Osiris – E.J. Swift

About the book

Nobody leaves Osiris. Osiris is a lost city. She has lost the world and world has lost her…

Rising high above the frigid waters, the ocean city of Osiris has been cut off from the land since the Great Storm fifty years ago. Most believe that Osiris is the last city on Earth, while others cling to the idea that life still survives somewhere beyond the merciless seas. But for all its inhabitants, Citizens and refugees alike, Osiris is the entire world–and it is a world divided.

Adelaide is the black-sheep granddaughter of the city’s Architect. A jaded socialite and family miscreant, she wants little to do with her powerful relatives–until her troubled twin brother disappears mysteriously. Convinced that he is still alive, she will stop at nothing to find him, even if it means uncovering long-buried secrets.

Vikram, a third-generation storm refugee quarantined with thousands of others in the city’s impoverished western sector, sees his own people dying of cold and starvation while the elite of Osiris ignore their plight. Determined to change things, he hopes to use Adelaide to bring about much-needed reforms–but who is using who?

As another brutal winter brings Osiris closer to riot and revolution, two very different people, each with their own agendas, will attempt to bridge the gap dividing the city, only to find a future far more complicated than either of them ever imagined.

Osiris is the beginning of an ambitious new science fiction trilogy exploring a near-future world radically transformed by rising seas and melting poles.

Published by Night Shade Books
Author’s webpage

This book was sent for me to review by the author.

You can purchase this book by clicking on the following link – Osiris: Book One of the Osiris Project


I have received a lot of really interesting, very unique books recently and I’ve been loving every second of it. It seems like speculative fiction is really starting to branch out. Gone are the days where amazing, epic books only contained elves and castles. Speculative fiction is a genre I’m incredibly excited about, and very proud of. Authors are exploring new ideas. The sky is the limit, and the books are reflecting that. Mixed with this is our wonderful digital age where news spreads across the globe in seconds and with a little typing you can learn whatever you want to know about whatever culture strikes your fancy. All of this is reflected in the books that are starting to come out. Books are filled with unique, diverse cultures. There are more characters of color and myriads of unique backgrounds. The worlds are filled with complex issues that reflect many societal problems in our own world. Speculative fiction is becoming a genre of what ifs, as well as a genre authors use to introduce readers to complex ideas and themes.

Here’s where you say, “Hey, Sarah, that’s wonderful. Once you get down from your soapbox would you mind telling me what the hell this has to do with Osiris by E.J. Swift?”

Actually, my diatribe is more reflective of Night Shade Books more than anything else. It seems as though Night Shade has been grabbing titles that are ahead of the speculative fiction curve. Night Shade puts out books that are unique and fresh, a cut above and ahead of the rest, then the rest of the genre catches on and starts following in their footsteps. Osiris is no different. Osiris plays on everything that I listed in the first paragraph. It’s full of deeper meanings, both political and societal, and it has no problems pointing fingers at the guilty parties.

As with most dystopian books, the rich are superrich and the poor are superpoor and the line between them is sharp and divisive. One can’t help but wonder how the rich can live with themselves while the poor barely manage to survive. On the other hand, you have to wonder how exactly the poor manage to survive when the cards are all stacked against them. Of course there are social issues. A band of the poor are tired of being trodden on, so they are attempting to rise up and change the plight of the poor, huddled masses. There are skirmishes, jail sentences and punishments by death. On the other hand, the rich have their own power struggles and scandals that consume their time. While they all share the same city, it often feels that the rich and the poor are worlds apart.

In this respect, Swift surpasses many other fantasy authors. Swift’s world is complex and these complexities are very emotionally compelling and deep. Many of the issues that Swift brings to light in her city of Osiris are reminiscent of our own world and the glaring line between the untouchable elite and the downtrodden impoverished. Mixed into this are the two main characters, Vikram, a young man from the poor side of town and Adalaide, a young woman from one of the most important families in Osiris. Perhaps this is really where the problems begin. Vikram, for a man who has been in and out of jail and has been involved in many of the movements for the poor, is shockingly naive and Adalaide never manages to fully connect with the readers.

I’m not quite sure if the fault really rests on the shoulders of the characters, or if the disconnect between the reader and characters is due to a much more important problem: pacing. Osiris lacks any discernable pace, which is a shame because Swift’s writing and world are superb and deliciously complex. There is no real hook that will sink into the reader and pull them along. Events happen when they happen, but nothing really draws the reader through the book. It’s incredibly easy to put the Osiris down between chapters. Once the complexities of the world and social classes become obvious, readers might feel more drawn to the plot, but otherwise, while interesting things happen, it’s never interesting enough to keep you up at night reading page after page.

Despite that, The Osiris Project is promising to be a very interesting series and, while there were issues with a clunky, disjointed pace and lackluster characters, I’m anxiously waiting to see what Swift has coming at us next. Osiris is the start of a fascinating series which proudly showcases the evolution of speculative fiction.

3/5 stars

3 Responses

  • This is the second review that seems to inhabit that sort of space in regards to feelings about the book. Hunh.

    Thanks, Sarah!

    • BookwormBlues

      Yeah, I’m kinda embarrssed. I never read reviews until I post mine, but mine and Justin’s share many opinions.

      I guess great minds think alike…

  • This looks very interesting.
    Which means there’s going to another book on my to-buy list from this blog.
    -You’re expensive to know, Sarah ;-P

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