Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sharon Lynn Fisher - Ghost Planet

Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world - a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she'd struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy - creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone - oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love - Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man she loves.

Comment: I've decided I wanted to read this book when I saw this review at Phyl's blog. I really liked what she said about it and added it to my lists. I bought it and this month I just had to read it. I have to say, it was as thrilling and imaginative as I expected!

This sci fi story presents a world where Earth went so much toxic that when a new planet was found out and mimicked almost to perfection the conditions necessary for human life, colonists arrived and started living and studying the planet's resources and functioning. One thing they didn't realize, the aliens inhabiting the planet. Even more confusing was how the aliens tethered themselves to a human colonist and they took the appearance of a loved one, a loved dead one. Although intriguing, it was also psychologically troublesome to deal with so there's this program, Ghost Protocol that forbids interaction between ghosts and humans. Apparently everything was smooth, until Elizabeth's arrival at the planet.

Elizabeth Cole is a psychologist who accepted an invitation to work in the planet and when she arrives she finds it so odd how the ghosts have to follow their hosts everywhere and even more how weak and depressed they all seem. Even more shocking is how Elizabeth herself learns she's died in the transportation to the planet and she is now a ghost too.

I really liked this story! I couldn't put it down and I was amazed by all the details that shaped the world the author imagined. There are many rules and particularities that turn this world into something both appealing and troublesome. It was very interesting to see how the ghost were linked to the plant itself and how they came to exist. I still think there are many things to know about the planet and even a short story with an epilogue would do, in case the author doesn't plan to write follow ups. But an epilogue would be fun, because I'm curious about what happens to many of the characters.

Of course the society interactions is the huge and most interesting point in this world. Ghosts and humans are forbidden to interact, but Elizabeth's death didn't stop her new ghost status to keep her thoughts, her emotions and memories. This is fascinating, because it isn't Elizabeth anymore, but everything that made her who she is was there...quite the dilemma and it was well explored in the book, I think. I specially liked how we saw what she was thinking and feeling as the story moved along. Nothing was as simple as we might think.

The romance is cute and I rooted for them all the time. I think that, in spite of the circumstances, it wasn't rushed. I thought it believable and romantic. Their relationship went through many stages and it was discoveries after discoveries.

There's something bigger in all that behind the ghost's existence and the protocols and how things work in the planet. I was very happy to see the author didn't turn this into a war and managed to keep peace and possibilities, good ones, to provide hope and imagination to the readers' minds. I've finished the book imagining all kinds of things about the planet and the character's futures..quite the investment.
It was also interesting to see how so many human emotions and fears were set in the new planet. The ghost's attitudes reflected those of the people they took the identity of, but there's tricks to change that, it was refreshing to see how the ghost's were made out to be.

I was really impressed by this story and still read some passages here and there. I'm recommending this to all sci fi romance readers I have as friends. It is really special. Thanks to Phyl for the idea.
I'll try the author's other book someday too.
Grade: 9/10

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