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Winter's Orbit #2

Ocean's Echo

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Ocean's Echo is a stand-alone space adventure about a bond that will change the fate of worlds, set in the same universe as Everina Maxwell's hit debut, Winter's Orbit .

"I inhaled this one like I needed it to live." ― New York Times Book Review

Rich socialite, inveterate flirt, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.

Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, principled leader, and the son of a notorious traitor general. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.

Surit accepted a suspicious promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal's escape.

Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space―to the very neuromodifcation lab that Surit's traitor mother destroyed twenty years ago. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful, one that upends a decades-old power struggle, and begins a war.

Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they've been faking.

Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?

464 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2022

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Everina Maxwell

6 books1,413 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,132 reviews
Profile Image for Everina Maxwell.
Author 6 books1,413 followers
April 11, 2022
I originally pitched this as "like fake dating but with fake soulbonding, also both characters are in the space military."

This book includes: a main character who is having a bad day and intends to make it everyone else's problem, psychics behaving badly, pining, space battles, making out during a break-in, awful families, and the terror of being known and then loved in spite of it.

Things that you should know about it (expand for CWs):
🚀 It's a standalone.

🚀 The story takes place on the planet Orshan where, as the result of some dodgy experimentation, some people have the ability to read or control minds. It's in the same universe as Winter's Orbit but there's no overlap in characters or locations.

🚀 It's a space adventure with a military-SF feel (I wouldn't classify it as strict MilSF since the army is mainly the antagonist and the main character spends the whole book trying to get out of it.)

🚀 There is a strong romantic arc and emotions are high, but if you're a romance reader please go in expecting a VERY low heat level. If you're primarily an SF reader you'll probably think it has a lot of romance. I'd categorise this one as slightly more on the SF side of the SF/Romance border. Nobody has yet stopped me from writing cross-genre, and if "fake soulbonding in the space military" sounds like it could be your thing, then I appreciate those of you giving it a shot from whichever side of the genre line!

CONTENT WARNINGS: mind-control, coercion, mental health struggles (self-destructive tendencies and thoughts, self-neglect including chaotic eating habits), imprisonment, mind/body sharing, some drug and alcohol use. There is more detail on this and on the CWs for all my books at everinamaxwell.com.
Profile Image for cel ✼ readwithcel.
236 reviews440 followers
December 2, 2022
"i feel fine," she says, while feeling most certainly very much not fine in the slightest

“tennal—unpredictable and razor-edged, crackling like the end of a live wire. surit worked in a universe of fixed possibilities. tennal was a chaos event. surit was drawn to it like a gravity wall.”

due to dodgy experimentations, planet orshan is home to readers, who can read minds & navigate chaotic space; & architects, who can control minds. readers who are considered threats are dealt with by syncing them with an architect. tennalhin halkana —a politician’s absolute disaster of a nephew— is a reader who gets conscripted into the military & forced to sync with surit yeni, a duty-bound soldier with a complicated past. surit realises that tennal did not consent to the sync and refuses go through with illegal orders. instead, they fake a sync bond.

for context: please imagine me frothing at the mouth & gnawing on my arm for this is my ocean’s echo-induced state of mind

i fully credit winters orbit for turning me into a sci-fi reader. sure before that i’d taken baby steps into the genre but never made it a huge priority, but then i met kiem & jainan & everything got turned upside down. & now? a whole year later? oceans echo was one of my most anticipated reads.

and i fell in love with it.

so where do i start?

do i start about how this is not winters orbit, but it very much holds its own. ocean’s echo is everina’s sophomore novel & it hit me just as hard. this is also set in iskat & there’s no place like home, no place like iskat. there’s so much comfort in returning to a world that i used to not understand but slowly committed to learning out of sheer love.

maybe i'll start with how electric tennal & surit are. oh the mortifying ordeal of being known!! & loved in spite of it! what i love most about everina’s characters is how strong they are apart & together. you witness them slowly fall in love with each other’s true selves & its the most beautiful thing. how could i have not fallen in love? to have them wedge themselves in my heart forever.

or perhaps i should start with how i love a ragtag crew. i love the chaos that comes with a crew that is snarky & scrappy, who go against the odds just by sheer will. who cannot & will not be kept down.

i don’t know where to start but I know where this ends.

this ends with oceans echo sitting on the faves shelf. this ends with me sending my best friend over 50+ voice messages because i simply could not pause reading to send a text (some voice messages were just us yelling its Fine). it ends with a love so great that honestly? i’m still a little afraid to say this out loud but perhaps it parallels winters orbit in my heart.

✼ thank you to macmillan for sending me an arc of ocean's echo in exchange for an honest review


Profile Image for Marieke (mariekes_mesmerizing_books).
467 reviews275 followers
November 2, 2022
Actual rating 4.5 stars.
Aw, do you know that feeling? Wanting to read an author’s second novel badly because you loved the first one so much? Being afraid to start and then finding out the second one is even better? It happened to me while reading Ocean’s Echo.
First of all, don’t read this book because you want to read a romance with a lot of yearning and longing. Even though it’s clear from the start that Tennal and Surit will become a couple, the romance is not central in the story. Far from it even. Ocean’s Echo is a highly political story with a burgeoning civil war at its core.  The first architects and readers were made in a military lab twenty years ago. Readers can read other people’s minds while architects can write (influence) other people’s minds. The main plot is about how those capacities can be misused.
Tennal is a reader, selfish and chaotic, destructive and putting his own needs first. Until his aunt orders him to go into the military and sync with Surit, an architect. Surit, a duty-bound soldier, follows the regulations but is even more focused on justice and doesn’t want to be illegally synced with an unconsenting civilian.

