Dissonance: Review

October 7, 2014 2014, 3 star books, fantasy, Peyton, romance, Uncategorized 28 ★★★

Dissonance: ReviewDissonance by Erica O'Rourke
Series: Dissonance #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 22, 2014
Genres: contemporary, fantasy
Pages: 484 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonIndieboundBarnes & NobleGoodreads
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?

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An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

28 Responses to “Dissonance: Review”

  1. Lily

    I ended up really loving Dissonance since I’m a huge fan of the idea of parallel worlds. And j agree, the writing was pretty solid and my favourite aspect of the book but now when I think back to what happened in the book, I can’t remember. I read is in early July and while I understood all the complicated lingo for the book back then now I can’t remember anything since I feel like it was too complicated for me to remember lol. Does that even make sense? I don’t know. But I feel like if I want to continue on with this series I need to reread passages of this book! Lovely review :)
    Lily recently posted…I’ll Give You The Sun: Review

  2. Kim

    Blah. Two dimensional characters and an instalove-y triangle-ish romance? At least I can feel fine now about staying far away from this one. Like you, I’m very fascinated by the idea of multiple universes full of other versions of ourselves but it takes A LOT of talent to pull this concept off successfully. And it seems like the author doesn’t do a half bad job with that but I just couldn’t deal with that romance. The romantic component of any given story is often the deal breaker for me. sigh sigh
    Kim recently posted…Chaos by Sarah Fine: review

  3. Jamie

    I have this on my tbr! I am SO fascinated by this version of a parallel story but I’m so sad to hear you say that about the characters! I need me some full fleshed characters. I’m still planning on reading it because it sounds SO interesting but I’ll go in more for the story than the full package if that makes sense.

    Thanks for your review!
    Jamie recently posted…I Think I’ve Made A Terrible Mistake

  4. Shannelle

    Flat characters are more than enough to break a book for me. But at least the writing was okay, right?

    And as much as I the whole parallel thing, and I haven’t tried one with a lot of versions, but I will always hate flat characters. I also didn’t want to pick it up because of the reason that her motivation is her crush. This face says it all: :/
    Shannelle recently posted…Book Review: Open Road Summer

  5. Layla

    I’m really glad you read this (since now I don’t have to). While the relationship between Del and her sister sounds interesting – and something I’d like to read about, it’s disappointing that it’s not really fleshed out or completed (maybe in future books). In any case, especially since the main relationship sounds so lackluster, that’s a real bummer. I don’t really care for insta-love and the idea that you could meet your crush in a different dimension and in THIS ONE he’s into you is just a little too creepy (and wish-fulfillment-y) for me. No thanks.

    The world-building sounds super interesting, though! Great review, Peyton.
    Layla recently posted…Dissonance: Review

    • Peyton

      I really had high hopes for the sisters! Maybe it will develop more in the next book, but I was disappointed by how the romance just totally took over. It wasn’t just the insta-love that irked me, it was that Simon didn’t really have any personality besides nice popular guy who also plays basketball. I need a little more than that to root for a guy haha.

      Regarding the other versions of Simon, the book does address the wish-fulfillment aspect and Del interacting with all the different versions does actually become relevant to the plot. So there is that. But, yes, I was still weirded out by how close she gets with the one particular Echo, especially given that Walkers are taught to believe that Echoes aren’t real people.

      The world building was awesome, though! :)
      Peyton recently posted…Dissonance: Review

    • Peyton

      It actually doesn’t take up as much time as I might have made it sound. It’s really more of lots of drama between Del and Original Simon, with a little bit of Del going to flirt with Echo-Simon at the beginning. It was the world building that kept me going!
      Peyton recently posted…Dissonance: Review

  6. Leandra Wallace

    That’s too bad about the characters, unlikeable ones that I can’t connect with are deal breakers for me too. But that cover! One of the prettiest I’ve seen in awhile. And I love how it really ties in w/the concept of the story. I am also jealous of the model’s long legs… ;)
    Leandra Wallace recently posted…Author Spotlight: Caroline Tung Richmond

    • Peyton

      Everybody loves the cover! It is very beautiful! I think unlikable characters are a deal breaker for a lot of people, so you’re not alone.
      Peyton recently posted…Dissonance: Review

  7. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Oh dear, it’s such a pity that this one fell a little flat in regards with the characters–characters are very important to me, so I’m no longer sure if I want to read this if the characters aren’t any good. Do love multiple universes though, it’s so complex but interesting to see how the author tacks it.

    Lovely review, Peyton! <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted…Review: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

    • Peyton

      Thank you!

      Yes, there wasn’t a whole lot going on with the characters and if teens who hate their siblings/parents irk you then you might get annoyed. The multiverse aspect was very interesting though, so you might still enjoy it for that. :)
      Peyton recently posted…Dissonance: Review

  8. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    If you are interested in parallel universes, the Chrestomanci books of Diana Wynne Jones (starting with Charmed Life) immediately spring to mind! No real romance — flat or otherwise — but fantastic and funny. Dissonance sounds like an interesting variation on the theme but it’s too bad about the character development.
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…My First Diana Wynne Jones: Charmed Life

  9. Pili

    The characters and the romance can be deal breakers for me but loads of well done world building and a fantastic and not confusing well-woven science fiction plot? That totally calls my name! So I’m right now torn between moving this one to the TBR list from the wish list or not!
    Great review Peyton!
    Pili recently posted…Crushed by Eliza Crewe Blog Tour: Interview!!!

  10. Clare

    Just added this to my goodreads, it sounds so interesting and the cover is beautiful!

  11. Nikki

    I’ll be picking this one up for two reasons; I love stories regarding multi and parallel universes. Sometimes flat characters and a dumb romantic plot do kill a story for me but I’m so interested in the sci-fi aspects of it that I’m willing to give it a try. The second reason is the cover! I think that cover is beautiful.

    • Peyton

      It is a great cover!

      And, yes, I would definitely still give it a try. Mileage may vary on how you like the characters, but the multiverse is so beautifully described that I think you will really like it. I love how all the terminology and mechanics are based on sound rather than the typical visual way you would expect.
      Peyton recently posted…Dissonance: Review

  12. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Oh, I’m not sure I will end up reading this one. The writing sounds INCREDIBLE, though! I just…irritating romance and under-developed characters are my top-bookish peeves, I feel. I really want to know the characters, because if you’re committing to several 100 pages with them, they’ve got to be REAL. Hehe. So I think anyway. The cover is gorgeous though, right?!
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Let The Characters Drive This Book Already

    • Peyton

      I am the same way. This is the first in a series, so I guess there is always room for improvement on the characters, but the world-building is really interesting!
      Peyton recently posted…Dissonance: Review