Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Linked by Imogen Howson

Linked by Imogen Howson
Series: Linked #1
Published: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
368 pages (ARC)
Genre: Young adult science fiction
Acquired this book: From Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
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Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

Linked was one of those books that had an interesting premise and great potential, but unfortunately, for me, it failed to fulfill its potential.

It started out well. We were thrown right in, and as we got to know Elissa and her problems, my interest was piqued. I basically only glanced at the synopsis (I rarely read them), so I was curious to find out what was happening. Why was Lissa having these hallucinations? How did she end up with the bruises and marks all over her? Why hadn’t the doctors ever been able to help her? I wanted to know, and I thought the beginning had a lot of promise.

But then Lissa met Lin. Even that bit on its own was interesting - Lin’s existence explained so much about Lissa’s life. Everything fell into place when she met her twin and realized there wasn’t really anything wrong with her, she’d just been linking to her sister’s horrible, frightening life. What followed, however - basically the two of them on the run the entire rest of the story - got to be tedious.

The pacing was really slow. Stuff would be happening, and I’d feel this imminent sense of danger and then nothing would happen for a long time. It felt like a series of highs and lows, but with more lows. The action was well done, there just wasn’t enough of it. I hate saying this, but I was really bored most of the time. If Linked hadn’t been a review book, I would have DNF’d it before I got halfway through. I’m getting pickier about finishing books I’m not enjoying, but I really hoped Linked would get better and I’d end up loving it. It makes me sad that I was wrong.

With that being said, it wasn’t all bad. I liked Howson’s writing style. It flowed well and was easy to follow. I was able to picture all the places Lissa was talking about, which isn’t always easy with science fiction. The dialogue was mostly natural, and it was interesting to get Lissa’s first person thoughts once in awhile, since the book was told in the third person.

I had mixed feelings about Lissa and Lin’s relationship. I liked it for the most part and thought it was the most interesting aspect of the book, but it was all over the place. Lissa went from feeling sorry for Lin to telling her what she could and couldn’t do to being afraid of her, then back again. Lather, rinse, repeat, through the entire story. I was pleased to see some character growth on both girls’ parts, though. Being taken out of her safe little world opened up Lissa’s eyes, and with Lin, she didn’t always know the difference between right and wrong because of the way she’d been raised and the horrors she’d experienced, but she slowly learned with Lissa’s help. I also liked that the book touched on a very real subject - prejudice. I won’t go into that too much because it could get a bit spoiler-y, but I did appreciate that in a book with planets and space ships and flying cars and other out-of-this-world elements, that the author dealt with a subject that’s very human.

I think what made Elissa likeable was that she was pretty average (except for the whole debilitating headaches, strange hallucinations, and bruises thing). She went to school, she dealt with the girls who used to be her friends when she was popular, she handled the high expectations and restrictions from her mother, and she tolerated an older brother who was an obnoxious overachiever. She wasn’t extraordinary in any way except for, again, the hallucinations et al - she just wanted to be normal. While I don’t think she was all that memorable as a character, she was at least easy to understand and mostly enjoyable to read about.

Another element I enjoyed was the world building. Lissa lived on a planet that was really technologically advanced, and it was interesting to picture it all. She mentioned how the planet got its start and talked about the other planets, but I’d kind of like to know what happened to Earth and how and why the other planets were discovered. I accepted that it wasn’t part of the story, and it didn’t affect my overall feelings toward the book, but it would have been nice to have had it explained a bit more.

My final issue with the book was the romance. I didn’t really understand why Lissa and Cadan even liked each other, so it seemed a bit off to me. For the most part, they didn’t get along (I understood the why there), and Cadan was often rude and cold to her, so I just found it odd and kind of hard to believe when all of a sudden they expressed their feelings for each other. I’m a romance junkie and I love romantic elements in stories regardless of the genre but with a book like Linked, it felt out of place and forced.

Overall, this book wasn’t for me. It was too slow, the characters were a bit dull, and the action, while well done, was too sporadic. I’m not sure if I’ll read the next book in the series, but if Howson goes on to write something else in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to try it. I enjoyed her writing and can see that it has potential, it’s just a shame that potential wasn’t reached in Linked. However, I seem to be in the minority on my feelings towards this book, so by all means, if you’re curious and think it might be something you’d enjoy, I encourage you to give it a try!


Have you read Linked? What did you think? Do you like science fiction?


  1. I've seen this book around a lot, but never really paid attention to what it was actually about until now. It actually sounds like a book for me, but the fact that it's on the slow side worries me. I prefer something a little faster when it comes to books like this or I'll lose interest fast. Great review, Marie!

  2. What a bummer! I hate when you get excited about a book then it isn't as good as you'd hoped. Linked looks like an interesting book, and if I see it around I may still pick it up, but my expectations might be a bit lower. Great review, though.

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  3. This one has such an interesting premise, but I can understand how having pacing issues can really affect how you receive a book. Sorry to hear this one didn't live up the excitement of the synopsis!

  4. Hmmm... sounds like one that would really irritate me! Hahaha! At least you were able to find some things you liked about it, like the writing style. :)

  5. Well, boo. I LOVE SF/F and TBH I had forgotten what this one was about. It sounds SO GOOD, so to see it was such a let-down for you is kinda sucky. I might still read it at some point since you gave it 3 stars, because with you saying the world-building was good, and it deals with stuff, there might be some hope. Great review, girl!


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