I loved those two guys and their interactions, and from the moment Tennal and Surit knew they could only trust each other, I felt the care for another throughout the story. So many times, content smiles tugged at the corners of my lips, and I had to slow down myself at times to understand everything that was happening. Everina Maxwell's writing is sublime, and even though I’m not a huge sci-fi reader, I could see all those ships and planets and even the chaotic space so lively.  I highly recommend this fantastic story! The only reason I didn’t rate Ocean’s Echo a full five stars is because I wanted a tiny, tiny bit more romance.
I received an ARC from Little Brown Book Group Uk and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Maisha  Farzana (on hiatus).
551 reviews216 followers
December 25, 2022
"Ocean's Echo" was one of my most anticipated books of the year but....

Before starting this review, I wanna mention a few things. I am a huge fan of Everina Maxwell's debut novel, "Winter's Orbit". It's one of the best books I have read in 2022. It even made it to my list of best books of the year. So, obviously, I was really excited to read her sophomore novel. Ocean's echo made out just the day before my birthday. I thought it would make an awesome present and so I got myself a copy of it. However, it took me a while to read the book as my finals were going on during that time. I had such high expectations from this book. Compared to my expectations, it was a let down. Ocean's echo isn't a bad book by any means. It just failed to provide me what I was hoping for....

"Ocean's Echo" was too complicated for my liking. I had trouble wrapping my head around the world building. I hardly could understand what was going on. much politics and too little romance. I knew it was a sci-fi with a romantic subplot. But 50% in, I was yet to catch any glimpse of the said romance. The characters were shallow and uninteresting. However, my main complaint with the book was on how little build-up the romance had. I couldn't see why should I root for this couple. Like they had no chemistry, no banter and also not enough distinct qualities for me to like them as individuals....I personally don't enjoy books with deep political conflicts. All in, "Ocean's Echo" didn't had anything interesting going on which I could enjoy. This book was a disappointed. However, I liked Maxwell's writing. So, I would probably check out her future releases. This was just wasn't for me....
Profile Image for Megan Rose.
198 reviews15 followers
October 31, 2022
This was so good???? I can't even describe how much I absolutely adored every second of this book.

When I read Winter’s Orbit earlier this year, I was blown away by how incredible it was. Once I learned there would be a sequel in the same world, but with different characters, I knew I had to read it. I was a little bit nervous about Ocean’s Echo because of how much I loved Winter’s Orbit, but wow did Ocean’s Echo blow all my expectations out of the water. There was a moment in one of the earliest chapters that once I read it, there was no stopping my progress with the book. I just kept reading and reading because I needed all the answers, and I needed them immediately.

While I would describe Winter’s Orbit as a romance with sci-fi, I would consider Ocean’s Echo to be a sci-fi with romance. The relationship between the MCs was an essential part of the story, but the sci-fi elements were even more so. I’m not gonna lie, there were a few parts where I had no idea what was happening, but that did not lesson my enjoyment of the book in the slightest. I was so tense the entire time, my heart pounding as I kept reading to discover what was going on. Ocean’s Echo is definitely an edge of your seat kind of story, and I loved every second of it.

The plot was so complex and detailed. There would be instances when a new point would be revealed, and I knew it was relevant somehow, but for the life of me, I could not figure out how. So when it was finally uncovered, I was a mess of excitement and nerves. Things got really crazy at about the 60% mark and did not slow down until the very end. I wasn’t sure my poor heart could take much more, but at the same time, I never wanted it to finish.

Throughout the course of the book, I had to keep pausing and marveling at what a masterpiece Ocean’s Echo is. The writing style was beautiful and intricate, perfect for a sci-fi novel. Everina Maxwell has a wonderful way of weaving a story with the perfect balance of feelings/emotions and vivid detail for the reader to imagine each scene.

The tension and the pining in this book was perfection. Tennel and Surit are expected to sync together, a term used in the military for a reader and architect, where the architect takes full control of the reader. Unfortunately for the military, they chose the most unwilling and stubborn reader, as well as the most upstanding and rule-following architect ever. Since this sync is nonconsensual and being forced on Tennel, Surit refuses to take part in it, and instead works with Tennel to fake the sync. The two then join forces to help each other reach their goals, and as the story progresses, their bond grows stronger, and their want for each other becomes impossible to ignore.

I adored these two so much! Tennel has a carefree, ‘nothing fazes me’ attitude, with no mind for rules or orders, while Surit is the complete opposite in every way. He keeps his feelings locked up deep inside, follows rules to a tee, and has a strong sense of justice. Their attraction to each other was evident early on, but because of the situation, it was impossible for them to act on it. Thus leads to one of my favorite tropes in romance: pining. Watching Tennel and Surit come out of their shells and trust each other was so sweet and endearing.

In addition to Tennel and Surit, there were also some awesome side characters that added more fun and interesting layers to the story. Basavi and Istara were my favorites, and I would absolutely read another story helmed by them. Basavi was shyer, though firm in her opinions; meanwhile, Istara was loud, sarcastic, and never afraid to let you know what they thought of you. They were just the allies Tennel and Surit needed, and I loved the dynamic between the four of them.

Also, I have to mention how much I adore how queer this world is. Each society is queer and accepting, and there’s no homophobia present. All of the conflicts arise from other sources entirely unrelated to the characters’ sexualities and identities. We need more of this in fiction!

Honestly, I could go on and on about how much I loved Ocean’s Echo. It’s been a couple of days since I finished it, but my thoughts keep straying back to the book, even when I’m supposed to be doing other things. If you haven’t read Winter’s Orbit, or if Ocean’s Echo isn’t on your TBR yet, I highly recommend adding them! This series will not disappoint.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for julia ☆ [owls reads].
1,557 reviews310 followers
October 3, 2022
Everina Maxwell's writing was still such a pleasure to read in Ocean's Echo! Sadly, this book didn't quite work for me.

