Engines of Oblivion, by Karen Osborne

Review copy provided by the publisher. Also Karen is a personal friend.

Natalie Chan came out of Architects of Memory hoping that this would be her chance at a better life. Birthright citizenship instead of indenture, the chance to work on her own terms–things have been hard, but maybe things were looking up for Natalie. She could even buy her father a nice place to live as he got older. She didn’t want to talk to him, of course, but she could do it anyway.

Of course that’s not how this book goes. Natalie Chan Gets Her Life Back Together might have been an interesting book, but it’s very much not this one. Instead, Chan’s best intentions blow up in her face–or rather in the faces of the people she’s in remote contact with–and her work with the corporations is thrown into question. Even her romantic relationship is set off-kilter. Worse, she’s hallucinating–and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the holes in her memory are extremely important. She remembers Kate, and Ash, and Sharma, but…wasn’t there someone else? And how much of the alien Vai is she supposed to be hearing?

Her new mission doesn’t seem optional, but it takes things from bad to worse before Natalie and whichever allies she can cobble together from her past and her present can set things right. Right-ish. Right-adjacent. The structure of this book is symphonic, introducing themes to play their variations in different registers. It’s also a great deal of fun and a fitting conclusion to this duology.

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