DissonanceWritten by Erica O'Rourke
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - 7/22/2014)Series: Dissonance #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC (496 pages)
Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.
Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.
But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.
FTC Disclosure: This book was provided to me from the author or publisher (Edelweiss), free of charge, with the understanding that my intention is to read it and provide feedback in the form of an honest review. I am not compensated in any way in exchange for positive reviews, and I don’t let anything other than the book's contents affect my opinions and review.
This book has been on my radar for over a year, because not only is the cover gorgeous, but I am a huge sucker for multiverse stories. I just cannot resist, because I love seeing each author’s interpretation and exploration of the whole multiverse / parallel worlds and universes concept. So naturally, as soon as I saw it available on Edelweiss, I requested it — and was over the moon when my request was granted! But did it live up to my hopes and expectations?
In most ways, Dissonance delivered.
Dissonance struck a chord with me (pun very much intended, snicker snicker) in more ways than one, which made me very happy. O’Rourke’s intertwining of string theory with music theory was a very welcome and accessible approach, which I really appreciated. She took a subject that could be very complicated (and is, at its heart) and put it into terms that were easier to grab and understand as a layman.
“Every choice we make is both a sacrifice and an opportunity.”
I am a huge fan of music — string instruments in particular — so even though I don’t do much music playing and I don’t know much music theory, I could deeply appreciate the rules surrounding the Key World and its Echoes as Delancey was learning about and interacting with them. Each chapter begins with a snippet of information pulled from one of Del’s Walker textbooks, which helped to relate the concept being explored and helped ground me even further in the world(s).
The depth of some themes, the richness of the world-building, and the surprising plot points all served to keep me engaged and excited about this book. I loved that even though there is a lot of romance, it actually serves multiple purposes in the story, in a way that was convincing and satisfying!
So what were its weak points?
For me, the only real issue was the somewhat heavy focus on romance. Maybe this is actually a good balance for a book that is otherwise pretty rich with themes of science and music and morality. But at the same time, it also kind of kept me from fully immersing myself in the story.
“Given a choice, it seems like pity would be easier to bear than mockery, but that’s not true. Mockery hardens defenses; pity slips through, finds the softest places you have, and slices to the bone.
Pity will break you, every time.”
I loved how much this book made me think, and it brought up some great discussion topics between my husband and me. But at the same time, I am hesitant to recommend that he read this book, because I know the quantities of romance-focus will turn him off. Sigh. It’s a tough balance.