I had a lot of trouble getting my head around the world-building and I believe that was because the story dealt quite a bit with mind control/brainwashing in a way that wasn't particularly fun for me. Others will probably find the set up very intriguing and enjoy the way it was developed throughout the novel--because it is extremely well developed and detailed--but, due to personal preferences, that was not the case for me.

Tennal and Surit as main characters and narrators were great. They had very distinct voices and personalities and it was super fun to read about them clashing and then slowly learning to respect and trust each other. Their dynamic was an interesting one and I did like how Maxwell played with that throughout the book.

With that said, I didn't exactly buy the romance element? It was very very light since the focus here was very much on the political plot and conflicts. There wasn't enough build up for me to be fully convinced that Tennal and Surit loved each other--which is a strange thing to say considering that only really came into play at the final 15% or so.

The ending was also more of an open ending type than a tightly shut case. There were a few threads that were left without answers and even Tennal and Surit's future together was presented more as a hopeful thing than a sure one. I wasn't entirely upset about that since I had issues with the romance. I will keep an eye out for other Maxwell works, but this one wasn't for me.


ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,117 reviews76 followers
February 9, 2023
When I read Winter’s Orbit I was blown away and so excited to hear another book in this universe was coming out. This book is well written, but for me at least it lacked the magic of Winter’s Orbit. I found the book to very slow moving and the characters hard to connect with. It got to a good place with the plot, it just took a long time. As a science fiction story it was pretty decent (although heavy with politics and military). As a romance it didn’t really work at all. I get the initial resistance, they were in an unequal power dynamic situation which isn’t great for true romance but there wasn’t much of a build up from absolutely no to true love. I still like the universe and I think this book did a lot more world building. I will read more by the author, but this book just wasn’t as strong a hit for me. I gave it 3.5 stars overall.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,410 reviews389 followers
October 23, 2022
I didn't like this one as much as I liked Winter's Orbit, and I think a lot of it was because of the messy second half, where the plot overran the romance and was just...kinda messy.

Anywho, I loved the chaos/order trope, which worked really well even though *technically* this is not really a romance? There is an implied HEA however, although the book ends with enough room to create a sequel.

I was super duper excited to request this one off NetGalley because I really enjoyed Winter's Orbit, but then I actually read the synopsis and it implied it had three of my absolutely least favorite things: mind control, military fraternization, and power imbalance brought about by those two things.

I'm happy to report that my fears were not necessary. Maxwell handled both of those sticking points (for me) very well, sidestepping something that would have made me put the book down and DNF right away. Not that she needs to cater to my whims at all or even knows who the fuck I am...but that's beside the point.

Anywho, I did enjoy this up until the 60% mark, where things got...weird? Messy? Melodramatic and filled with MacGuffins galore in the form of remnants, to the point where I finished for the sake of finishing. The last 40% felt less fleshed out, with character interactions not really hitting for me and the reveals not as impactful, mostly because it felt like the stakes were just blah.

But my opinion is in the minority, and while this was not the read I had hoped for, I can see it being a fun book for others!

I received an ARC from NetGalley
Profile Image for micah ➳ canonicallychaotic.
161 reviews208 followers
December 2, 2022
pre review: i’m gonna go absolutely feral rn



“‘all right,’ he said. ‘i’m a fuckup. is that what you wanted to hear? we knew that already.’ he bit the bullet. ‘what are you going to do about it?’”

due to experimentation with ancient space relics, in orshan there are two kinds of neuromodified people: architects, who can influence your thoughts; and readers, who can read minds and also navigate chaotic space. because readers are seen as unstable threats unless they are bound to architects, tennal halkana—a politician’s disaster nephew, forced into conscription—is forced into a sync bond with surit yeni—a model soldier with a dark past of his own. but surit refuses to sync without tennal’s consent, despite the orders they’re both under. so they fake it.

➳ more of a reflection than a review. spoiler free!

when you fall in love with a debut, the follow up is sometimes a bit of a risk. is this author a one hit wonder, or can everything that comes next top the charts? i’ve fallen in love with sophomore books, but i’ve also been let down. and some books you love so much, you just don’t know how they can’t ever be followed up.

winter’s orbit is one of my favorite books. so expectations were high for ocean’s echo, even though i knew putting that kind of pressure on it was a big risk.

but my faith was not misguided.

ocean’s echo stands beautifully on its own next to winter’s orbit. it has a world that is familiar, but also entirely new. there is no real overlap between the two books, but some concepts and ideas are familiar. they reminded me of home.

because somehow home became iskat and orshan and this universe everina maxwell has created. with galactic links and mysterious remnants.

surit and tennal are both disasters. both mess of people who enter a kind of alliance in the form of a fake bond. everina has the most beautiful way of showing characters learn each other and fall slowly in love—despite everything around them that dictates how they should be. it’s easy to read this and ask yourself: who’s the kiem and who’s the jainan? but they’re not either of them. they’re both entirely their own and i cannot stop thinking about them and their story.

i expected while reading ocean’s echo that i would want to reread winter’s orbit so badly. but mostly i just wanted to be reading ocean’s echo. i feel like for so many books that feel like other books i love, i just want to go back to the books i love. but i just wanted to be here, on orshan, in chaotic space, with surit and tennal.

and okay. i am going to reread winter’s orbit too.

thank you so so much @torbooks for the earc, and @everina_maxwell for creating a home with her words. ocean’s echo comes out in november.

cw can be found on everina’s website and here on goodreads!
Profile Image for Hirondelle.
905 reviews184 followers
November 12, 2022
A space opera-ish romance, with telepathic powers and fake soul mating and alien relics and all. It sounded like great entertainment - and if turned out to be cheesy, that would not be a problem at my current mood. And it did turn out to be cheesy yeah, but the worldbuilding is just so stupid, the romance so perfunctory (if it is a romance), all disjointed that I ended up not enjoying it at all.

