Tennal Halkana can't escape the truth of his existence no matter where he runs, who he sleeps with, or how many drugs he takes - he's a mind reader, the result of illegal neuromodification experiments. Out of options, he's conscripted into the military, forced to sync with Surit Yeni, an architect capable of controlling a mind as wild and chaotic as Tennal's. Yet Surit won't sync an unwilling reader, so they fake the sync and plan Tennal's escape. What follows is a fight they never anticipated - for autonomy, for justice, and for each other. Maxwell deepens the worldbuilding established in Winter's Orbit with a focus on the mysterious alien remnants that seem to have endless horrifying possibilities. I don't know how it's possible in a story that engages in difficult topics such as coercion and mental health issues, but Ocean's Echo left me with a distinctly warm feeling. Can one feel hugged by a space opera? Asking for a friend.— Rachel Copeland
Set in the same universe as Winter's Orbit, but with an entirely standalone story and new cast of characters, Ocean's Echo is an adventure in space, minds, and galactic politics that truly stands out. As a fan of Maxwell's previous book, I love that Ocean's Echo is another character-forward space opera, with a story that illustrates very real mental health and relational issues and centers themes of building trust and selfhood. Surit is an architect who can "write" commands into the minds of others; Tennal is a powerful "reader" who can pick up on thoughts and intentions. When the military tries to force Surit to sync with Tennal, they realize that neither has signed up for this, but they must work together to protect their autonomy. The narrative is a split point-of-view between these two characters, and I loved their distinct voices and the dynamic they have together. You can trust Maxwell to carry you safely through to the end, even as the characters navigate a charged military-political landscape and dangerous, mind-bending bits of chaotic space. I found myself rooting for the characters, hooked even more by every twist, and all-around captivated by the story.— Oli Schmitz
Everina Maxwell, Virtual Event, Saturday, November 12, 11 am. Click here to register.— Boswell Book Company
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.
"I inhaled this one like I needed it to live." —New York Times Book Review
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?
About the Author
EVERINA MAXWELL is the author of Winter’s Orbit. She lives and works in Yorkshire, where she collects books and kills houseplants.
"This earns a space on shelves alongside the very best of the genre." —Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review
"Truly original.... Writing fantastically memorable characters, Maxwell masterfully draws out a rich and complicated story which explores military incursions, familial ties, and the impact of secrets revealed." —Booklist, starred review
"This stand-alone set in the same universe as Winter’s Orbit is an exciting, fast-paced sci-fi adventure with great worldbuilding and complex characters. Fans of Jessie Mihalik and J. S. Dewes will enjoy." —Library Journal, starred review
"Ocean’s Echo is a slow burn that eventually blazes into a supernova, a novel constrained in its location but massive in its ambition." —BookPage
“Compassionate, queer, slightly horrifying, and wildly inventive—Ocean’s Echo whisked me into a faraway world of spacefaring outcasts and rogues, teased me with the promise of not-quite-human romance, and vaulted me into a transcendent meditation on identity, truth, and meaning of existence itself. What a glorious read!” —Ryka Aoki, author of Light from Uncommon Stars
“Ocean's Echo digs its teeth into the psychic-soulbond trope and gives it a good, hard, gleeful shake--and what falls out is a fast-paced and gorgeously written tapestry of exciting space adventure, heart-clenching romance, and deft examination of the duties we owe to one another and what it means to be human in a vast universe. I was hoping that it would give me the same feelings of awe and delight that Winter's Orbit did, and instead it delivered them on an even higher level. This is space opera at its best.” —Freya Marske, author of A Marvellous Light
Praise for Winter’s Orbit
ALA's Alex Award Winner!
A Sunday Times Bestseller!
