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False Hearts

(Pacifica #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,530 ratings  ·  310 reviews
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 begin
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by Macmillan (first published June 14th 2016)
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Laura Lam It's the first of a series of standalone books set in the same world. False Hearts can definitely be read on its own. …moreIt's the first of a series of standalone books set in the same world. False Hearts can definitely be read on its own. (less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,530 ratings  ·  310 reviews

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Emily May
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016
“Sign on, and … pretend to be my sister?”
“Yes. You’d go undercover into the deepest, darkest underbelly of San Francisco.”

4 1/2 stars. I guess I should be reading more science fiction because if this and Railhead are anything to go by, the genre is exploding with goodness this year.

Are you ready for a futuristic world full of criminals, twisted cults and undercover operations? Are you ready to delve into this dark future San Francisco, plagued by psychoactive drugs and shared dreaming? Are
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016, sci-fi
Now that was awesome!! There is so much to be found within these pages. Formerly conjoined twins, a creepy cult, a futuristic world filled with all kinds of neat tech such as hovercars, VeriChips, auditory & ocular implants (more on that later), psychoactive drugs that bring you into dreamscapes, an organized crime group similar to the mob, shared dreaming, a murder to start everything off, and so much more. I could not get enough!

I hadn’t heard much about this one. It’s quite surprising conside
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

After years without reading science fiction (because really, who cares about aliens anymore?), I decided to try and find some new authors because you know what? The real world sucks sometimes, and escaping it seems wonderful to me right now. Please feel free to send me your recs, and a big thank you to Emily for her review without which I would have never heard of False Hearts.

*looking at the news*

*turning my ocular implants off*

I don't know what's worst, really : reading about a futurist wo
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I love the diversity and futuristic aspects. The technology is so fascinating and there are just so many cool aspects to this story. I would highly recommend!
Laura Lam
Edit June 15, 2017: If you've read False Hearts and crosspost your Goodreads review to a book retailer (Amazon, B&N, Waterstones, etc), I'll send you a signed bookplate and a bookmark as thanks. More info here:


I made this with my words.

A little about this book:

- Stars formerly conjoined twins (grew up conjoined and separated at 16). I imagine them looking like Suzana and Suzane Massena.

- They grew up in a cult set in the redwoods of Muir Woods

- San Fra
“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child.”

----Barbara Alpert

Laura Lam, an American author, pens a gripping and a mind
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I really enjoyed this book. Clearly author Laura Lam has been busy honing her craft in the years since her debut Pantomime, the novel that first introduced me to her wonderful writing and storytelling. She’s taken those skills to a whole other level with False Hearts–a very different novel from her previous work to be sure, but it’s no less gripping and emotionally impactful.

Taema and Tila are two of the most amazing chara
May 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I have to say right up front: I really dislike writing negative reviews. I'll try and be as specific as possible on what my issues were so you can judge whether or not you think those issues will bother you as well. I strongly believe just because one person loves/hates a book it doesn't mean everyone will. Still, this is one of those times where I feel like I read a very different book than the bulk of the reviewers out there. With glowing reviews at every turn, and ample comparisons to several ...more
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
My non-spoiler video review:
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2017, favourites

What an arresting premise! A twin has to take her sister's identity to enter a criminal syndicate in order to save her life. Well, that attracted my interest right there.

The story is set in a future San Francisco where everyone has been altered to be beautiful and crime is nearly extinct - well, on the surface of course - due to a drug called Zeal that allows people to purge their non-social and violent tendencies safely, while also pacifying them. Clubs offering this miracle cure, as well a
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic SF mystery thriller about a future San Francisco, a cult and now-separated conjoined twins who escaped the cult.

Taema answers the door to find her blood-covered twin sister Tila there. Soon after the police turn up and take Tila away, the first arrest for the first murder in San Francisco in decades. The use of the drug Zeal has suppressed most peoples violent urges and city is apparently peaceful and crime free. Of course the police want to interview Taema as well, but things get st
Amy Plum
I loved this book. The world-building totally sucked me in, the pace was relentless and I fell in love with the characters. Can't wait to dive into Shattered Minds now! ...more
ash c
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it

I'm going to try and rewrite everything again without throwing my laptop on the floor. I probably sound a bit snarky because writing this again is making me reflect, for the second time, all the things I didn't like about this book and that isn't pleasant.

The first thing I thought after I put down the book, after giving up halfway through it, was that it was nothing like Orphan Black or Inception. Both of the
Asghar Abbas
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it

Ah, sisterly love! Was it terribly contrived? Believable? I felt that that love was believable, what do we believe though, what do we know, what are we even talking about, I believe I do not know. Of Men and Monsters. I do know. Sigur Ros. Men are monsters. Simple. No matter the new Songs these days.

Since I can't seem to shake off the concept of twins, the very notion, an illusion of loyalty to be sure- in other words, quite borrowed from the White Rabbit I assure you, I am going for a swim so
Liz Barnsley
False Hearts was a dream read in more ways than one. Tagged as “Orphan Black meets Inception” that is actually not a bad analogy – but as well as all the scifi geekery and gorgeously imagined settings both in and out of the mind, this is also the story of two sisters and their changing relationship.

This is one of those novels that comes alive, not only because Laura Lam has a deft and extraordinarily imaginative eye for the small details that create a vivid world but because it has a surreal vib
An easily addictive and fascinating listen set in a ingenuously futuristic San Francisco.