The kind of surprising thing to me is I also did not like her first novel (maybe I should go back and up it one star because it is better than this one), and here I go again trying her second novel. I wish I understood why, maybe because I do have a forever soft spot for this type of concept, slashy space opera romances and the blurbs/cover really got me for both books.

This is supposed to be a blend of sf and queer romance, and I am very OK with any proportion of one to the other: I do read and love sf, I do read and love romance, so I can be very forgiving for something being bad sf if it is a good romance and vice-versa. But it is bad sf (I am going to rant about the worldbuilding in a bit, I can not help myself) and it is a bad romance. If it is even a romance? It is not even a slow slow burn, Mariana Zapata style it is that I am not sure there is any kind of burn. Not talking about explicitness levels , I am just talking even feeling the attraction, emotional or sexual between these two people. They end up friends, allies ?

The worldbuilding is a mess. And maybe part of the problem is that I do read and love sf, and it fails at the thing I love about sf which is providing food for thought on the what-ifs, how something would be possible, would work. I am also a reader of mystery novels, and I automatically pay attention to details, numbers because they might be clues! And that was a bad mental setup to read this book, because the world, plot, backstory is very flimsy.

The author on acknowledgments thanks many many many people, including presumably two editors, and big teams at two publishing houses (Tor US and Orbit UK). I wish somebody had made her write a timeline of events and do some math on the character's age and think a bit on the mechanics of the telepathic powers and made it all clearer because there is a lot here which just did not make sense to me:

And then there is the whole setup: two kinds of people with mental powers, readers who can read superficial feelings and eventually read thoughts but with the person being read being aware of it. And "architects" who can coerce, "write" people to do what they want and people can not stop themselves from obeying. But which kind do you think is more likely to scare, instinctively revulse, repel people? Because in this universe the coercion mental power is OK and it is readers which are stigmatized. It does not make sense to me, but it was just one of the many things in this book which did not.

On the positive, I liked the writing, each scene is clear, and the writing unobtrusive, it gets the point across without much fuss (and that is not such an obvious thing to take for granted in any book). Characters are well defined, within each scene, and sympathetic enough, from scene to scene (even if the big picture of their interactions and motivations fails for me).
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
682 reviews245 followers
April 20, 2023
I haven’t read many books about telepathy, but the premise of a mind reader and mind controller conscripted to a galactic army, forced to permanently sync their thoughts together? I was sold. Plus, I adored Maxwell’s debut, Winter’s Orbit. I had a feeling this would be just as good.

Let’s get my one complaint out of the way first, shall we? I blame the culmination of this cover, the reviews I read before starting, and my own assumptions for my main misconception/disappointment towards this book: the lack of romance. I was aware that Ocean’s Echo would be far more plot driven than Winter’s Orbit, though I’d also been told to still expect a romantic subplot. Don’t get your hopes up in that sense, because there is nearly none until the last 5% of the book. It is the slowest of slowburns, with Tennal and Surit’s love being mostly demonstrated in everything unsaid between them. If you’re interested in reading this book, definitely go in it for the space and sci-fi elements or the protagonist’s journey!

This is relatively slow-paced story—something I tend to enjoy when the protagonist is loveable (which Tennal definitely is). From the first few pages, Tennal’s self-deprecating humour captured my attention, and I only grew more enthralled by his character the deeper Maxwell dove into his emotions. It was so interesting to see Tennal discover himself through his deep observations of Surit and his thoughts. There’s a little bit of the “and they were roomates” trope to kick of their reluctant partnership, which only strengthened my fondness for these two idiots. Whenever I grew bored of the plot, I was completely absorbed in Tennal and Surit’s subtle bonding and scheming. I would easily read more about them if Maxwell chose to continue their story.

Books set in space pretty much always click with me. I honestly can’t think of a single space opera I don’t like, so it’s not surprising that Ocean’s Echo is joining the list of sci-fis I really enjoyed. Maxwell’s writing has definitely improved since her debut, with an impressively creative plot to bolster this story! Really enjoyed this one!
Profile Image for Angela.
419 reviews841 followers
November 10, 2022
I was expecting something else when I picked up this book but ended up liking what it ended up being. What I mean by that is I thought this was going to use more conventions typical to the romance genre and instead this ended up being more of a military space opera with strong romantic components. For this reason I had some pacing issues at the beginning, since I was expecting a sci-fi romance. That said for a military space opera I really enjoyed exploring this world and this different genetic manipulation and how the political tensions played out. Exploring this genetic manipulation with our main characters was also fascinating, especially in the later half of the book. Similar to the first book in this world (Winter's Orbit) we have one lead who has a lot of chaotic energy and another who is more organized, I enjoy this dynamic and actually enjoyed the relationship development in this more than Winter's Orbit, probably because it was glacially slow burn but with still A+ pining. Although I would still say that if you are expecting a similar experience to Winter's Orbit this is not 50/50 sci-fi/romance, this is more 70/30 in my opinion.
Profile Image for hiba.
238 reviews324 followers
October 10, 2022
this is a well-written sci-fi with an interesting, tightly constructed plot and vibrant characters at its center. i enjoyed tennal and surit's contrasting personalities and the burgeoning feelings between them. although it took me a while to get invested in the story, i was eventually drawn in and intrigued by the second half, which was way better than the first half.

the only reason this didn't get a higher rating is because i went in with the wrong expectations - i was hoping for more romance like in winter's orbit but the plot-to-romance ratio in ocean's echo was a lot more unbalanced than i was expecting. not entirely the book's fault but considering the plot in the first half was slow and a bit boring, i wish the author could've spent that time developing the relationship more before focusing on the plot again in the second half.

overall, i had a good enough time and would definitely recommend to anyone looking for queer plot-driven sci-fi.

