Review by BookTrib – 24th June 2022
Hello space traveller! If you’ve been searching the galaxy for your next summer sci-fi read, The Space Traveller’s Lover by Omara Williams (Authorhouse UK) is definitely the book for you.
This clean romance would appeal to a large range of people, from YA to seasoned readers, the esoteric elements are few and far between while the rich descriptive language helps to fill in the gaps of this otherworldly novel.
In support of the sci-fi descriptors, this book features black and white illustrations wedged between chapters that beautifully depict the characters and their surroundings. This was a lovely addition to me, as someone who thrives on visual wordplay as well as images to help build the story in my head as I read along.
DREAMS BECOME REALITY
The Space Traveller’s Lover begins within the recurring dream of our protagonist, Erin, where she is running through a futuristic marble corridor leading to the wide expanse of a multicolored ocean. It is strangely beautiful, yet somehow familiar to Erin as her dream ends in the way it always does — with her being unable to reach a mysterious stranger watching her from a distance.
“This fast-paced novel will have you daydreaming about pink oceans, telepathic powers and powerful alien hunks.”
Outside of her wild dreams, Erin is the adopted child of the well-known Lobart family living on a tropical island called Tinian, going to school and working at her family’s successful Tuna Farm. She leads a completely mundane life, carefree and unaware of the unearthly qualities she possesses that both draw attention and unnerve those in the presence of her gifted mind and large purple eyes. Mundane that is — until she decides to finally follow a mysterious orange light she has been seeing more and more often, coming from the dangerous caves of a nearby island.
Personally, I’m a big fan of this “I had a normal life, until —” trope in sci-fi romance because it makes it so much easier for the protagonist to be swept away on a new adventure with few strings attached. At the same time, I also think it’s important to include family members and friends who care about the protagonist, which Williams does in this book. It allows the lead to have an abundance of freedom while also grounding the emotions and memories that make them thoughtfully developed character.
A LIFE LINKED TO ALIENS
When what was supposed to be a romantic escapade between Erin and her best friend, Sam, takes a turn for the worst, she surprisingly ends up in the shiny, silver-clad arms of the man of her dreams. A Rom-Ghenshar alien named Rothwen. He has been waiting for Erin for a long time and is determined to keep her by his side by any means necessary. Erin, enthralled by his superhuman abilities and familiar presence, does not seem to mind all that much despite her usual independence. As it turns out, her strange features and abilities are more alien than she originally thought.
The romantic chemistry in this plot is fascinating. Both love interests are undeniably drawn to each other, yet have key character traits that should fight against one another. Rothwen has a domineering presence and is used to getting his way most of the time, however, he finds himself immensely attracted to Erin’s strong-willed and defiant personality — all of the aspects that make her human.
DESTINED TO SAVE HUMANITY
This idea of “Human Quality” is a key plot point throughout the story. While Erin attempts to embrace a major revelation about her alien ancestry, she struggles with her desire to retain her human emotions that make her so different from Rom-Ghenshars. While they share many qualities such as being independent, bold and ever-curious explorers of the galaxies, they lock away strong feelings of empathy and love. Erin, given the new Rom-Ghenshar name of Shaillah, is considered a very special hybrid because of her humanity, and the fate of the Earth might very well depend on her staying that way.
This fast-paced novel will have you daydreaming about pink oceans, telepathic powers and powerful alien hunks all while making you contemplate the possibilities of cosmic passion vs. the home planet you grew to love and protect. Feeling spacey? Check out The Space Traveller’s Lover.
Review by The Scotsman – 15th of August 2022
Must-Read of the week: The Space Traveller’s Lover by Omara Williams | The Scotsman
Must-Read of the week:
The Space Traveller’s Lover by Omara Williams
The Space Traveller’s Lover by Omara Williams is a fast-paced, emotionally charged science fiction novel that questions just how far someone will go for love.
