Series: Dissonance #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 22, 2014
Genres: contemporary, fantasy
Pages: 484 pages
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Every time someone makes a choice, a new parallel world is spun off the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, sneaking out instead of staying in bed—every decision creates an alternate universe in which an Echo self takes the road not travelled. As a Walker who can navigate between these realities, Del is training to help keep the dimensions in harmony.
When Del secretly starts to investigate other dissonant worlds, she get tangled up with an Echo of her longtime crush. She knows she shouldn't keep seeing him. But as Del persists, she uncovers a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide—a secret that threatens the entire multiverse.
The concept of Dissonance is one I’ve always found interesting, but haven’t read very much of- parallel universes. This book has a very intricate and fresh idea about a world with multiple universes that are based on sound and frequency.
In this world there is the primary Key World and an infinite number of other worlds that are created from the choices people make and are populated by alternate versions of people, called Echoes. There are a small number of people who can go between these worlds, called Walkers, who destroy any broken worlds to maintain the Key World.
I loved the world of this story. It managed to take a very complicated concept and describe it in a way that wasn’t heavy on the exposition, wasn’t too confusing, and worked well as an intrinsic part of the plot. I loved how the plot was mainly rooted in the mechanics of the parallel universes. You learn a lot about the multiverse and all the different ways things can work and go wrong, and about Walking. If you like lots of world-building in your stories you will love this.
It was the relationships that really irritated me, the romance particularly. Del has crush on a boy, Simon, who is popular and doesn’t notice her. In one of the other worlds, Echo-Simon pretty much instantly falls for her. A sort-of love triangle develops between Del, Simon, and Echo-Simon, but I just found I didn’t care. I didn’t believe in their attraction or love because it felt like it came out of nowhere. When Del and Original Simon finally do get together she makes some pretty bad decisions to keep him happy. There wasn’t enough to Simon for me to see why Del gave up so much for him throughout the story. He was just so bland, both in her world and in every Echo world she met him in.
All of the characters felt two-dimensional. No one was really given the time to flesh out. Del was the most developed, but that development was basically into the most typical rebellious teenager ever. Either she was complaining about her family for trying to restrict her Walking or she was making increasingly stupid decisions out of love for Simon. She had the occasional glimmers of becoming something more, but never actually got there. Everyone else seemed more like a sketch of a character than a fully realized person, and all of them were unlikable. Usually I like characters with lots of flaws, but these were just all bad and no interesting to me. The story always dragged when the personal drama took center stage.
The only relationship I was really invested in was between Del and her sister, Addison. It started off at such a tense, hostile place that I was interested to see how it evolved. And, they did grow closer, but around halfway through the romance took over and the focus on the sisters all but stopped.
The writing, though, was solid. Some of the descriptions of Walking and the threads (based on sound frequency) that tied the multiverse together, were beautiful. But, it was a slog reading about characters that I did not like. If you’re interested in reading about a very fresh, unique world than I would definitely give it a try, but if flat characters are a deal breaker, maybe give this one a pass.
Have you read Dissonance? What did you think about it?
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.