ARC received from netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,122 reviews817 followers
November 5, 2022
On my blog.

Rep: gay mcs, sapphic side character, nonbinary side characters, trans side character

Galley provided by publisher

Ocean’s Echo was, ultimately, a disappointment. After Winter’s Orbit, I thought I would at least like Everina Maxwell’s follow-up. Instead, I found myself bored for the most part and unable to see why exactly I should be rooting for the main couple.

Set in the same, nebulously described world as Winter’s Orbit, this book follows two characters I can’t even recall the names of (Tennal and Surit, as I had to look up). Tennal is the nephew of someone high up in government (whose power you just have to trust because it’s not exactly clear what role she really plays), but is a disappointment, and being so-called “reader”, also perceived as a danger to society. So, in an illegal move, he gets sent into military service, to be forcibly bonded to an “architect” (who, to me, seems more dangerous than someone who can read minds, someone who can write their will onto another person’s mind). Surit is chosen as that architect.

Perhaps it’s clear from this paragraph what my first point is going to be about, and that’s the worldbuilding. It’s flimsy to the point of basically being transparent. This, I’ll admit, is also the case with Winter’s Orbit and I think the reason I could let it go there was because I’d already read the story back when it was online. Now, though, there was a new story and I could see all the weaknesses more apparent. I basically can’t explain anything to you about this world because I don’t know anything about it. I haven’t been told anything except some handwavey explanations of readers and architects. It’s not even the more complex things that were left out, it was simple things like how the power dynamics of the world work, who’s in charge, how are they elected, do they live on planets, is this a kind of space empire, is it multiple regions all connected (I would lean towards this explanation, since apparently this book takes place in the same timeline as the first book, but across the galaxy. Don’t ask me how that works). As I said, flimsy to the point of being transparent.

I could forgive this, I think, if I had found anything compelling about the relationship. But I didn’t. The characters didn’t feel bland, per se—although given that they didn’t even stick in my mind well enough to remember names, it might be argued they were—but they didn’t inspire any sort of emotional connection within me. And in a book that pretty much relies on those characters and their relationship, that was a killer. I just didn’t care about anything that I was meant to. There were times I was reading it thinking, I’m supposed to feel something, and I just didn’t. There was nothing there to feel.

Maybe the only redeeming feature here was the writing, but even that was offset by the sheer length of the book. It did not need to be this long. The plot didn’t need to be so complex (and arguably the book didn’t have the range to do that complexity well anyway). Much of it could have been cut and then maybe Maxwell might have focused more on the emotions of it all.

As it was, I ended up reading… whatever this was.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,037 reviews3,437 followers
December 4, 2022
3.5 stars rounded up

Ocean's Echo is a standalone sci-fi adventure set in the same world as Winter's Orbit, but it's quite different. This one feels a lot more sci-fi and less romance. And the romance we do get, I wasn't nearly as invested in. It is an interesting expansion of the world- we learn more about the remnants and are introduced to part of the universe where there are powerful neuro-modified people.

Tennal is an impulsive disaster with a politically powerful aunt who doesn't know what to do with him. So she forcibly conscripts him into the military, where he is supposed to psychically sync with Lieutenant Surit Yeni- an orderly man trying to prove himself in the wake of his mother's traitorous rebellion. But things begin to go very wrong and the two are unwittingly pulled into political machinations with serious consequences.

I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it the way I did Winter's Orbit. The romance isn't as strong, and it's complicated by the power dynamics of the mental sync plot. I also felt like it was a bit too long in the final third. I breezed through Winter's Orbit, but felt more of a lag toward the later part of this one. Still, a solid second novel and I look forward to reading more from Maxwell in the future. I received an advance copy of this book for review from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Samantha.
193 reviews427 followers
December 2, 2022
I don't think I can adequately describe how much I loved Ocean's Echo. I spent every second away from this book itching to pick it up again. After loving Winter's Orbit, I was incredibly excited to start this and it blew me away.

Though the romance is a subplot, it is one of my favorite romance plots I have read all year. Surit and Tennal's relationship is a fascinating study of what it means to be known and understood. Tennal describes himself as "too much" and is incredibly self-critical throughout the entire book. And he is a chaotic disaster in many ways. But he is also sharp and brilliant with a mind for strategy. His character reminded me of Velasin from A Strange and Stubborn Endurance. It was incredible to watch him grow and heal as a character throughout the book.

Reading about Tennal from Surit's perspective honestly brought tears to my eyes. There is something incredibly powerful about how this book depicts what it means to be known both for the parts of you that are good and for the parts of you that are messed up or undesirable. And to be loved for all of that, not despite your flaws, but including your flaws.

" Surit wasn't even playing down the worst parts. He just somehow saw them differently."

Surit and Tennal understand each other when no one else in their lives has cared to understand them. I am in love with how Surit describes Tennal throughout the book.

" The one burning star in a system of inert planets, flaring so brightly it was dangerous to orbit"

Though the romance is definitely a subplot, the story of acceptance and love was incredibly powerful and it will stick with me for a very long time. Surit reminded me a lot of Evemer from A Taste of Gold and Iron and I would highly recommend Ocean's Echo to fans of both ASASE and ATOGAI.

