Ocean's Echo by Everina Maxwell

Ocean’s Echo (2022), a sci-fi/romance by Everina Maxwell, puts a military sci-fi spin on the classic fake dating trope. In this novel, scientific experiments have created Readers, who can read other people’s minds, and Architects, who can influence thoughts. While Architects are fully accepted by society, Readers must hide their powers or risk being conscripted into the military, where they will be forced into a sync—a permanent mental bond between a Reader and an Architect which makes them a perfect piloting team, but which can kill them if they don’t stay in close proximity to each other for the rest of their lives.

Tennal is a Reader and a hard-partying socialite who is an embarrassment to his politician aunt. As punishment for his behavior, she arranges for him to be synced with Architect Surit, a serious, by-the-book military officer who is also the son of an infamous traitor. But when Surit realizes that Tennal hasn’t consented to the sync, he is horrified and proposes that they fake it instead.

The pair are soon assigned to a top-secret mission that will allow them to prevent a massive civil war… but only if they can keep up the deception. The situation only gets more complicated when they begin to develop feelings for each other.

Ocean’s Echo is set in the same universe as Maxwell’s previous novel Winter’s Orbit, but is much heavier on sci-fi and politics and lighter on romance. The two books have no overlap in plot or characters, so they can easily be read as standalones.


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Gretchen M