This is another comedy of errors/romantic comedy in the vein of To Say Nothing of the Dog, but not one tied to a historical/time travel narrative. In that way, it’s also quite similar to Bellwether. Briddy works for a global communications technology company and the word is out that she and her fiance, one of the junior vice president types in the company are about to be engaged. Before they get engaged though, her boyfriend has asked to her have a EED, an empathetic implant that supposedly allows connected pairs to grow emotionally faster and more clearly. She is hesitant but on board. Before the surgery, she is tracked down by a reclusive IT/inventor figure in the company CB Schwartz who warns her of the grave potential consequences of making the choice.
She goes ahead with the procedure and wakes to find that she’s become telepathically linked to not her fiance. It goes from there.
I honestly don’t think this book is particularly good. It’s fableish in a lot of ways, discussing the potential danger of unchecked connectivity among people where discretion and distance might prove more prudent and better for the soul. Had it stayed along these paths (and been about 200 pages shorter) I think it could have been a lot better. But it honestly goes way off the rails in both plot and style. The style is almost cringe-worthy in its attempts to create characters. There’s these odd little characterizations that seem bizarrely nonsensical at times. Worst, I don’t buy the science fiction elements. There’s a lot about telepathy here, and the telepathy seems to be based on like What Women Want or Merlin Jones, and exists almost purely at the level of talking in one’s head, something that occurs, but barely scratches the surfaces of how we experience thinking and cerebral processes. It’s set up for the plot to work, but works against the narrative. Only in certain moments does the true horror and evil of telepathy come through, and these happen again to serve the plot. I feel like Octavia Butler already covered so much of this ground, that had the book stuck with social commentary we’d be fine, but it crosses into almost self-parody at times. There’s also some very annoying “IRISH!!!”ness happening here too that I won’t get into.