I am obsessed with the relationship dynamic, but I loved the rest of the story as well. Ocean's Echo is a fascinating story filled with political conflict and scheming. It is always fun to follow a character like Tennal who would happily stay out of all of the conflict and is instead dragged into the center of it. There were also really interesting conversations about duty, authority, and power. The descriptions of space were incredible. This is the first SciFi book to make me stop and contemplate the nature of space itself. The magic/tech system of the readers and architects was incredibly interesting and created a very engaging setup for the plot.

If I had to mention one critique it would be that the ending dragged on a bit too long. I was fully invested in the story so I didn't mind, but there were a few repetitive events that broke the fast pace of the story.

Ocean's Echo is a story of healing and growth and a love that will shake the universe. This is easily a new favorite book and will likely be in my top ten reads of 2022.

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Profile Image for the kevin (on brainrot hiatus).
946 reviews113 followers
October 31, 2022
Tennal shut his eyes and tried to read the universe.

I was really excited to read this standalone sequel to Winters Orbit, and I'm glad to say it measured up! And another beautiful cover. Of course, my review writing energy today is absolute trash, but here's thoughts anyway:

I really loved how distinct all the characters were. Not only did Tennal and Surit have complementary and individual personalities, but the secondary characters (and even tertiary/background ones!) had a solid sense of personality. No neglecting character depth in this book!

They all expected Tennal to be cooperative. It wasn’t as if he had a choice. A shame that he’d never been cooperative in his life.

I enjoyed seeing Surit and Tennal slowly start to trust and work together. They kind of just gradually slipped into it, very naturally, and it was a lovely theme.

That's another general thing I loved - the development of their relationship and connection was impeccable. A slow burn, but such emotional depth! Hard to find a book with such skilled relationship development.

Surit knew his own tendencies, which had nothing to do with gender and everything to do with people who were lightning strikes on dead land.

The plot and conspiracy and intrigue elements unfolded at a very accessible pace. I tend to struggle to follow many characters and plot lines, so maybe some might find it straightforward, but this had me both able to follow the developments as well as not quite knowing what was coming next! Definitely my favorite kind of balance.

The imagery in this was unreal - such colorful and evocative descriptions.

The one place I struggled the most was the beginning - there was just so many terms and factions and things happening all at once, I got a bit lost. Might not be an issue for more attentive readers, but it was somewhat of a struggle for me.

Overall, this was another lovely book by this author! Truly some unique concepts, and a very accessible sci-fi story. The romance was fantastic as well, and I always love an in-depth emotional connection. Highly recommend!

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions are my own.


Read more reviews on my blog: 
Profile Image for Stephanie.
Author 69 books970 followers
December 4, 2022
Just over halfway through this book, I have to stop to say: OMG. I am such a sucker for the whole trope of a person who's been shamed all their life for being officially "Too Much" finally meeting the person who looks at their "Too Much"ness and thinks: "WOW that is AMAZING." And together they're so right. <3 <3 <3


And coming back now that I've finished:

Honestly, all I REALLY need to say is: this is one of my favorite EVER SF romances and one of the best novels in every genre that I've read all year. But to go into a little more detail...

The beginning, like all the rest, is beautifully written - seriously, Everina Maxwell is an artist with words, and I am in awe of her writing style - BUT I found it a little painful to read. That's because it starts with Tennal, who has been taught all his life that he is a shameful disaster and a screw-up who can only bring dishonor on his family...proving everybody right by self-destructing in every way possible. Which I believed! And even the self-destructiveness showed off how brilliant, creative, fast-thinking and fun he actually is. His intentional self-destruction is like a set of sparkly fireworks going off and burning down everything - you can't look away from the sparks! AND YET.

I started actively *loving* the book a few chapters later, when I got to the first PoV section for Surit, the also-brilliant but intensely focused, driven-to-prove-himself but also unshakably ethical (to his deep detriment in the army) lieutenant who is ordered to take Tennal under psychic control. The moment that Surit (who is basically like Carrot from Terry Pratchett's The Watch in his sweet but unswerving morality) is ordered to illegally take Tennal under his control, everything goes haywire in the most fantastic ways possible...because Surit will never intentionally do the wrong thing. But Tennal is all about nuance...and as they work together to find a way out of the dilemma, they find each other totally blown away by each other. Better yet, each of them has incredible strengths that complement each other perfectly. So they agree to fake the mental sync, which becomes way easier as they fall in love...and then becomes a very real issue as they're swept up together into a terrifying galactic plot involving alien remnants and a coup.

The bigger SF plot is so tense and compulsive, it swept me through at a breathless pace, but Tennal and Surit's relationship is the absolute heart of the story throughout, as they fight to keep each other and their crew alive in the face of all the odds - and it is just so incredibly lovely. They never do any more than kiss, but their emotional arc is *incredible,* with the SF concept of the 'sync' a really interesting metaphor for the traditional romantic idea of two halves connecting to make a perfect whole - both in its loveliest light and in its more problematic, troubling aspects, too.

And the ending is just so perfect, I literally patted the paperback like a puppy with delight!

I just really loved this book.
Profile Image for Dilushani Jayalath.
905 reviews159 followers
March 2, 2023
I thought I liked Winter’s Orbit and found endlessly fascinating but I’ve irrevocably fallen in love with Ocean’s Echo. Also if no one else understood through my previous words and I need to clearly state it, I’ve found my self another all time favourite author. As booktok says, my Insta-buy author. After this I’ll buy anything Everina Maxwell writes.

