October 30, 2012 | 352 pages
Science Fiction, Romance
Source: Copy provided by Tor
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
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.
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 that she loves.
Ghost Planet is a brilliant sci-fi romance with a unique setting and a clever, complex story line. The characters and relationships were well-crafted, the plot twists were engaging, and at the end we're rewarded with a very satisfying conclusion.
The story's protagonist, Elizabeth Cole, is a psychologist from Earth who has recently arrived on Ardagh 1, also known as the Ghost Planet. It's a world where colonists are tethered to an alien inhabitant who is a physical replica of a loved one who has passed away.
Upon arrival, she meets with Grayson Murphy, lead psychologist for New Seattle's Counseling Center and founder of the Ghost Protocol. The protocol is a method designed to prevent the colonists from being afflicted with psychological disorders that can occur as a result of interacting with their ghosts. The rules are simple. Avoid verbal or physical contact at all times.
With Fisher's gifted writing style, we're given the complexity of her world building and story line without it becoming overwhelming or difficult to understand. I found Elizabeth's theories on symbiosis, symbiogenesis and Ardagh 1's lack of geological stability to be thought-provoking and genuinely interesting when it very easily could have gone the other way.
Of the many highlights in Fisher's debut, what I enjoyed most was the development of Elizabeth's character. She was intelligent, strong-willed, and compassionate. Where others would have accepted defeat, she persevered, refusing to allow anyone to hold power over her simply because of her new alien status.
Another aspect of this story that I enjoyed was the forbidden romance that evolved between Elizabeth and Murphy. Although Murphy's feelings developed fairly quickly, it didn't feel like a typical case of insta-love. I think their relationship was well-executed and I appreciate that the author didn't allow their romance to consume the story.
Ghost Planet was a skillful blend of imaginative world building, scientific mystery, conspiracy and manipulation. The story is tied together by two characters who consistently have the odds stacked against them, but their devotion and dedication will have you rooting for them until the very end.
Thanks to Tor, I've discovered this fabulous new author and I look forward to reading whatever she delivers next.