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    An original novel with great world building

    Kaaro is a sensitive: it means he can access the xenosphere where he reads other people's minds. He works in a bank to protect customers from others sensitives: no one wants to have their PIN codes plucked from their thoughts. But this job is just a cover because he actually works for the Nigerian government. His city, Rosewater, is built around a mysterious alien dome that appeared on Earth some twenty years ago. We follow Kaaro in a few non linear threads from his past and his present. The storytelling is more like a tapestry slowly being woven rather than a straightforward narrative. Rosewater slowly unfolds and requires patience from the reader, but it is balanced with a fair share of action scenes, and lots of tantalising mysteries that are revealed as you go along. So, on the paper you end up with a non linear story with telepathy, kind of zombies, aliens on Earth, governmental agencies and mysterious mysteries. "Throw in the kitchen sink too, why don't you!" are you thinking. But actually no: the rigorous world and plot building Rosewater has leads to an ending where everything makes sense. Kaaro's characterisation is intelligently done, layer by layer revealed with the non linear storytelling. He isn't an all guns a-blazin' character: Thompson chose to make him an anti-hero and it's easy to identify with some of his choices. Sadly, most of the other characters are much less developed. Rosewater is a science-fiction novel that doesn't just re-use old tropes: it makes them fit a tightly wrought story which asks again, and in a talented way, the question of otherness and humanity, and what is worth fighting for.

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