“People die. Love doesn’t.”
Running from an awkward break up, Elizabeth takes a job on Ardagh 1, known as the Ghost Planet, because all the colonists have an alien life form in the guise of a lost loved one. But Elizabeth never expected that her transport would go down on the way and she would end up dead. Now she’s the “ghost” of Murphy, the prominent psychologist who created the Ghost Protocol that requires all colonists to ignore their ghosts completely. Murphy’s convictions are put to the test, as Elizabeth tries to figure out what the ghosts existence could really mean and if they’re truly the threat the colonists believe them to be.
I absolutely loved this book and found it so incredibly interesting. The concept of the ghosts was really unique and it kept me hooked through the entire story, just waiting to find out more. The ideas might have been light on realistic science fiction but I didn’t really care because I was enjoying it so much. There’s also a great blend of science fiction and romance; I never felt that one genre was being neglected. Told completely from Elizabeth’s POV, the writing was smooth and fast paced, and I enjoyed Elizabeth’s intellect and her enthusiasm. I wouldn’t have minded some POV from Murphy, but overall, Fisher does a great job of getting his feelings and thoughts across.
This was probably the most unique forbidden romance trope that I’ve read. Colonists are required to ignore their ghosts in order to “tame” and control them. When the ghosts first showed up, the colonists believed they were a threat because they caused such mental and emotional instability in the colonists. After all, they thought their loved ones had returned from the dead. But Murphy did realize Elizabeth was a ghost when they first met and the chemistry between them was electric. These two immediately have a connection and they each struggle with the situation they are faced with. Murphy is confronted with the possibility that his Ghost Protocol was wrong and in fact harmful and Elizabeth is struggling with being dead but feeling so alive. She’s naturally curious and inquisitive and she’s determined to figure out what’s going on.
Elizabeth and Murphy’s chemistry also keeps things on fire and I loved their growing relationship as they come to understand each other. Their initial resistance creates some wonderful tension as they try to maintain distance. But once they let go, these two burn up the sheets while also being incredibly sweet and loving. As a caution, some readers might not be comfortable with how Murphy and Elizabeth’s first time having sex comes about (see bottom of page for spoiler), but I felt it was explained and handled really well.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and was immediately sucked into the plot and the mystery surrounding the ghosts. Both Elizabeth and Murphy were great characters that I loved rooting for and I was captivated by their forbidden love story. A truly rich and well described world, with intriguing characters, and fascinating concepts.
••• Book Details •••
Romance, Science Fiction • Tor • October 30, 2012
A world in peril. A bond deeper than love.
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world – a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy – creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone – oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love – Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man she loves.
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Murphy and Elizabeth are being held for breaking the Ghost Protocol and the scientist in charge, Mitchell, is playing mind games with them. She wants a human/alien baby, so she tells Murphy that she will “detach” them, which will most likely kill Elizabeth unless Murphy sleeps with Elizabeth. Trying to protect Elizabeth, Murphy goes through with it without telling Elizabeth. Eventually Elizabeth finds out and is justifiably upset about it because she feels like her choice was taken away. They struggle for a bit to overcome this obstacle but eventually work things out.