Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke

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Review: Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke
Dissonance
Erica O'Rourke
Series: Dissonance #1
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Publication date: July 22nd 2014
by Simon & Schuster BfYR

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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.
-A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada for review-

Incredibly well thought-out with fascinating world building, Dissonance is a really good sci-fi with a heavy dose of romance.

Delancy is a Walker, she has a genetic ability to manipulate matter and visit alternate worlds created by the choices people make. Walkers monitor and fix anomalies that affect the key world. I was wary of this premise at first, it’s something that could have been a huge flop if the world building was lacking, fortunately it’s anything but. It’s clear that a ton of research – not to mention creativity – went into crafting the world inside Dissonance. It has an impressive amount of detail, it’s ambitious, and, more as a warning: it’s also hard to grasp. Kinda like the Tempest series by Julie Cross; it’s a series I highly appreciated for its intricate, but mind-boggling time-travel science, while others simply found themselves overwhelmed and lost inside the labyrinth of worlds and possibilities. Dissonance could be just as easily baffling, but for those who enjoy this kind of carefully executed sci-fi that takes a perplexing concept like alternate realities and makes it work, this is one book that won’t disappoint you. You just have to give it all your attention – it’s not a light read.

Scientific technicalities aside, the world is also described with great cinematic qualities. It involves threads of musical frequencies through which the worlds are connected and can be traveled, and I could clearly picture it all in my mind. How they manipulate the threads to walk, how a world gets cleaved, how a break feels; it’s all so descriptive and rich. On the other hand, this also makes us wish for more. The book had so much potential that went untapped. We could have seen alternate worlds that would have blown our minds. O’Rourke clearly has the writing style and creativity to pull off all kinds of unimaginable alternate realities, but instead we stuck with almost identical worlds from ours. I did enjoy this book for what it was, but it could have been much more.

What we do get a lot of are thought-provoking conversations, some about choices and “what-ifs”, others about the echoes: are the people “real”? Is cleaving moral? It offers an extra layer of depth to the story. It also drums up conspiracies and hints of a secretive society which, I’m sure, will make for a great 2nd/3rd book. This book does run on the long side – some things could easily have been shaved down – though, personally, I was having too much fun with the concepts and world-building to be bored.

I hope you like romance with your sci-fi! While it didn’t bring out all the feels, it’s got a forbidden love aspect, a unique twist, and they do have great chemistry. Simon just never truly clicked with me; I didn’t find him all that compelling. The mystery surrounding him and his echoes does keep his storyline intriguing, however. The most compelling character, without a doubt, falls to Del’s grandpa. I loved their easy relationship, and his practical, often rebellious behaviour is quite amusing. It makes up for the drag that her sister is, thankfully. Then there’s Del’s friendship with Eliot. I wanted him to be the love interest so badly, and I hated how Del lead him on. Being in denial of his feelings for her doesn’t make it okay; she very well knew what his deal was (EVERYONE knew!!). Aside from this, I liked Del as a protagonist. She’s stubborn and daring, and I rooted for her while she defied ALL of the rules! >.<

All in all, Dissonance is likely to be a hit or miss for some. The impressively well crafted concept and attention to detail is what I loved the most. It's a book I would recommend to fans of the Tempest series, and it also reminded me a bit of Crewel (science-wise, this one is not a dystopian).

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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19 Responses to “Review: Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    One of the biggest issues I have with scifi and alternate universe books is that a lot of time the world building leaves a lot to be desired with a meager description and a silly explanation. This is why Dissonance appeals to me. I put it off at first, but all these positive reviews have me itching to read the book. It looks like the author went into depth when writing the world and I like the sound of the creativity and imagination too.
    It’s a shame you weren’t convinced with Simon’s character, but if the world building and the plot is good, I’m all for the book! :)
    Lovely review, Giselle. :)
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : Rebel Belle by Rachel HawkinsMy Profile

  2. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    I’m very excited for this one now that you said it has a lot of research and depth. The world sounds complicated but Dissonance sounds like an intelligent book with the moral issues. I’m hoping the romance works for me. Glad you liked it!
    P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex recently posted…Three Picks: CanLit YAMy Profile

  3. Ella

    I am not really a sci-fi kind of reader but that “heavy dose of romance” line makes me interested in this book. Usually I get bored because sometimes sci-fi books tend to overly narrate world building and back history but as you have mentioned, those thought provoking conversations are way too interesting to keep me reading so I have to try this one once it comes out this month.

    Awesome review Giselle and thanks for sharing your review. :)
    Ella recently posted…Review: This Summer by Katlyn DuncanMy Profile

  4. Henrietta

    I’ve been debating if I’d add this to my pre-order – I like the synopsis but it has been receiving so many mixed reviews! Thanks for taking the time to review and bring more clarity about the story for us! I can now see why the book can be a hit or miss. You’re brilliant with words, Giselle! :)
    Henrietta recently posted…Breathe Annie Breathe – Miranda KenneallyMy Profile

  5. Amber (YA Indulgences)

    Wow, the summary just rolled right off my tongue as did your lovely review. This book sounds fascinating, honestly, I’ve never really been a super big science fiction fan, but the idea of other worlds intrigues me. It’s a shame the author didn’t, as you said, blow our minds with unimaginable alternate realities. However, that can be overlooked because I’m very curious about this book. One more to add to my ever growing to-be read list. :)
    Amber (YA Indulgences) recently posted…Welcome To Young Adult Indulgences!My Profile

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