One thing I loved about this was how she wrote the court politics. It’s one thing I see in Chinese danmei so it was refreshing seeing it in an English novel like this. Science-fiction has never been one of my favourite genres but after this I might really love it. Don’t be fooled by the blurb. Although it says it’s a romance story there’s much more than that in this. For me, the romance almost felt like a sub-plot and I mean that in the best way. The story was fleshed out so well that I’m begging for more. Is it possible for her to write more books faster? I really need more from this story. Hell, I might just reread Winter’s Orbit because I feel like a drug addict missing their bane.
Profile Image for Rach A..
310 reviews134 followers
November 22, 2022
Another SFF romance that I have fallen in love with. This loose sequel to Winter’s Orbit, set in the same world with different characters, is just as good as I’d hoped. There’s something about Everina Maxwell’s writing which just immediately pulls me in and gets me attached to these characters. Tennal has to be one of my favourite characters from any book this year. He reminded me of Tal from The Serpent’s Gate duology, another favourite character. Self-destructive, disaster queer who won’t shut up.

Fake soul-bounding is also like the levelled up fake-dating and I am so here for it, I need more books with this trope now. Obsessed.

Content warnings: war, abusive parent, parent death (past), violence, gun violence, mind-control, coercion, drug and alcohol use


Oh my god I am DECEASED new Everina Maxwell in the same world as Winter’s Orbit!! Please take my money now
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,081 reviews2,939 followers
September 30, 2022
3.5 stars
This is standalone sci fantasy novel set in the same world as the author's previous book, Winter's Orbit. I have read both books and so I can confirm that you can read Ocean's Echo first without any confusion or spoilers. This book follows different characters and provides all the information on the world to understand the details of the story.

I liked the gay romance in Winter's Orbit, but I was underwhelmed by the plot which honestly felt thin. So I was delighted that this book combined a hot queer romance with a very engaging plot. I really enjoyed learning how the psychic abilities worked between the readers and the architects.

I would recommend this one to readers open to sci fantasy story with fast plot and a hot queer romance.

Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Profile Image for VICTORIA EDWARDS.
316 reviews98 followers
September 8, 2022
*hides in shame*

Don’t kill me Tor….Please? Idk what’s wrong with me but me and this book just didn’t click.

Later down the line I’ll definitely give it another go but right now? I’m not in love with Surit or Tennel or the chemistry they shared.

I’m so sorry Tor I failed you 🥲

Profile Image for  Bon.
1,115 reviews92 followers
February 22, 2023
I've considered as I dragged my feet through this for the past few weeks, and it's official: this is one of my first major letdowns of 2023.

I thought this would be different from Winter's Orbit, and sure, it was - I liked this book even less. I don't even know where to start, with the dense, highly cerebral plot, the overwriting that sorely needed editing, or the utter lack of romance. I'm sorry, I have to speak my truth on this book.

There is, like... no romance. There are concepts and gestures that are or could be romantic if written differently or explored more on-page. The whole mind-syncing could have been so good! There are a couple touching moments and good lines. But no. I was sold this as a romance and it was an intellectualist political thriller set in space with the odd kernel of romance. And it was nearly 500 pages. No idea how I managed to finish; reading this felt like I was ejected into space myself, drifting, largely immobile: the pages left seemed to increase and go on forever, like space itself.

My discontent began with overwriting - impenetrable, too-long paragraphs that I simply couldn't parse through. This paired awfully with the over-complex worldbuilding, particularly with regards to the attempts at too-detailed, creative in-world vocabulary. In a lot of instances you can say touchscreen or a tablet or whatever in a space opera, you don't need to constantly create your own thing like you might for planets or aliens or whatever. It was so overcomplicated.

Anyways, I'm beginning to think Maxwell's work is not for me. Perhaps I'm too dumb, who knows, but a lot of what made me hesitant to read sci-fi in the past is present here.
Profile Image for Para (wanderer).
359 reviews194 followers
October 26, 2022
Thanks to the publisher (Tor) for the ARC of this book.

Well, this was fun! I confess: I still haven’t read Winter's Orbit, but something about description of Ocean’s Echo intrigued me enough to request it. And I was right. Sometimes all you need is some light, queernorm sci-fi. Even though Ocean’s Echo has its flaws, it simply clicked for me.

Tennal is a walking disaster of a person. He also happens to be a mind-reader. When his legislator aunt gets tired of him, he gets forcefully conscripted into the military and ordered to sync with an architect (mind controller). But Sunit, a promising officer who accepted a sketchy promotion unaware of what it contains, doesn’t want to sync with someone who does not consent. So they fake it and start planning for escape. Of course, they accidentally get tangled up into something much bigger.

Though this is, in theory, military sci-fi, the focus is very narrow and firmly on the characters. I loved what a chaotic disaster Tennal was. Charming asshole characters can be very hit or miss for me, but here it clicked. Sunit, on the other hand, is firmly Lawful Good but with a delightful malicious compliance streak. The dynamic worked for me quite well and made the book a breeze to read.

It’s not perfect. The worldbuilding felt very messy and barely sketched out and the plot lost itself a little towards the end (I found one of the character decisions particularly idiotic). But at the same time, none of it mattered or affected my enjoyment. It was fast and enjoyable and very easy to read in large chunks.

If you need a quick read, this is a great choice.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 3/5

Recommended to: anyone looking for light, romance-y sci-fi and queernorm worlds, fans of walking disaster characters, those who prefer low-heat romance
Not recommended to: worldbuilding-focused readers, fans of military sci-fi

More reviews on my blog, To Other Worlds.
Profile Image for Tara.
545 reviews8 followers
October 25, 2022
I loved this! and just like Winter's Orbit I could not put it down and spent the whole weekend reading it.

I love the world that Everina Maxwell has created in Winter's Orbit so I was thrilled to see that Ocean's Echo takes place in that world, just in a different part of the galaxy. There is no overlap in characters, but the world building is the same- and expanded on in a truly fascinating way in Ocean's Echo.
Because it takes place in the same world, it's hard to not compare them, but it has a similar vibe to Winter's Orbit, but Ocean's Echo feels much more of a sci-fi story, with an undercurrent of romance in it. I was warned this book would have less romance in it from the author's note on Goodreads and I was glad to know that going in. I would have liked more romance in this one, a little more on page tension, but it's still a very unique and intense love story, but that is very much secondary to the sci-fi story of political intrigue and warring planets. Come for the worldbuilding, space politics, and a twisting turning mystery, and stay because you love the main characters so much.

