Harvard Square. Dec. 2020. 276p. ISBN 9781941861547. pap. $11.95. SF
As overpopulation grows, natural resources are depleted, species go extinct, and the polar ice caps continue to melt. People now check into euthanasia hotels to escape a hopeless future. Soon a new pandemic emerges from the previously frozen tundra that turns humans into plants and, oddly, only affects the one percent. Dr. Olivia Murchadha believes it’s because these wealthy people do not feel love. Awarded a large grant to devise a cure from loveoids—a chemical supposedly found in the brains of people in love—Olivia sets out to do her work in an unnamed North African country. But after an attack at the hotel where she is staying, she’s kidnapped by a young resident of the country named Khalid who takes her to his organic farm far away from the city. Olivia continues her research, as she both falls in love with Khalid yet plots her escape from him.
VERDICT While the story’s premise is interesting, the disjointed writing and plotting distracts from the work as a whole. More troubling is the author’s use of racist stereotypes, the emotionally abusive relationship of Khalid and Olivia, and the derogatory language toward overweight characters. Not recommended.
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