Ocean's Echo is a stand-alone space adventure about a bond that will change the fate of worlds, set in the same universe as Everina Maxwell's hit debut, Winter's Orbit.
Rich socialite, inveterate flirt, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.
Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, principled leader, and the son of a notorious traitor general. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.
Surit accepted a suspicious promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal's escape.
Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space—to the very neuromodifcation lab that Surit's traitor mother destroyed twenty years ago. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful, one that upends a decades-old power struggle, and begins a war.
Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they've been faking.
Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?
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Helming this brilliant and decisively modern space opera from Maxwell (Winter's Orbit) is charming rogue Tennalhin "Tennal" Halkana, who can read minds and makes that everyone else's problem—until his powerful aunt forces him into the military as punishment for using his powers illegally. The military uses Readers to navigate "chaotic space," and it has a solution for Readers who rebel: a "sync," or permanent mental bond with an Architect, people with the power to control others' minds. Faultlessly dutiful Surit Yeni, the son of a legendary traitor, is handpicked to sync with Tennal and with him take a salvage crew into chaotic space, searching for an abandoned station. But when Surit learns that Tennal is an unwilling civilian, he instead agrees to help Tennal escape—just as soon as they get through the mission. To do so, they must pretend the sync was successful. This is hard enough—but then it turns out that the wreck they're salvaging is where Surit's mother blew herself up, and what they discover inside reveals the true, awful source of Reader and Architect powers and plunges the sector into a bloody coup. With this outing, Maxwell incisively challenges military and alien artifact SF and digs into the uncomfortable core of these tropes. The queernorm world and heart-tugging slow-burn romance between the leads only enhances the experience. This earns a space on shelves alongside the very best of the genre.