Author: Jayne Lockwood
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 310 Pages
Category: Science Fiction
At a Glance: I was really pleased with Euphoria and the intricate and detailed storytelling, making the story flow well and even came off as conceivable. If you are in the mood for a sci-fi romance with a focus on the science fiction aspect, I would definitely recommend giving this one a shot.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.
With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty, captivating elegance, and a wicked sense of humor inconveniently shows up at his apartment.
Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.
The arrival of cheery interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.
But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?
Review: Euphoria has so many different components that were then expertly woven together to deliver a fascinating and, in some ways, a terrifying story. First, we have a not-too-far-off future which is the catalyst for an apocalyptic event that basically wipes humans and animals from the world in the span of one-hundred years. Next, we have alien species that finds earth in 2125, along with what is left of the humans, and they become fascinated and eventually want to save humans from their destined future. In order to change the course humans are on, the reader is pulled into a story of time travel, romance, friendships, redemption, greed and some other unforeseen plot twists which kept my attention.
The whole idea of the end of the world here, as well as the consequences of the inter-species relationship, is terrifying in that it is written in a way where it totally makes sense that something like this could happen. Dr. Lomax spent the last twenty years of his career developing a drug he believes will counteract MRSA and its growing threat. Unfortunately, his vaccination mutates and instead, Kurt inadvertently creates a superbug that with each passing generation becomes more and more powerful, eventually eradicating humans and animals in the span of just a few generations. The reason behind how the drug is created and how the mutation was missed is completely plausible when taking into consideration the corporate greed and other relevant factors not considered. Vardam being an alien species from the future creates a whole different set of obstacles which Dr. Lomax and his crew have to overcome, and it is not an easy process. Once again I found that the reasons and the scientific explanation behind it created a more realistic reading experience than some of the other sci-fi, interspecies romances I have encountered.
There is a diverse cast that rounds out this story, and all were strong and fleshed out. Their personalities were consistent to what I would expect from people who’ve been through what they have, or who have the type of job that they do. They each have a different bond with one another, but all of them have an integral part to play as the chaos unfolds. And boy, did it unfold. The first half of the book wasn’t very action packed, more forming the different personalities, establishing the different friendships, creating the setting—not slow but measured in its pacing. Once Vardam drops the metaphorical bomb that they are responsible for the destruction of mankind, things rapidly pick up and get out of control. Kidnapping, explosions, government manhunt, and corporate espionage only skim the surface, and it was a wild ride. I didn’t expect the story to veer off and the focus to change in the way it did, but I am not unhappy with the modified direction; it was done in a way that made it scientifically plausible, and everyone’s actions and reactions were valid and expected.
While there is romance for several of the characters, and even an interspecies romance that develops, it is secondary and there as an integral part of the overall story. There were sweet moments, romantic moments, and even a few intimate moments, but they were vital to the plot development and understanding of the humans and alien involved—one thread of many. Those relationships are essential, as the consequences of some of those relationships add to many of the twists and turns the story takes.
While Euphoria is a technical book, it was not written in a way where I felt lost. It was not overly saturated with words or dialogue that were incomprehensible to someone whose brain struggles to process scientific terminology (like mine). One of the reasons for this is Tom. He is a pretty normal person who is brought in to communicate with Vardam. He is not a scientist but rather, a really wonderful guy who has had a rough go of it and managed to get pulled into a fascinating situation because of his ability to communicate using sign language. He is emotionally driven and sees the volunteers in the bunker as human beings rather than a means to obtain results and data. He forms friendships with the volunteers and doctors alike. His amiable personality and the fact he is a plain old, all around good guy helps to bridge the gap for Vardam and the scientists they have come to warn of the future they hold in their hands. Where Dr. Kurt Lomax, Dr. Nic, and Dr. Troy are about science and trying to find cures at the expense of emotion, Tom reminds them they are dealing with living, breathing humans, not just experiments. He reminds them Vardam is more than just an extraterrestrial and advises them on ways for both the scientists and Vardam to communicate. He defuses situations when they escalate. His presence balances out the some of the more scientific portions of the plot, harmonizing it with emotion and an outside perspective.
I was really pleased with Euphoria and the intricate and detailed storytelling, making the story flow well and even came off as conceivable. If you are in the mood for a sci-fi romance with a focus on the science fiction aspect, I would definitely recommend giving this one a shot.
You can buy Euphoria here:
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