Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Dissonance

DISSONANCE
Dissonance
Erica O'Rourke
Paranormal-ish Young Adult
496 pages
Simon & Schuster
Available July 22nd
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.


MY THOUGHTS
Dissonance brings some interesting things to the multiverse table, focusing on a number of different worlds and how they're all interwoven instead of allowing us to watch one or two lives unfold in distinctly separate ways. As with nearly all the stories that attempt to explain the existence of parallel worlds, there are of course moments when our minds can't fully wrap around what's being described for us, but on the whole Ms. O'Rourke does a truly impressive job of explaining the specifics and terminology of Walking between the Key World and the Echoes. We're grounded in a reality we recognize–complete with fully relatable high school moments given Del attends regular school despite the paranormal aspects of her life–but beautifully threaded through the normalcy is infinite possibility, Echo upon Echo piquing our curiosity with their mere existence.

Del is the type of character that when described outside the context of her story sounds as though she would be extraordinarily frustrating, her tendency to flaunt her disregard for authority and Walk as she sees fit something that normally would cause a series of eye rolls and mournful shakes of the head. Within her world and her family life however, her occasional recklessness and desire to Walk outside the strict rules and regulations of the Consort makes sense, and while there are moments when we want her to think a touch more before acting, we also can't help but find ourselves rooting for her to show her largely disapproving family that she's more than they give her credit for.

The only minor drawback keeping Dissonance from one of those rare higher ratings is the romance between Del and Simon, a fairly typical popular boy from her school. Del's crush on him is completely understandable and one of the things about her that stretches across the barrier of fiction and yanks us into her reality, our minds instantly taking us back to our own high school selves and the crushes we had on those who seemed unattainable. The problem with their relationship as it begins to unfold is that while Del's feelings seem utterly genuine (and painful at times), Simon's are less believable, his sole interest (in all his various forms, Echo or Original) appearing to involve only getting her alone and moving their romance forward on an intimate level. When events force a change in their relationship, his focus shifts away from what Del can do for him physically and to what she can do for him as a Walker, and he never quite manages to completely convince us his feelings extend beyond simple need.

Overall however, Dissonance is the type of read that raises questions and encourages discussion, our first desire when we close the back cover to immediately hand it off to the next person so we'll have someone to talk to about everything that already happened as well as everything that could happen in future installments. We're left with Del's world in chaos, both physically and emotionally, but luckily no brutal cliffhanger is waiting to shatter our hearts at the end. Instead, we part ways with this first installment with the gift of hope clutched tight to our chests and anticipation singing in our blood as we start the countdown to book two.

Rating: 4/5
 

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

49 comments:

  1. Except for the romance, I think I'll like this one. Although, EVERY ONE of my friends on Goodreads gave it 2 or 3 stars so I'm deeply thorned. XD We'll see but lovely review, Jenny! :)

    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

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    1. I really enjoyed this one overall Lola! I thought the whole premise was really fascinating, and while I wanted Simon to prove to me his feelings for Del went beyond the surface, I did like him in the end:)

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  2. Hm, I'm wondering if maybe the romance situation you described was on purpose. Perhaps that was the intention of the author, to show that he didn't really care for Del outside of what she could do for him? I don't know, I have yet to read this book but hopefully I'll be able to put it into the pile soon. It sounds pretty awesome and I think this is the first time I've seen a YA novel that deals with the topic of multiverses, so I think that'll be refreshing. Thanks for the insightful review! I love how you give so much detail.
    -Ashley
    What's Your Story?

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    1. Could be Ashley! I just kept waiting for him to show me he cared for her genuinely, and he never quite got there until the very end. I look forward to seeing how things progress in future books:)

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  3. Now I wonder about the romance

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    1. I did like Simon, I just wanted more from him. I'm greedy:)

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  4. It's nice sometimes to have a school/parnanormal books. Many of them out of there but it's always fun. I haven't tried this series but maybe one day.

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    1. I did like that we had that little bit of reality to ground us Melliane. Especially with how complex all the Echoes ended up being. I had fun reading:)

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  5. Hmm…I love the sound of this one, but the relationship sounds a little lacking to me. Also, the length!?! 496 pages for a young adult book is pretty daunting….unless it's a Cassandra Clare book or something. I may wait to get this one from the library. Great review, Jenny!