By Gwyneth Rees
We’re all seeking that next book to fall madly in love with, and The Space Traveller’s Lover by debut novelist Omara Williams could well be the ‘one’ for you. A suspenseful and fast-paced work, it artfully blends science fiction with romance to deliver an inspirational read that will stay with you long after you’ve reached the final page. Set in a bleak future Earth beset by irreversible climate change, it considers how humankind would act if a more advanced alien civilisation invaded with the sole intention to exact revenge. At the heart of the novel is young female protagonist Erin. Beautiful, strong and independent, she has an unshakable feeling that she doesn’t quite fit in with her surroundings, living with her adoptive parents on the tropical island of Tinian where she helps out with their thriving tuna farm.
Though clearly gifted and different to everyone else, with stunning purple eyes, she lives a remarkably ordinary life and prefers to spend her free time swimming in the ocean rather than interacting with others. Still, she enjoys the company of her best friend Sam and looks set to settle into a pleasant if pedestrian existence until a planned romantic escapade with him takes an unexpected turn. Erin has been having a recurring dream about a mysterious man dressed as a soldier watching her from afar as she runs through endless corridors and, then, the strong wind lifts her over a strange multi-coloured ocean. His soft voice seems soothing, though she cannot discern what he is saying, but each time she tries to reach him, he vanishes behind a dark cloud. When she is lured to a dangerous cave while out with Sam, intrigued by a mysterious orange light emanating from within, she finally comes face-to-face with the man of her dreams.
An elite space traveller by the name of Rothwen, he reveals that he is a member of the Rom-Ghenshar, a genetically engineered, immortal alien race that is smarter and stronger than humankind. His people have an ancient grudge with humanity, having failed to conquer Earth 10,000 years before. This time, they have vowed to finish the job. Like all of his kind, the ruthless Rothwen seems not to have emotions or the capacity for love, yet at the same time he finds himself irresistibly drawn to Erin, despite the Rom-Ghenshars’ hatred of humanity. Fascinated by her, and having long waited for her arrival, he vows to keep Erin by his side, even if it means changing the invasion plans to do so. She, for her part, is equally mesmerised by Rothwen and is happy to stay.
In Rothwen’s company, Erin meets with other members of his race, with them giving her the new name of ‘Shaillah’, and explaining she has a unique ancestry—finally confirming to Erin why has always felt different to those around her. She is wooed on two sides—by the domineering yet pleasing Rothwen, and by the attraction of her special heritage, journeying to the Rom-Ghenshar home world as her body is transformed to bring out her full powers.
Rothwen wants Erin to abandon all thoughts and connections to the human race, but coming to doubt the Rom-Ghenshars’ professed claims of seeking peaceful co-existence with humankind, she is hesitant to do so. And this reluctance, despite a deep yearning to be with her new alien beau, could be humanity’s saving grace, as Earth’s ultimate fate may well depend on Erin/Shaillah being able to keep her human emotions intact.
The Space Traveller’s Lover is centred on the complex relationship and power-play between Erin and Rothwen.
Though the Rom-Ghenshar supress their emotions, author Omara Williams has no difficulty in charging the story with emotional impact. Take, for example, this passage that conveys the instant attraction of Erin towards the space soldier.
He keeps perfectly still and allows Erin to inspect him for as longs as she wants. She is intrigued by his exotic looks, puzzled by his magnetic aura. His thick dark eyebrows join together over the long thin nose. When he momentarily blinks, the glow from his pupils flashes through lush dark eyelashes. His slick silver hair flows over his thick neck and falls over his forehead in a jagged fringe. Her fingers play with his hair as she strokes his face, pressing hard on his cheeks and jawbones. Oh, he is real!
Then there are the love-related dilemmas that we all experience, albeit not with literally world-changing consequences. Erin’s competing desires to be with Rothwen and to protect the planet she has called home all these years have a profound effect on her.
There are also other loyalties making things complicated for Erin, such as towards Sam, as well as the uncertainty over her intoxicating lover’s true intentions towards her. Will he ever be able to truly love her, or is this passion so alien to his species that it is just a passing phase?
Given the cosmic gulf between our star-crossed lovers, the angst and drama on display is all the more spectacular.
Closely associated with love is the theme of identity. Erin, in the process of becoming part of the Rom-Ghenshar, wrestles constantly with this problem, wondering if it is either freedom from a dull life or the worst decision she will ever make.
You could view the narrative, in a sense, as a coming-of-age story, packed with the heart-ache and excitement that comes with self-discovery.
