Book review ~ The Sentient, Nadia Afifi

The Sentient
Author : Nadia Afifi
Genre : Sci-fi, Dystopia
Publisher : Flame Tree Press
Release date : 8th September 2020

Amira Valdez is a brilliant neuroscientist trying to put her past on a religious compound behind her. But when she’s assigned to a controversial cloning project, her dreams of working in space are placed in jeopardy. Using her talents as a reader of memories, Amira uncovers a conspiracy to stop the creation of the first human clone – at all costs.
As she unravels the mystery, Amira navigates a dangerous world populated by anti-cloning militants, scientists with hidden agendas, and a mysterious New Age movement. In the process, Amira uncovers an even darker secret, one that forces her to confront her own past.

How fantastic to read a thrilling sci-fi !

Everything about this book is attractive : the presence of several compounds living a cult-like life, a top-notch science city, a girl between both those worlds, scientific space stations, mysterious projects in labs, cloning tests, etc. I mean, if that’s not impressive, what is ?
Still, it could have been a huge mess, but fortunately, it wasn’t !

Amira grew up in the compounds, forced to live a cult-like life until she manages to escape to the city and study psychology and holomency, to see people’s memories. After graduating, Amira finds herself enrolled in the Pandora cloning projects, and is tasked to help the mother of the future clone, while several enemies try to bring the project down and stop the immorality that cloning represents.

There was so much action in The Sentient, yet, the author always lets us catch our breath before going at it again, making the whole thing well-balanced, which can be difficult to achieve. For that I’m grateful. I loved the world the story is set in, the intricate connections between all the places and people in the book. The cloning topic is also a great one to bring up, as it is one that has been rising in our own real world these few last years, which makes this book a really decent dystopia, quite realistic even. More than the action, I really enjoyed the background topics and challenges.

Amira is a good main character, and she has many layered, which I absolutely loved. The duality she has regarding both parts of her life (compound and city) really gives her depth, and is a key point to the story, which I loved. Her relationship with Rozene, the cloning subject was my favorite here, and the way they connect and evolve throughout the timeline was well brought, when the author could have easily rushed the whole thing. Actually, all the characters and their relationships to each other are well thought. None of them has only one main trait of character. They’re not here only to serve a distinct purpose. They have several layers, deal with relatable dilemmas, and are overall just very human. I truly enjoyed how real they are and are more than tools to keep the plot going.

Although I was disappointed not to see more of the space stations mentionned, I truly enjoyed reading this. We have a great dystopian world, a fascinating main topic, interesting characters and a meaningful background reminding us that this kind of action could be closer than we think, and that the questions raised here might deserve to be thought about. I never got bored while reading, and I never got overwhelmed by all the informations, and that alone deserves my attention and praise.

As it’s halfway between a YA and adult sci-fi, I’m fairly certain all of you who love this genre will, if not love it, enjoy it !

Thanks for reading !
See you soon,
Jade ❤

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