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    1. It's definitely long Christina, but I never felt like the story dragged. There was more than enough to keep me interested:)

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  6. I'm not too sure about this one after reading your review, Jenny. I always struggle with these multiverse books because I can't seem to wrap my head around the explanations, but I loved the cover of this book and wanted to give it a shot. I'm not sure I would like Simon one bit in the book. He seems to be a bit of a user and that's not a quality I look for in a book boyfriend. I'll have to think about this for a bit before deciding if I want to read it or not. I'm still glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny. Lovely review!

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    1. This one was definitely more complex in its explanations than One Past Midnight yesterday. There were times when I just sort of had to go with it because it hurt my head to think too much about it, but I really did enjoy it overall:)

      And Simon was tricky. I did like him, he just had some things to prove to me and he never quite got there until the very end. I hope he continues to prove himself in the next book!

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  7. The romance makes my nose scrunch. But the concept of parallel worlds sounds pretty cool.

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    1. I wasn't quite as enamored of Simon as Del was, though I could totally understand her crush. I just had hoped that in 500 pages he could prove to me that he actually cared for Del. He wasn't smarmy or an obvious user or anything, I just wanted him to be more genuine:)

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  8. This sounds very interesting and science fiction is always something I love reading! I have my doubts about the romance but I'm well intrigued enough about the book to add it to the TBR list, if it gets a 4 stars review, it is worth reading! Even more glad to hear that there's no heartbreaking cliffhanger, I so abhorr those!
    Thanks for a fantastic review, Jenny!

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    1. I hope you give it a try Pili! I'd love to have someone to talk about it with:)

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  9. Yeah, in high school, I had a crush on an adorable popular boy named Adam...floppy blonde hair, Nordic blue eyes...and the only time I got to kiss him was on the playground in kindergarten. *sigh* Simon doesn't sound like the best boy for our heroine.

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    1. What the hell Adam!? He didn't know what he was missing Mary! You're a keeper. He should have known that, even in kindergarten ;-)

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  10. The romance sounds iffy in this one but if you still managed to love it, I really think I will as well.
    I just adore the cover on this and as horrible as it sounds, I want to pick it up because of that alone. :P

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    1. Right? That's what won me over on this one initially too. I can't NOT pick up something that pretty:)

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  11. Wow, this one sounds so interesting! Although the romance wasn't what you would have wished it to be, the universe the author seems to have created is so intriguing to me. Thanks for the review!

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    1. You're welcome! I really did like the concept and it kept me flipping the pages for sure. I look forward to book two:)

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  12. I actually like the fact that Del seems a bit of a rebel in her situation. Sometimes, these imperfect heroines are the ones I like best. But, hmmm-that romance. I want her hero to be there for her, not just to take it to the next level. Dang. I'm still keeping this on my wishlist, I just love the sound of its world. Lovely review, Jenny!! :)

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    1. You'll like her even more once you meet her family Kim! I could absolutely understand why she did the things she did after seeing how they treated her vs. her sister. The romance wasn't awful by any means, it was super cute at times, I just didn't quite fully believe him and I really wanted to.

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  13. This premise sounds really interesting and different, Jenny! I haven't read too many books featuring parallel universes. I am a bit bummed by the romance in this one but I'm intrigued enough to give it a shot. Great review as always, Jenny. :)

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    1. I liked the way these parallel universes unfolded Rummanah! It was super complex at times, but really fascinating to think about as well. I hope you give it a try:)

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  14. I like the idea of this one, although I can see myself going crazy trying to figure out how parallel worlds work. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Heh. You definitely just sort of have to go with things at time, suspend the desire to ask tons of questions and just go with the flow:)

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  15. I'm about to start this one and I'm very relieved to hear there's no cliffhanger! It sounds as if the romance might not impress me as much as the worldbuilding, but I'm still excited to get started. Lovely review Jenny!

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    1. Things are definitely up in the air at the end Lauren, but there's no real cliffhanger in my opinion. I can't wait to see what you think!

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  16. I really liked this one but had some issues with the romance as well... Simon just didn't do it for me.

    Also I'd have loved for a more epic expansion of the world if that makes sense?
    The ending however got me totally excited about the next book! What a cliffhanger!

