Blackthorn book tour, book review, book tour, O R Lea, science fiction

Blackthorn Book Tour: Riebeckite by O R Lea

About the book

Dangerous spores gather on Earth after an asteroid strikes the moon. Humanity watches the skies…but the real danger is at their feet.

After an asteroid strike on the moon, a strange blue dust began to flow down through Earth’s atmosphere. It’s harmful to breathe, but at least the microscopic creatures within the dust are dormant. Or so we thought.

Tahira made a childhood promise to a friend that the crisis would bring their people together… before a violent riot tore their lives apart. Now, as an adult, Tahira works as a biologist for a corporation constructing experimental towers to force the spores—known as riebeckites—to germinate into harmless colonies.

Except they’re about to learn everything they think they know about the dust is wrong. The real threat isn’t the asteroid that struck the moon and by the time humanity figures it out, it might be too late.

Riebeckite combines suspense and conspiracy with heart-in-mouth action sequences and nightmarish encounters, all in an immersive near-future setting and, at its core, a heartwarming story of friendship against the odds.

My review

56 years in the future, Tahira works on the skyscrubber project in Azerbaijan, evaluating the environmental impact to the Caspian Sea from the huge towers that shoot water into the air in order to rid it of the dangerous dust particles – or Riebeckites – that rain down from the moon since an asteroid strike decades before.

Haunted by a pogrom that drove Iranians from her country when she was a child, Tahira tries to assuage her nation’s guilt by smuggling money to her Iranian former best friend, Zareen.

When Tahira discovers a new form of Riebeckite, she is thrown into a dangerous world of conspiracy, terrorism, and ferocious alien creatures.

What I really loved about this novel were the Riebeckites, alien particles that fall from the moon and cause nothing but trouble. What are they? Where do they come from? How do they work? I loved every new reveal, and I look forward to finding out more as the series progresses.

I also liked the acknowledgment that the characters all spoke different, and often multiple, languages. I appreciated the scenes where the characters had to perform translator gymnastics to communicate.

The differences between Tahira’s world on one side of the fence and Zareen’s on the other were also interesting.

There are lots of nice touches in the everyday technology that the characters interact with that felt believable.

I liked the setting of this thriller, but I wish a little more of the culture, religious background, and the history of the 56 years that separate the now (for the reader) to the now of the novel had been included in the world building and character development.

Tahira and Zareen were both characters with lots of potential, but they never felt fully realized for me. Tahira made some surprisingly stupid choices, and I was surprised how little interest she showed in the developments concerning the Riebeckites.

I look forward to finding out how the story progresses in the next book.

I award Riebeckite

About the author

Raised and educated in North Wales, Oliver spent his early 20s working for a theatre-in-education music troupe for as long as it took to feel like his GCSE in Welsh language has provided its money’s worth. Since then, he’s lived in Portsmouth and currently works as a laboratory analyst. His biggest failure as a writer has been in his attempts to settle on a genre, having written about Middle Eastern vampires, African mercenaries and supernatural Welsh murderers. His first ‘properly’ published novel, “Riebeckite”, is a near-future speculative fiction story set in the Persian Gulf.

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