Review: False Hearts by Laura Lam


Orphan Black meets Inception: Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult.

Raised in the closed cult of Mana’s Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. From then on they pursue lives beyond anything they could have previously imagined.

Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins’ home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder—the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Tila is suspected of involvement with the Ratel, a powerful crime syndicate that deals in the flow of Zeal, a drug that allows violent minds to enact their darkest desires in a terrifying dreamscape. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin’s life. But during her investigation Taema discovers disturbing links between the twins’ past and their present. Once unable to keep anything from each other, the sisters now discover the true cost of secrets.


I was sent a copy of this book to review upon request.  I liked the sound of the blurb and I’ve been having some really successful and enjoyable reads when it came to adult fiction and want to try to vary my reading much more this year.  Reading the same sort of stories over and over only leads to apathy.

Tila and Taema are conjoined twins born into a small, confined community just outside San Fransisco.  The community is locked off from the outside society and seen as a bit of an oddity from the rest of world.  It’s cut off from technology and a lot of life that makes Tila and Taema slowly curious and longing to escape but their health soon takes a turn for the worse and their forced to seek outside help.  Now; isolated from their old life and separated, they’ve grown into this new, advanced world around them.  With that comes temptations and evils though and Tila becomes involved in some of the dark underbelly of San Fransisco.  It’s now up to Taema to try to prove her sister’s innocence in a crime and work with those that believe she’s guilty.  Will both twins survive or will the darkness consume them?

I’m a bit hit and miss when it comes to sci-fi novels because it has to hit the right vein and tone, for me, in order for me to buy into the ideas and storyline.  It’s a difficult balance for any writer but science fiction adds a whole new level of woes and tricks that have to be employed.  Laura Lam has stepped up to the plate and created a world that isn’t too far ahead of our own but just enough to make all the action a little bit cooler and slicker.  I loved the use of dual narrative and how we jumped between both twins’ memories and experiences; filling in the blanks and explaining what the other can’t see or understand fully.  Two people who are so alike can be so very different and it serves the story well.

I did find False Hearts a hard read at times because there were moments that I really enjoyed and then others that I found a little ‘guessable’.  I don’t want to say predictable because I think that does this author a disservice when the book isn’t bad but perhaps not quite what I was looking for.  It’s a clever book that has a great sense of adventure and mystery and I’m it’ll have heaps of fans begging for more.

Published by Macmillan Books and is available online and in bookshops now

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