Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dissonance by Erika O'Rourke

Dissonance by Erika O'Rourke
Release Date - July 22, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 498 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
The tease of 'what if'. The wistfulness of the path not taken. Everyone wonders what would have happened if they made a different choice. Dissonance plays with that idea, and creates a vivid world where each of those possibilities plays out in alternate worlds. It's a dizzying, unique novel that does have a few elements I didn't connect with.

The world building is by far the most stunning aspect of this story. Intricate, complex, and imaginative. It's easy to get lost in the parallel worlds Delancy loves exploring. This aspect of the novel is laid out in a way that, while confusing at first, is fairly easy to follow once you're immersed in the story. There are a few moments of information overload, but it's rewarding if you stick with it.

Delancy is stubborn, disregards rules like they are not even there, and is filled with attitude. She'll be a hit with most readers, and it was easy to be charmed by her. Her easy banter with her grandfather was another delightful aspect to her development. The thing I appreciated most about her was that she didn't back down. She went after things, and did things, because she felt they were the right decision.

Little teases of things not being what they seem, and slow unraveling of everything Delancy thought was true provided a tense, thrilling atmosphere. These elements will ensure readers turn the pages late into the night, even if the other elements don't quite mesh. The careful world building, and it's deconstruction is done with plenty of forethought. It's something I am looking forward seeing expanded on in further installments.

The romance is a large part of the story. It even sometimes takes over the story a little. Del's crushed on Simon from a distance for a while. To everyone but Delancy it's evident that her best friend Eliot is in love with her. The main issue with the romance is that you get to know Eliot so much more than you do Simon. Connecting with Eliot is easy. I predict that plenty of readers will want him to be with Del. Simon is a bit of a mystery. Time is spent with his echoes which makes it feel like we're getting to know many different Simons, and as a result feeling connected to none of them. Even with Delancy's laser focus on Simon, the novel itself practically screams love triangle.

Questions of morality, and what makes us human are lightly teased throughout. This novel gives plenty to discuss and doesn't force feed an answer. The author allows the reader to decide what they want, much like the characters themselves. There are multiple view points given, and each reader will get something different out of it.  The governing body, the Council of Walkers, adds another mysterious layer to the story that definitely will ensure readers are back for the sequel. The questions left from this book will make it nearly impossible to not follow through with the second.

A unique premise, and well built world were enough to keep me turning the pages. It's romance let a little to be desired, and more character growth would have pushed an intriguing idea even further. It's one that may not be for everyone, but those who love complex, layered worlds, and rich back story will find plenty of that here, if they can overlook the minor issues.

1 comment:

  1. I really loved the world-building, too Erika. I thought the writing was beautiful too, and I can't wait to read more about Del :)
    Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews


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