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Ocean's Echo book cover

Title: Ocean’s Echo
Author: Everina Maxwell
Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Paring Type: M/M
Spice Rating (out of 5): ♥ – Fluff Only

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?

Content Warnings: Mind-control/sharing, coercion, and mental health struggles including self-neglect and prominent self-destructive thoughts. Drug and alcohol use. More details are listed on the author’s website.

Why I Recommend Ocean’s Echo

I’ve already recommended the book that was released before this, Winter’s Orbit. This new book is set in the same universe as the first, but focuses on different characters on different planets, and the plot is unrelated. Much of the worldbuilding is re-established, so you can pick this book up first if you chose. I do recommend reading Winter’s Orbit first, though, because I feel the introduction to certain items and politics is stronger in the first. When you read both books, there’s very much an “ohhh…nooo…” moment when you learn new—and unsettling—details that give certain aspects of the first book a bit more weight.

But anyway, this book! This! Book! I adored it, I want more. I want the author to write a third book in this universe because it’s just that interesting to read about. The spice factor is non-existent in this book, but the feeling of “Just kiss!!” is pretty strong. Tennal and Surit complement each other and work together so well. Both men have been hurt, both lock their true feelings away even from themselves, and both are incredibly powerful in their talents. They’re essentially a power couple but unfortunately this causes trouble.

This book introduces some really neat concepts behind mind control and mind reading. There’s no shortage of vivid imagery, either. If I enjoy reading a romance book’s scenes that aren’t focused on the couple, I consider it to be a good book. And I enjoyed it, whether the focus was on the romantic relationship or not. It is a bit of a slow burn too, so saying this means something.

I recommend reading both Winter’s Orbit and Ocean’s Echo. You’ll get a great sci-fi universe that’s intriguing and filled with power struggles, political drama, and two guys that find each other in the middle of it all.

You can purchase Ocean’s Echo in physical and Kindle format on Amazon.

Edited on 2/4/23: Fixed incorrect cover image and a title.