Empathy by Fay Lee. Review by Meesha Whittam:

Empathy book cover

“An Insanely Interesting Novel, Written Expertly…”

Empathy by Fay Lee is a thrilling science fiction novel centred around a pleasure-nymph servicing the wealthy clients in Sky Town, one of many towns for the rich suspended above the earth’s pollution and overpopulation.

Empathy is superbly written, incorporating mystery, social politics, and commentary on the sex work industry to create this constantly twisting novel.

Throughout the novel, the story focuses on one pleasure-nymph and the aftermath of her kidnapping, as well as the myriad of encounters with her friends and clients in between.

This was such a surprising read—in a good way. I was taken aback by all of the twists and turns and I was constantly kept guessing about where the plot was heading.

Life of a Sci-Fi Sex Worker

The main character was excellently written. She was very layered and provided an interesting insight into an intense and complex sex work industry, which is unlike anything I have ever heard of.

The concept of the sex workers in this novel is astounding. They are augmented humans, entailing that in this case, they have extreme sensitivities to any kind of touch. In their line of work, through these augmentations, they are able to manipulate and intensify the sensations of their clients in order to magnify their pleasure.

I found it fascinating to read this novel and discover, along with the characters, the extent of deceit and complexities within the story. As this is a science fiction novel, the characters are relatively free to act as they wish within the realms of the story.

I found this certainly came across in the story, as the ideas seemed very free in the sense that nothing was limited to the ‘real’ world that we are familiar with. This allowed the characters and the story to be unpredictable and unlimited, which was very important in this novel.

Complex and varied characters

All the characters were varied and effectively provided different perspectives on a number of the events and occurrences in the story. There were clear-cut characters, as well as those, like the main character, who were more complex. Within this, there were characters who were easy to hate and those who were harder to figure out.

All these added complexities, as well as the story itself, made for an insanely interesting novel.

I genuinely enjoyed this book by Fay Lee. Although it isn’t something I would usually read, I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity of the story and the expertise of the writing.

Relatable fiction

The world in which the story is set is quite far-fetched, with its floating towns above the earth. However, it draws parallels with issues in our own current world, such as class structures and sex workers experiencing disrespect, that I appreciated reading about in this context.

I also found the commentary on the future of our world fascinating. There were a few points in the story that made me uncomfortable, and that took me out of the story slightly, but overall I absolutely loved this story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys any novel related to the subjects of science fiction, fantasy, futuristic, and dystopian.

Buy this outstanding book via the Hawkeye store, any good bookstores or borrow at your local library.

Learn more about Fay Lee via her Hawkeye author page.

If you enjoyed Empathy, we’d love you to post a review on Goodreads here.

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