By Casey Wilson
Reese is in an airport when news of the first – and the second, and the third – airplane crash hits the news. Instead of waiting for flights to start again to get home, she, her debate partner David, and their coach opt to rent a car and make the drive themselves. They quickly realize that the plane crashes have inspired panic across the country, and the drive is full of strange, upsetting and dangerous events that have the potential to change all of their lives.
That’s where Malinda Lo’s Adaptation begins, but the story goes far beyond that ill-fated road trip. The book is full of conspiracy theories, cover ups, men in suits, and strange dreams and stranger technology, all of which work together to create an atmosphere of tension from beginning to end. I’m being intentionally vague here, because there are secrets and plot twists scattered throughout the book that I have no wish to give away, but suffice it to say that both Reese and the reader have questions right up until the end.
If you only know Lo from her debut novel Ash – a beautiful retelling of Cinderella that has, as her About the Author states, “a lesbian twist” – and its companion novel Huntress, this sci-fi novel might seem a little bit out of left field. But despite the genre shift, Lo’s best features remain on display. In particular, the romance(s) play out with passion and fear and excitement and doubt, and the love triangle being set up – Reese develops relationships to varying degrees with David and with a girl named Amber – looks like it could be nicely complicated in the sequel.
And it is the sequel that I’m most looking forward to. I greatly enjoyed Adaptation on its own merits, reading it in essentially one sitting, but I think the sequel has a chance to be explosive now that all the pieces are in place. Reese spends much of her time in Adaptation reacting (in very smart and interesting ways, mind), but I suspect she’ll be able to be more proactive as the story develops.
Adaptation officially releases on September 18; Amazon has begun shipping orders early, hence the early review.
Casey is a PhD student.