Original, absorbing, and enjoyable
I read The Fifth Surgeon when it was released last year and really like it. Considering it’s a debut, the book was very well written and had a lot of food for thought. Now that the audio version was released, narrated by Abby Craden, I couldn’t pass the chance to get immersed in this story again…
Nadia Keating is a cardiothoracic fellow with incredible potential to make a breakthrough in her specialty but with a huge God complex. Focused on exploring her attraction to women, she embarks on an anonymous search for a one-night stand that unwittingly leads to her boss. Ashley Rylan, the chief of Nadia’s department, is exactly the opposite of Nadia, soft-spoken, sweet, and agreeable. A casual fling with her department fellow is a recipe for disaster but Nadia is as annoying as beautiful and the temptation is too much. How will both women be able to navigate the pressures of work, research, and love?
This is not a typical medical romance. Starting from the title and continuing to the plot twists, to the main characters’ relationship, and even the amount, type, and detail of the medical scenes. The author’s approach is fresh, original, and brave. Ms. Prize doesn’t shy away from controversy both in the medical scope and in the relationship aspects. It’s a blunt approach that might not satisfy every reader but will make this novel hard to forget for those of us who liked it.
Medical romances vary in the ratio of medical scenes against romance and, in some cases, the medical aspects are just reduced to the background with one or two hospital scenes featured as a backdrop. This is not the case as this novel is at least half medical, half romance. The author is a doctor herself and it shows, not only in the level of detail of the medical scenes but also in the amount of medicine history poured into the pages. I was happily surprised that all the information didn’t sound excessive or too technical. The author manages to clarify the medical procedures and terms without sounding preachy or boring. I’m not sure if everyone will enjoy the amount of information but, at least, a non-medical reader will understand everything that is being described. There is also an element of science fiction to the medical plot and some ethical considerations to be made but they make sense in the universe the author created. I’m going to keep it vague to avoid spoilers.
In the beginning, I wasn’t as engaged with the romance as with the medical plot. Nadia is a hard-to-like character but I understand why the author fleshed her out that way. I guess that geniuses tend to be full of themselves (surgeons even more) and even though Nadia sounds authentic, she’s initially unlikeable. Some will describe her as an ice queen, but to me she seemed more in the spectrum, ignorant about social clues, lacking communication skills, and sometimes even being outright rude or cruel. Eventually, the reader starts to understand her actions and, hopefully, warm up to her. Kudos to the author for writing her so convincingly and for not falling into the temptation to write a popular character. Cleverly, Ms. Prize writes Ashley as her exact opposite which balances things out and makes them a credible couple as they complement each other well. Their chemistry together is very good and the sex scenes sizzling hot. Praise to the author for getting this so right in her debut novel.
Abby Craden is an excellent choice as the narrator for this story and, as usual, does an awesome job. Her voices for the different characters are all very distinctive and her portrayal of aloof Nadia vs. agreeable Ashley is fantastic. Ms. Craden made all the medical procedures and historical info sound engaging and easy to grasp. If you are into medical romances, you should give this a try as it’s original, absorbing, and enjoyable. 5 stars.
Length: 9 hours, 42 minutes