Friday, 2 August 2013

Book Review: Linked by Imogen Howson

The Bourne Identity meets Inception in this futuristic YA thriller.

For years, Elissa has suffered nightmarish visions and unexplained bruises. Finally, she's promised a cure, and an operation is scheduled. But on the eve of the procedure, Elissa discovers the truth: she's seeing the world through another girl's eyes. A world filled with wires, machines and pain. Elissa follows her visions, only to find a battered, broken girl. A girl who looks exactly like her. A twin she never knew existed. Elissa and her twin Lin go on the run, but even after changing their looks and clothes, they're barely a step ahead of the government agents who are ruthlessly tracking them down. For Lin and Elissa are too valuable to let go, and the dark truth at the heart of it all is too shocking to risk exposing.

I thought I knew what Linked was about before I started. I had ideas about Bourne and political thrillers, I thought the two main characters would be slumming it and trying to bring down a corrupt and mean government. I have seen it before and it is a format I do like so I was looking forward to reading Linked. The moral of the story is not to assume you know what is going on before you do because this book took me somewhere I was not expecting to go. It took me to space…literally.

WOW, I was not expecting that and I read the rest of the book with a general air of WTF! I have to admit that I had issues with this one, issues that I will get to in a moment but overall I was pretty impressed with it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if a book has inconsistences or problems, not to me anyway. All I want from a book is to be entertained and to be dragged head first into another world. A book does not have to be perfect but it has to engage me, and that is exactly what Linked did.

So, let’s start with the stuff I liked. I thought the idea was really ambitions and I thought it worked really well. Surprising your reader is often a good thing but if the author doesn’t completely get behind her brave and bizarre plot twists then it doesn’t work, that was not the

case here Howson owned her (at times) slightly unbelievable storyline and because she did it worked. Another thing that really made this book work was the developing relationship between Elissa and her twin Lin. It really goes the distance starting with disbelief and distrust and tending in respect and true sisterly love. There is a romance here and it was rather brilliantly underplayed which allowed the sister's relationship to really shine through but still provided me with a smidge of romance which I am a sucker for.

The pacing was great; it didn’t hang around and linger on unneeded detail or drama. It did what it needed to do and then moved on without feeling sparse or rushed. The main bulk of the book takes place in space which was a really good move because that was where the book got really interesting.

Despite all the things I loved about this there were things I disliked just as much. I have an issue with books that are written in third person and rely on pages after pages of italic ‘thoughts’ of the main character. If we needed to know what she was thinking all the time then maybe she should have told the story from her point of view. I just found the italics really distracting and felt they always seemed to happen at the wrong time. I had to be shoved out of a book and that is what happened here. What didn’t help was that the italic ‘thoughts’ showed how horrible, selfish and mean spirited the main character, Elissa, could be. Most of the time I liked her but these little journey’s into her mind showed her not to be the sweet and selfless person to seemed to be. Frankly, she can be horrible and some of her selfish and thoughts about her sister were disgusting, especially considering all Lin (whom I much preferred even though she was a bit primal) had been through. It showed that Elissa was immature and bitchy and it made me dislike her. 

Although it is far from perfect Linked is a super fun Science fiction which was a lot better than it had any right to be.

4 stars

Published August 1st 2013 by Quercus in the UK & June 11th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.  Free copy provided for review.  Images courtesy of Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips


  1. Hmmm... I can see why the thought narrative may put you off, but this one does sound really interesting so I think I may still give it ago. plus - pacing is like one of my key factors in rating a book.
    Great review!!

    Jade @ Ink Scratchers

  2. Great review! I've never been too keen with third person books and Elissa doesn't sound that appealing to me but the plot sounds pretty interesting so I think I'll pick this one up! I'm glad you enjoyed the book despite your few problems with it. :)

  3. The book cover is lovely! I only like to read from 1st or 2nd person, so this book doesn't particularly appeal to me, but that aside, it sounds interesting :) Would love if you could take a look at my blog, I'm new to all of this and also do book reviews :) Lovely post by the way!


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