I received an Advance Readers Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Nostalgia is Heartless is available now.
The year is 2050. Quinn Buyers is a climate scientist with a hippy father and a missing mother. Earth is in danger of a massive solar storm, with a shady organization lurking behind the planet’s upheaval, and she’s seven months pregnant, in a long-distance relationship she’s not entirely sure about.
Observant blog readers may be thinking that this isn’t my usual bookish fare and they’d be absolutely right. When I was offered an ARC of Nostalgia is Heartless, the fact that I don’t read much science fiction was my first thought. I was intrigued, however, by the description of the book and that it seemed to be more relationship-based than simply science-based. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-science but I don’t really care if my science fiction is based in reality or not because I don’t know enough to tell the difference.
There’s a lot going on in Nostalgia is Heartless; a lot of characters and a lot of plot lines and I did feel a bit bogged down in the middle. The blurb told me that Quinn’s adventures were going to take her to Antarctica and while this is true, that doesn’t occur until close to the end of the novel. We meet Quinn when she’s living with her dad, Matt, a survivalist. She’s unsure about her future and her relationship with Tig, the father of her child. Tig has his own secrets and for much of the story, Quinn and Tig’s goals and personalities seem at odds but Lahey does a decent job of showing the chemistry between them when they are together. Quinn ends up befriending two very unique teenagers and together they embark on further adventures as she decides to find out what’s really happening at the earth’s core and where her mother actually went. And what exactly is this fruit platter that Quinn ended up with?
There’s also a lot of other side plots that are going on and other characters that we are briefly introduced. There is political intrigue and other relationships and this, honestly, is where the book lost me for a while. Nostalgia is Heartless is part of a larger series so while the action within the novel works on its own some of those side plots and characters are left at loose ends. That didn’t personally bother me because I didn’t really care about them, but readers be warned.
As I said, I’m never particularly concerned with the accuracy of the science in science fiction so I can’t speak to that here. It felt realistic enough to me that it all made sense within the context of the story. Climate change is a central theme of the book and this felt realistic to me. Earth likely will change a lot in the next 30 years. It will be warmer, some places will be uninhabitable. Some people are already looking to other planets for a new home, solar flares are in the news as I write this review. Cryogenic sleep and cyborgs and some of the medical care Quinn has available to her seemed less realistic but again it worked within the novel.
Did this turn me into a science fiction reader? No. But it was a fun, escapist read and I can see it appealing to real science fiction readers.