Dissonance (Dissonance #1)Featured
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.
Delancy is part of a family of Walkers. As Walkers, they are able to travel to parallel worlds--or Echoes as they are called. All of the parallel worlds are only echoes of the real world--the Key World--but can damage our world. That is the duty of the Walkers, to make sure that the Echo worlds do not damage the Key World. Sometimes fixing the world, other times cleaving it (basically erasing the Echo). During one of her Walks, Del accidentally cleaves an Echo world and faces the consequences. But in that Echo she saw an Echo of one of her fellow classmates, Simon, and she continues to run into Simon's Echo each time she Walks. But when the real life Simon begins to merge with his Echo, things get confusing.
I was both excited and worried when I picked up this book. I was excited because this book sounded so intriguing and it focuses on my favorite subject: PARALLEL UNIVERSES. But I was also worried because I have read the author's previous series, Torn, and did not enjoy it. Well, I am enormously glad that I picked up this book despite my worries, because I really enjoyed this book!
At first, it did take me awhile to get into this book. You dive right into the story without knowing the background and terminology is thrown at you without the definitions. Echo? Walker? Consort? Key World? Pivot? What do these words mean?! And it made it difficult because I had to guess as what was going on. So, these Echoes have something to do with parallel worlds right? Is it a word for parallel worlds? Eventually, the words are either explained or just easy to figure out, but it made it difficult for me to understand what was going on in the first chapter or so.
When I was able to understand what was going on, I was then able to enjoy this book. I always find the idea of parallel universes interesting and this book was not different! The whole system of Walkers was intriguing.
I just loved the idea that there are people who are able to travel to other dimensions (although it makes me upset that I can't). But I was kind of disappointed that the Walkers considered the other universes as only echoes of our world and the other worlds were not real (I am inclined to believe that the Echoes are actually real!). That did not make the worlds any less interesting. My favorite aspect of parallel universes is how different yet the same the worlds can be to our own and we get to see that in this book and I just loved seeing it!
To be honest, I was not a huge fan of the romance. It was okay, but it didn't wow me.
I did find it interesting when (view spoiler)
Although, I enjoyed a majority of the book, I did have some difficulty with the end. I did not fully understand what was going on. Actually, I knew what was going on, but it just didn't make sense. It's hard to explain without spoilers so... (view spoiler)
The main issues that I had with this book were the beginning and the end. The beginning was just hard for me since I was basically dumped into this world with no understanding of what was going. The ending just didn't make sense to me.
But I LOVED the ideas in this book!
This book had a great, complicated world that completely drew me in and never let go. There were quotes from Walker textbooks at the beginning of a lot of chapters and a lot physics woven into the world-building that helped solidify it. The whole concept was really interesting and I’m glad that I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a light read, the complex world and Walker rules meant devoting all attention to it, but it was worth it. It was also long, almost 500 pages, but to me, it was never boring.
I really loved the characters in the book. Del felt like a teenage girl who happened to have abilities instead of feeling like she was only important because of her abilities. She fought with her sister and her mother, could be a little selfish and bratty, but she also really cared about her family and friends. She was smart and strong, a bit reckless and didn’t always think things through. Her relationships felt realistic and also familiar. The trouble-making sister and the golden girl, the overworked parents and their kids, the knows-you-better-than-you best friends, the romance. I enjoyed all of it, especially the friendship between Del and Elliot. Elliot was so sweet and had a geeky side I loved, including his love of a space western movie that had me geeking out with him(I know there’s others out there but in my mind they were totally watching Firefly/Serenity). Sister Addie started off a rule obsessed, serious, ambitious girl but developed as the story went on and had me really excited to see where the author goes with her in the sequel. Love interest Simon was really interesting since there were so many versions of him in the book and his Original took some time to grow on me. Once he started to open up and spend time with Del, he turned out to be really sweet and caring.
The concept was executed so well. The world-building was tight and even when it was complicated, it was always written in a way where I never felt lost. The pacing was never rushed but also not too slow to lose my attention. With all the mysteries of the Council, Del’s parents work, the parallel worlds, I didn’t want to stop reading in case I missed something important in between reads. This was a book that already had be excited for the sequel.