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.

The Rosewater Insurrection is the second book in the Wormwood trilogy and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.

Rosewater is a bustling city and its mayor, Jack Jaques, wants to declare independence from Nigeria. Whilst Kaaro is retired, Aminat still works for S45 who are trying to find ways to separate the xenoforms from the people. But something’s going on with the dome, Anthony is ailing and a mysterious plant has arrived in town.

Organisms have swallowed other organisms in the history of your planet. Your existence is evidence of that. You are only here because one bacterium swallowed another. What you call a human is a walking culture medium for bacteria.

I was so excited to revisit Rosewater and this second book doesn’t disappoint! There are some new characters thrown into the mix as well as familiar faces. Alyssa wakes up one morning with no memory of who she is, her husband or daughter. She could almost be another person entirely. It’s not hard to come to the conclusion that the aliens have started the next phase of their invasion.

Eric is a sensitive who managed to avoid the cull, and now he’s been sent to kill the mayor of Rosewater before he causes too much trouble. Kaaro plays a much smaller part in this book but is still around. Everyone’s better informed about the aliens now, so he can’t just pop into the xenosphere for everything. He finds ways though.

Ghosting. It’s a duplication. You will not be in pain and you will live for ever as a god because information can never die. Lie. Information degrades, gets corrupt, misses its target, and it did hurt.

The mayor’s wife is campaigning for rights for the reanimates… or differently animated. Jack has bigger things to worry about, like a possible war with Nigeria over their status. Plus the alien dome looks sickly and people aren’t healing so well. What does Rosewater have to offer if not the health benefits of the dome?

I wasn’t so keen on the chapters from Walter, the author. Some of them are “extracts” from his novels set in Rosewater and others are his account of events as he was hired to do. I’m not sure this added that much to the narrative or world-building and it took me away from the action.

For some inexplicable reason Earth does not value artists, especially ones that are still alive.

S45 still wants to rid the world of the alien presence and save humankind… But maybe there’s a different solution? One beneficial for all. Tade Thompson does a great job of balancing the position of the aliens versus humans. At first they are benevolent, helping cure people. Then at the end of Rosewater, it’s revealed they’re in the midst of a slow invasion, which continues here. Yet the alien plant suddenly seems like more of a threat. Maybe it’s the choice of host the plant chooses, a thoroughly unlikable character.

The Rosewater Insurrection is published by Orbit and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

ATY: 17. A speculative fiction

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