of my rating I was just taken back by how different the book turned out to what I initially expected it to be and not necessarily the fault of the author but my hyped up expectations.