Review Detail

4.0 2
Young Adult Fiction 3002
Take a Trip to an Alternate Universe
Overall rating
Writing Style
What I Liked:
Despite the fact that Dissonance is almost five hundred pages, Dissonance kept my attention consistently. Considering that I’ve not been able to make it through some much shorter books, this means something. This book is parallel universe awesomeness. I liked it from the start, but the ending was just as solid. Dissonance is a fabulously unique debut and a wonderful start to a new series.

Delancey is just my sort of heroine, by which I mean that she’s a bit of a bitch. Del’s the sort of girl who doesn’t take to well to authority. She skips class constantly, disobeys orders, and sneaks out of the house. Plus, she totally puts her wishes above those of others. Though she really loves her grandpa Monty, she tends to keep people at a distance and is constantly fighting with most people. She’s judgmental of those around her and generally not all that nice. I know some readers aren’t big fans of heroines like Del, but I love them. Of course, when I was a teen (and now too lbr), I had issues with authority (though I was a total rule-follower) and I was a judgmental bitch, so you know I get these girls.

Anyway, I have to say that the world building is the strongest element of Dissonance. Sure, I come for the characters and stay for them, but this world building is totally boss. Del is a Walker, like the rest of her family and a whole network of people around the globe. Walkers have the ability to sense Pivots, places where someone’s choice has created a new echo of the Key World. The Walkers can travel to these Echoes and seek to maintain the safety of Key World, by fixing or cleaving the echoes from it. There’s also this musical component to being a Walker. They all have perfect pitch and can tell the worlds apart by their musical tones or, in the case of echoes out of whack, their dissonance. Obviously parallel universes have been done before, but the musical tie was such a cool touch. Plus, I’m just amazed by how well O’Rourke managed to describe everything that I am nodding along like OF COURSE and not going CHICKAWHAT.

The ethical quandaries central to Dissonance are the sort of philosophical consideration I love to consider. Are the echoes real or not? The people in them take on their own unique personalities, disparate from the Key World and live their own lives. Given enough time, they can become quite different. However, if the person dies in the Key World, their echoes go too. Are they real? Should their lives be maintained or cleaved? What function do the echoes serve? There’s so much to wonder and debate in this world. It is RICH with possibility.

Dissonance is one of those books where the things that sort of irked me early on actually get handled and resolved in a good way. Del, at the start, has this horrible relationship with her sister Addie. Those two are terrible to each other. However, Addie isn’t an unrelenting villain. They don’t become best friends, but they learn a lot about each other over the course of Dissonance. They have an actual arc, which is all I ask.

I was also concerned about her relationship with her best friend, Eliot, who has a very obvious crush on her. I don’t know about you guys, but I have been burned by this before. However, it’s handled in a very non-dramatic, non-love triangle-y way. Plus, Del is badass and won’t let people make her feel guilty for things she shouldn’t feel guilty for and it’s great. Much like her relationship with her sister, things are still on unstable ground, but I like the arc so far.

Then there’s the romance, which obviously I have to talk about. It’s not a SHIP, but it’s a solid ship. To be honest, they instalove on each other a little bit, but I’m totally not gagging. I believe that they feel that way, whether or not it’s true. They do have a connection and also things are complicated. What especially makes me like them is that they do have some issues that they work through rather than everything being perfect in their relationship.

The Final Verdict:
Basically, if you are into parallel universe things, YOU WANT THIS. Also, if you like complex stories and the bitchy sort of heroine, again THIS.
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