“High-pitched noises escaped me; I shouted, more than once, 'Now kiss!' ... in a world so relentlessly uncertain, there’s a powerfully simple pleasure in the experience of a promise kept.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[Winter's Orbit features] that compelling dynamic best summed up as 'the grumpy one' (Jainan) and 'the sunshine one' (Kiem)... This is fertile ground for the tropiest of misunderstandings, compounded by our heroes' own self-loathing baggage.... when these sensitive boys figure out what actually makes their match work, that's when sparks fly.” —NPR
“Delightful! Winter's Orbit is a chilling account of a dark past wrapped in the warm blanket of a promising future. It was such a pleasure to read.” —Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice
“The characters are charming, the plot pleasantly tangled, and Maxwell's sharp, confident writing makes her space opera hum with energy.” —Katherine Addison, author of The Goblin Emperor
“Maxwell's delightful debut will please science fiction and romance readers alike, telling a slow burn of a relationship fraught with high stakes and action.” —Library Journal, starred review
“I feel personally attacked by how good Winter’s Orbit was.” —Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
“As romantic as it is suspenseful....this book will be hard to put down.” —Popsugar
“A deftly woven tale of political intrigue, all with a galactic treaty on the line. Maxwell's Winter's Orbit is a stunning new space opera debut, striking with all the skill of a master staff wielder. I hope there is more Kiem and Jainan to come!” —K.B. Wagers, author of Out Past the Stars
"A dazzling and comforting story of galactic politics, healing and romance. Its characters stayed with me long after I raced through the last chapters." —Aliette de Bodard, Nebula Award-winning author of The Tea Master and the Detective
“A fun, sexy space adventure with protagonists that made me laugh out loud. I devoured it.” —S. A. Chakraborty, bestselling author of The City of Brass
“At the heart of Winter's Orbit is an argument about healing, honesty, and the nature of trust and power. Well-paced and deftly written, it's one of the most enjoyable space (or planetary) opera romances that I've had the pleasure to read, and I look forward to seeing more of Maxwell's work in the years to come.” —Locus
"Winter's Orbit manages the incredible feat of being the slow burn 'sad spaceboys in love' romance of your dreams, while also being a gripping political thriller. Maxwell has built a deeply-layered and fascinating universe filled with alien tech, complex imperial politics, and perilous intergalactic diplomacy. I stayed up all night reading, desperately rooting for Kiem and Jainan to finally hold hands and save the day." —Lina Rather, author of Sisters of the Vast Black
“A captivating love story with engaging characters, wrapped around a murder mystery with high-stakes multi-world politics. Winter’s Orbit reminds me in the best way of the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I can’t wait to see what Maxwell does next!” —Martha Wells, New York Times bestselling author of the Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning Murderbot Diaries
"Everina Maxwell's writing has everything you could ask: impossible choices, divided loyalties, dry wit, and operatic struggle with bureaucracy. I don't know how she's managed to write a book that's simultaneously an elegant comedy of manners, a charming slow-burn romance, and an adventure in space politics, but whatever her secret, I'm wildly envious." —A. K. Larkwood, author of The Unspoken Name
"Everina Maxwell is brilliant at creating atmosphere and drama. Her light touch and considering eye are applied thoughtfully, warmly, and yet without mercy to the failures of an interstellar bureaucracy and the people who both make those failures happen; to the difficulties of diplomatic ties between planets that rely on personal ties between human beings; to the ways people try to get what they want from each other, and the ways they fail to understand each other. The combination of sweeping space opera backdrop and real human drama is as compelling as it comes." —Emily Tesh, author of Silver in the Wood
“Maxwell's witty dialogue, tender characterizations and portrayal of diverse gender identities should quickly win her a devoted fanbase.” —Shelf Awareness
“Everina Maxwell’s debut novel, Winter’s Orbit, is anything but frigid. This queer science fiction romance astounds not only through its believable, multilayered character development, but also in the eons of intergalactic political and cultural history.” —Bookpage
“This exciting adventure is sure to win Maxwell many fans.” —Publishers Weekly
“Suggest this to fans of Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor (2014) or N. K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2010). Recommended for teens who enjoy exciting romantic adventures with some soft science fiction elements, especially those looking for LGBTQ representation.” —Booklist