It also ventures into the realm of eco-fiction (stories that consider the impact of humankind on the environment). Certainly, one of the questions raised is whether the Earth is actually worth saving, given how badly we have cared for it.
Other big ideas investigated by Williams include whether humanity is capable of redemption, what is the true nature of humanity, and whether it simply nature’s law for those more powerful to exploit and exterminate weaker lifeforms.
These are neatly wrapped within a winning storyline and vivid world full of fascinating sights and compelling characters.
YA readers are the primary audience, but anyone with a taste for soft sci-fi or romance will want to jump aboard this rollercoaster ride, which has many twists and turns to keep your interest.
As a bonus, The Space Traveller’s Lover also features appealing black and white illustrations between chapters, similar to those found in graphic novels. While Williams’ prose is perfectly descriptive in itself, these illustrative additions only help enhance the immersive experience.
Clever and timely, the book is the first in a planned series, and lends itself perfectly to cinematic adaptation.
In conclusion, sci-fi author Omara Williams’ debut novel is a remarkable tour de force. If there is one YA book to read in 2022, this is it.
Review by SWNS, UK – 20th October 2022:
– “Author Omara Williams is leading the way in the rising genre of sci-fi romance.”
By Jess Young
– “Thrilling from start to finish—The Space Traveller’s Lover is a must-read.”
The course of true love never did run smooth, as Shakespeare put it, and in the winning new sci-fi romance novel The Space Traveller’s Lover by Omara Williams, we see the truth of this maxim dialled up to maximum.
For, at the centre of this engrossing story, is the challenging relationship between an exceptional young woman, Erin, and a dashing alien, Rothwen.
INTO A NEW WORLD
Changed, and given the new name of “Shaillah”, she is able to visit the home world of the Rom-Ghenshars, which is majestically alien and vividly described by the author, whose writing is lyrical and sensitive in equal measure.
The catch, however, is that she must forsake her humanity, and move on from those she has cared for in her former life, not least Sam.
The temptation is intense, both for the opportunity to be with the almost irresistible Rothwen and to enjoy a sense of belonging that has previously been lacking.
ONE OF A KIND DILEMMA
But suspicious of the Rom-Ghenshars and their plans, she is hesitant. Locked in this heart-wrenching dilemma is more than personal fulfilment; a wrong decision could spell annihilation for all of humankind.
The Space Traveller’s Lover is one of those books that quickly captivates the reader’s attention – not least through the gorgeous black and white illustrations between chapters – and never lets go until the stunning finale, throwing in fast-paced action and a generous supply of twists-and-turns along the way.
What I loved the most about it, and there’s a lot to adore, is that the conflict is between two characters who have won your heart.
The fact that Rothwen & Shaillah share an electric fondness and are trying to determine whether they have a future together – while also battling over the fate of an entire planet – is simply without parallel.
Williams conveys this vulnerability so well, with the rich, delicate language that gilds the narrative, immersing you in their plight.
Like with a pure romance, you are desperate for the couple to embrace and are stung by the same pains that separate them on love’s battlefield.
At the same time, your mind is whirring double-time as the author raises many profound questions concerning the nature of the human condition, the meaning of home and belonging, loyalty vs duty, and our mistreatment of Mother Nature.
I like how the day will be won, or lost, through emotions, not brute strength. Erin is the voice of compromise and reason against an alien force that professes superiority yet fails to act in kind.
Her caring and compassion – the very qualities that Rothwen and his kind insist on stamping out – will be pivotal to how events play out.
And it is a fight on many levels – for her identity, her world, and her impossible love with Rothwen, which will take every ounce of her being to resolve.
There is so much to commend here but, mostly, I like how the story makes us reflect on our own actions and constantly reminds us that it is love, not hate, that holds the key to all problems.
While the novel is marketed as young adult fiction, aficionados of science fiction and romance will revel in it regardless of age.
And the fact that author Omara is as big a fan of science as adventure stories enables her to paint on the biggest canvas, the universe, while imbuing it with warmth and sentiment.
With her sensational, sensitive debut, The Space Traveller’s Lover, Author Omara Williams is leading the way in the rising genre of sci-fi romance.