A futuristic setting where we have flying cars, flesh parlors, and stasis for people who commit crimes. A seemingly meek society where there is virtually no crime…or is there? There are so many intriguing aspects to this…from conjoined twins who are separated and given false (mechanical) hearts to cult living and so much more…a must read for anyone that likes a complex setting mixed with hidden corruption wi
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
4.5. I really enjoyed this futuristic sci-fi x murder mystery novel. Great characters, wonderful sense of place, and a very interesting technological world.

I listened to this and was very impressed with how skilful the narrator was!
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting take on life in the future, I'd certainly take advantage of the youth, weight and hair colour advances!!

Conjoined twins, growing up in a cult seek life, individuality and a brighter future.
Marc Aplin
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
How would you react if the most important person in your life was being accused of a murder you know they couldn’t possibly have committed? How far would you go beyond your comfort zone to prove them innocent? Would you risk your future, even your life, to save theirs?

Taema and Tila were born as conjoined twins. The majority of their life they grew up in a cult-like environment within a small rural town, connected to a forest. Their life was quiet, secluded and literally together. Then, at the a
When her twin sister comes home covered in blood and is promptly arrested for murder Taema is convinced that there must be some kind of explanation. She is sure that Tila must be innocent no matter how much evidence is stacked against her. With the police determined to press charges there is only one thing standing between Tila and the death penalty and that's Taema. The police offer her one chance to save her twin's life, if Taema goes undercover as her sister and helps them bring down a drug s ...more
Greyson | Use Your Words
False Hearts: 4 ★'s
Shattered Minds: Lost Interest in Series

Orphan Black meets Inception
This was all it took for me to be sold on this book.
I could write a whole review on just how much I love Orphan Black but that's obviously not what we're here for so let me just say that when I stumbled across a book being marketed as similar as Orphan Black I was here for it and I had hella high hopes for it. I pretty much set if up for failure. But False Hearts hit every single expectation with a sledgeha
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you read only one story about conjoined twins who are raised in a cult but later escape to 22nd century cyberpunk-y neo-San Francisco where they go undercover in the mob and use psychedelic drugs to solve a murder, make it this one.
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Every once in awhile I come across a book that feels like it was written specifically with me in mind. It's flattering, despite the fact it obviously wasn't literally written specifically with me in mind. It's nice to know there's an author out there who was thinking "there are people out there who will want to read just this very thing" and one of those people turns out to be me. It's like getting a gentle ego massage from a total stranger. I greatly appreciate it.
False Hearts is a sci-fi thril
A BR with the group SpecFic Buddy Reads

I was truly mixed on this one.


- The author's vision of a future San Francisco and USA - In fact, I wanted to know more about the history of how it came to be.
- The backstory told by the formerly conjoined twin Tila was interesting and I thought the confessional journal format worked well

Liked Less:

- The bulk of the story is a murder mystery told by the other twin Teama and the writing style just didn't work for me. I don't have the skills critique it
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)

The type of book that is hard to write anything about because it's just so MUCH. And I can't say anything anyhow, as I read this in beta format and IT'S ALL SECRET. Mwuaha! All I'll say is that this is very, very fantastic, I love it, I need more and I don't want it to be over. But I DO want to see cover art and hold it once it's all shiny and published and re-read it again!

SO dang good Laura. SO GOOD.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I originally received this to review, and then didn’t get round to it, because I suck. So I bought the paperback last week, picked it up to read a page — and looked up 170 pages later. Suffice it to say, it sucked me in and I’m glad I finally read it — and that I have an eARC of Shattered Minds to read. And Lam’s other trilogy, too! Her writing works really well: it’s not stylised and beautiful like, say, Patricia McKillip or Ursula Le Guin, but it’s competent and strong and she brings across th ...more
3.5 stars

False Hearts is set in a near-future San Francisco, and it's about Taema and Tila, who are twins and were born conjoined on a cult called Mana's Hearth, a place where all the technology advancements are rejected and people live like they did in simpler times. The girls lead a quiet life until they're sixteen, and the heart they share begins to fail. Since there's no modern medicine allowed in their cult, they need to find a way to escape and to go into the city to have a chance at surv
Toya (the reading chemist)
Conjoined, identical twin sisters Taema and Tila grew up in Mana’s Hearth, a compound and cult just outside of San Francisco that shunned the use of technology. Taema and Tila’s shared heart begins to fail. They know their only option is to escape Mana’s Hearth to San Francisco and undergo surgery that will separate them and give them new artificial hearts.

Fast forward ten years, and Taema and Tila lead very different lives now that endless technology is at their disposal. Taema is gearing up to
4.5 stars!

Wow! This book is full of darkness, twists, highly developed technology, cults, villains, brain manipulation and death. This is fantastic!

Taema and Tila lived the first 16 years of their lives as conjoined twins, growing up in a cult on the outskirts of a highly modernised San Francisco: until the day they escape. On their escape from the cult, Taema and Tila undergo life saving surgery and begin their lives as individuals. The sisters know everything about each other, at least that's
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the reasons I want to read more Sci-fi. There is amazing world building with a strong focus on the futuristic technology which I found fascinating.
There were so many plot twists about how the whole story fit together and it still shocked me even when I guessed a few of them because it was so well written.
I loved the way it was set out, with one character telling the past with another telling the present it just made the story even more intriguing.

Seriously this book has so m
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Please contact me via the contact page on my website as opposed to GR mail.

Laura Lam was born in the late eighties and raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies.

After studying literature and creative writing at university, she relocated to Scotland to be with the partner she met online when they were teenagers and he insulted her taste in books and she insulted hi

Other books in the series

Pacifica (2 books)
  • Shattered Minds  (Pacifica, #2)

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