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    1. Yeah, he was tricky. I kept wanting to fall for him, but I couldn't. I liked him in the end though, so I'm hoping he'll win me over completely in future books:)

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  17. I struggle a great deal with parallel world books to begin with, and the way you describe this love interest Simon already puts him on my bad list. I think I'll be waiting on this to see where it goes before investing. BUT I'm so glad that you were able to connect with the MC and enjoy the story as a whole.

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    1. I did very much like Del, and given the romance was a HUGE focus, I was able to deal with my Simon issues with relative ease. He's not unlikable, I just wanted him to sort of step up and prove himself a bit more:)

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  18. I have seen this one and seriously like someone could miss that lovely cover. I'm so glad that this is one of those books that bring discussion after they are read. They are my favorite kind. Also the world-building itself sounds really good. So glad you enjoyed it and great review, Jenny :)

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    1. I thought the world building was fantastic. Complicated, but fantastic:) I hope you give this a try Tanja!

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  19. I think the concept of parallel worlds has so much potential but, from what I've read of them so far, I haven't been too impressed with their execution. I'm hoping to have better luck with this novel, but perhaps I'll wait to see how the series unfolds before diving in--especially as the romance isn't as strong or believable as you'd hoped! Glad you still enjoyed this one, though, Jenny! :)

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  20. I wasn't at all sure how I'd feel about another multiverse, but this one seems to be done exceptionally well. While the romance does sound a bit disappointing and fairly stereotypical, the rest makes up for it in spades. I also adore the cover, I haven't seen it before, but it's very eye-catching.

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  21. This book really does sound like it has a lot to offer from just reading the blurb, so I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this overall. Also I love books which you want to pass onto other readers immediately, so that you can discuss everything. I will certainly consider giving this book a go soon! ab review Jenny! :)

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  22. Yes! Glad to see you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I just finished it the other day and my thoughts border yours. And I agree on Simon. I really liked him, but I need a little more convincing on his motives, but I think that will be explored in the next one. Fabulous review!

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  23. It's a bummer that the romance is sort of a flop. I hate it when I'm not convinced, and that can ruin a lot of the story for me. Nice to see in spite of that you seemed to enjoy this a lot. Wonderful review, Jenny! :)

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  24. I can't wait to read this one, Jenny. I preordered it months ago, and it's in the queue as next week's release day read. I'm glad you liked it, and I promise I'll come back and do more than skim after I've read the book myself--I did read enough to be thrilled about the absence of a cliffhanger though ;)

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  25. I've seen a couple of people echo having issues with the romance, but this sounds like a solid read overall. I really like the premise for it, so I hope to check it out. :) Great review, Jenny!

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  26. I've seen both: the negative and very rave-y reviews for this one. I'm glad you fell somewhat on the latter side of things ;) It sounds pretty complex. Heh! I'm glad that despite some irritating habits, Del is someone you root for :) :O so Simon isn't a genuine love interest in your eyes? Hmmm. I wonder if he'll manage to convince you in the ext one or if there will be a triangle with a new guy introduced. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jenny :)

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  27. I've only seen one other review of this one and it was also positive. I hadn't paid it much attention before but it sounds pretty twisty and complex and I find myself feeling curious. I maybe have to pick this up in the future!

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  28. oh my God! I did NOT know that Erica O'Rourke published another book! I LOVED her Torn Trilogy!! Del sounds like such an interesting character as well! Thanks for putting this on my radar! Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  29. Hey Jenny! I never heard of this book but it does sounds really good. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  30. Being a HUGE fan of all things sci-fi, the concept of alternate universes or multiverses is instantly appealing to me so clearly this book is on my wishlist/tbr shelf :) I'm glad that you thought that the author did a wonderful job of gelling everything together and making things believable, for the most part. The characters sound truly compelling, though I think it's lucky that I don't mind protagonists that make a few mistakes along the way! :) It's unfortunate that the romance didn't quite measure up to the rest though, but hey, we can't always have it all ;) Fantastic review Jenny^^ x

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  31. Loved this one! I would have preferred Del to fall for her friend instead of Simon. In the Key World, Simon only seems interested in her because he dreams about her (thanks to Del spending so much time with him echoes). Really looking forward to the sequel and learning more about the Walkers.

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