Thank you to the publisher and net galley for the e-arc!

CW from the author:
mind-control, coercion, mental health struggles (self-destructive tendencies and thoughts, self-neglect including chaotic eating habits), imprisonment, mind/body sharing, some drug and alcohol use.
Profile Image for Iz.
777 reviews26 followers
May 4, 2023

God, I don't know how to rate this.
I think my brain's been scrambled recently because it just could not understand nor follow Everina Maxwell's brand of sci-fi.
I'm so angry with myself!

This was a case of absolutely right book at the seriously wrong moment.

The first 200 pages were absolutely gorgeous, and to be fair, the rest of it was too.
I just ended up skimming a lot of it? I don't know, maybe the plot wasn't enough to hold my interest, or maybe I was expecting something different, something more romance and character-centric. Either way, I blame my brain and the stupid reading slump I'm in the middle of.

The writing was stunning though, as was the world-building: brilliant, complex, mind-blowing.
Plus, Tennal and Surit are both supremely complex protagonists, wonderful and endearing and clever and flawed, but also well-rounded and gorgeously built. And their relationship was absolutely gripping: slow-burn and bittersweet, a gorgeous discovery of one another.

Everina Maxwell's debut, "Winter's Orbit", stole my heart, and I hoped this one could too; unfortunately, while I did enjoy it, it just couldn't hold my interest.
Again, under any other circumstance, I probably would have loved the hell out of it, but at the moment, I just couldn't.

3.5 stars because I know my lack of enthusiasm is solely linked to the wrong timing. Maybe I'll try re-reading when my brain finally decides to come back online.
Profile Image for Vini.
497 reviews62 followers
November 2, 2022
okayy!! surprisingly very good!!

“It's not fair. It's not equal. You have to let things go, over and over and over again. But it's mine, and it's important, and I'm doing what I can.”

Due to experimentation with the mysterious Remnants, in Orshan there are two kinds of neuromodified people: the Architects, those that can influence your thoughts; and Readers, who can read minds and also navigate through space. Tennal Halkana—a reader and a walking disaster, forced into conscription into the military by his aunt due to dubious circumstances. He’s forced into a sync bond with Surit Yeni—a model soldier with a dark past. But Surit refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal, despite the orders they’re both under. So they fake it.

I didn't love Winter's Orbit. I thought it was just fine? I guess? Idk I was so confused, not in a good way like in Gideon the Ninth, and when I wasn't confused, I was bored. I liked Kiem and Jainan but didn't really care about the romance either.

That being said!! I was interested in reading Ocean's Echo. Why? Because LOOK at that cover. It's a beauty! It is grace! I'm obsessed. And I'm happy to say that I actually really enjoyed this one!! If you're like me and you also didn't LOVE WO, I feel like this one is really worth checking out!!

This book has my absolute favorite things that are highly specific to ME.

First, we have the character dynamics!! Tennal is a completely chaotic mess with so many unhealthy coping mechanisms, while Surit is stoic, serious, and protective. I'm obsessed with that dynamic. I love it every time. And I fell in love with them both.

Then we have the mental bonds!! It's about the mortifying ordeal of being known!! & loved in spite of it!! It's about forced proximity. It's about someone knowing you so intimately that you trust them enough to let them into your mind. I eat it up every time, I swear 😩

Ocean's Echo is very different from Winter's Orbit, and it very much stands on its own. It's a different setting, but the overall feel of both is similar.

Just like in Winter's Orbit, the romance isn't the main focus, but Tannal and Surit are always at the center of the story. I don't know what I can say about the plot without spoiling it entirely, but I can say it was super intense, and I was actually very invested in it. The twists had me gasping.

I can't believe it, but reading this made me want to reread Winter's Orbit even more?? I'm very intrigued by the whole alien remnants thing, and I hope we get more books in this universe exploring that.
Profile Image for erraticdemon.
114 reviews29 followers
December 3, 2022
Review to come when I have pulled my thoughts back from space.

Update with review:

I spent most of the book with a feeling of deja vu because I couldn't quite remember what I learned from this universe in Winter's Orbit but I think it enhanced the experience and helped me vibe along. The romance content is very low but the connection built between Tennel and Surit is incredible and felt very real. They learn to trust each other and become each other's person! And the lack of romance is made up for with the mind syncing. Very slow burn but very emotional deep. And the setting! Parts of the story felt alarmingly wide and other parts felt enclosed and intimate. And the characters! Everyone was fully fleshed out and important to the story.

In short, very plot heavy space book with vague romantic undercurrents but a lot of emotional depth and excellent character work. In shorter, good space book everyone should read.

I received an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Anete.
427 reviews63 followers
November 21, 2022
Lielisks sērijas turpinājums ar jauniem varoņiem un citu zvaigžņu sistēmu. Autores prasmes ir tikai uzlabojušās. Šoreiz stāstā ir vairāk zinātniskās fantastikas: smadzeņu procedūras, laboratorijas, ieroči, kosmiskās stacijas - pilsētas, bet netrūkst ne militārās operācijas, ne cīņas ainas, ne politiskās nodevības. Lasītājs uzzin vairāk par noslēpumainajiem starpsistēmu ceļiem (nevis Zvaigžņu vārti, bet, es teiktu, Zvaigžņu trubas) un vēl dzilāk iepazīst šo pasauli. Cerams sekos turpinājums arī šim.
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