Rosewater is a Nigerian town grown up around a mysterious alien dome. Kaaro is a sensitive who was there from the start, the dome sending out spores which give people like him a telepathic gift. No one knows what the aliens want, but once a year the dome opens briefly, healing anyone in the vicinity. As word gets out, more and more people make the pilgrimage to Rosewater.

The story is split between 2066 and Kaaro’s past. His gift meant he could always find people’s valuables and led to his life of crime as a thief. In 2066, he is a government agent, helping a mysterious organisation with interrogations, with a part time job at a bank being part of their firewall.

From a lay person’s perspective, psychics were once unreliable and have been more reliable since 2012 or thereabouts.

It took me a while to get into, it spends time world-building before the meaty plot starts, but the reward is worth it. I liked the Nigerian setting, it felt like a not-too-distant future with the country finding their place in the new world, one where Britain has shot itself in the foot with Brexit and America has isolated itself completely. It had a unique take on alien invasions, but you’ll just have to read it to find out exactly what.

The spores released by the dome allow sensitives like Kaaro to enter the xenosphere. Here they are exposed to the images inside the heads of people nearby, to protect themselves, they appear as an avatar. When they would like to switch off they use anti-fungal creams to dampen their skills. But sensitives are starting to get ill. Is someone targeting them and their work?

Luckily lying in the psyche is part of my training. Thieves must lie well to survive. Government agents must lie even better.

Random thought, I wonder if the town’s name came from Outkast’s Roses, because there is a passage talking about how the town was named and it mentioned how terrible it smelled because of all the sewerage…

I’m super happy that this is the start of a trilogy, because Tade Thompson has really drawn me in and I want to know more. It does work as a standalone too, so you can read it without worrying about a lot of unanswered questions.

Nobody should be able to do what you do. The mind is supposed to be the last sanctuary of a free human.

Rosewater is published by Orbit and will be available in paperback from 20th September 2018, with the ebook available now. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.