Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke
Book One of the Dissonance series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
Ooo, I liked this book a lot! I'm not sure if I was expecting to like it, before reading it, but I can say that I've been waiting to read this book for over a year, and not just because S&S released the gorgeous cover early. I'm really fascinated with the concept of parallel worlds. O'Rourke approaches the concept in an interesting (and slightly confusing) way. I'm hooked!
Del is a Walker, one who can enter and leave Echo worlds, which are like parallel worlds, but they aren't real. They're worlds that exist because of choices - they are Echo worlds, the worlds that don't technically exist, because a different choice was made. Del makes a mistake and cleaves a world (meaning, she unraveled it, made it not exist anymore), and suddenly, it seems like her actions have serious consequences. Something is very wrong with the other Echo worlds, and Del, being Del, is determined to figure it out, despite the fact that she is all but banned from Walking.
I LOVE the awesome world (worlds?) that O'Rourke has created! I can't imagine the amount of research and imagination and creativity that must have went into perfecting the world/worlds of this book! Everything is very complex, tangled, intertwined. Keep in mind, this book is NOT a time-travel novel. Nothing Del does in the Echo worlds affects what goes in the Key world. Except for making that Echo world disappear. But that turns out not to be her fault, as readers should expect. There is something greater afoot, something bigger than just one world being cleaved by a slightly unskilled girl. I loved all of the complications of the alternate worlds, all of the quirks and risks, the simple things (like the frequencies), and the big ones (like the inversions).
Del is reckless and fearless - it's very clear in this book. In so many YA books, we see "strong" heroines who are actually girls who are terrified of making decisions. In this book, Del doesn't even think about her decisions - it seems to be intrinsic to her, to break the rules, to keep Walking, to keep seeking out Echo Simon (and real Simon). I love this fearlessness in her. It's very reckless, and sometimes foolish, but it's a wonderful quality to have, in my opinion.
I love Simon, the male protagonist. This book is super long, and a good portion of this book is about him specifically. Del keeps seeing him everywhere in Echo worlds - and the thing is, none of the Echo should even SEE her, let alone recognize her. In real life, Simon thinks he's day-dreaming, so he doesn't think what he sees in the Echo worlds are real. But Simon is a huge part of Del's focus. Why can he see her? Why does his Echoes remember in each Echo world? And why does she care about him so much, both the Echoes and the real him (which are technically the same person)?
Simon is a cocky guy, but he is also persistent and sweet. I do love that combination, especially in a guy. We get to know more about Echo Simon (all the variations), and we get to know more about real Simon, and while I really like Doughnut Echo Simon, real Simon is my favorite. Obviously, not only is he a plot point and pivotal character in this novel, but he is also a love interest. Him and Del don't have the easiest relationship (thanks to all the Walker secrecy), but I do like them together.
Speaking of the romance... I liked the romance. I liked the chemistry between Del and Simon. I liked the on-and-off tension, the flirting, the hot-and-cold act. Usually I'd get sick of it quickly, but I loved the back-and-forth between Del and Simon. I thought there would be a love triangle, but thank goodness that "leg" of the love triangle is one-sided. Never mind that I mentioned anything about a love triangle. Think DEL AND SIMON. Because that's that.
I liked that this book focused a bit on relationships (other than romance). Del spends the book furious at her sister, who basically turned her in when she made the mistake of cleaving the Echo world (despite the fact that Del saved Addie's life, when Addie the Perfect Walker froze up). I didn't like Addie at all, but she had her merits and uses. I didn't really like Eliot, Del's best friend, though he definitely had his uses. He's a genius, but he seriously needs to get laid. There is also Del's relationship with her parents - for the duration of this book, it seems like Del is pissed at her parents for going with her punishment for cleaving the world, and pissed at them for never being there. Totally understandable. And finally, there is Del's relationship with her grandfather, Monty. I liked Monty, even until the end.
Basically, I really enjoyed this book! I don't think I need to say anymore. I'll definitely be catching the second book (thank goodness there will be a second book)!
What I Did Not Like:
I think one of the only things that I didn't really like was the amount of terms that I really didn't understand too well. Like, the Baroque world, and inversions. I can kind of figure out that inversions are sort of like ripples in the world, or wrinkles? Maybe? I'm not even sure. Because that sounds too much like a Break. And Baroque worlds? I've got nothing.
There is a lot going in this book, both directly relating to the alternate worlds and indirectly relating to the alternate worlds, so there is plenty of room for confusion in this book in general. I had a bit of trouble with the alternate words and the terms (as I mentioned), as well as some of the limitations and rules of the Echo worlds, but I think a re-read as well as the sequel might solidify my understanding of the parts of the alternate worlds that I don't currently understand.
Would I Recommend It:
If you're a science fiction person, then DEFINITELY! I'm going to give a solid maybe, if you're not a science fiction person. This book is long and very heavily involved in the alternate worlds and the science of everything. The romance definitely fills in the book though. So. There's that.
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars because of the slightly confusing elements, and the slightly cliff-hanger-like ending. I'm not saying anything else about the ending though. Read the book for yourself, you'll see what I mean!
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