(Cover/synopsis from Goodreads.com)
By: Erica O’Rourke
Publication: July 22nd, 2014
Genre(s): Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis: 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 traveled 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.
Where to start? Dissonance is about 500 pages. Nothing got good in my opinion until “The Third Movement” (There are 2 other movements before that), which started around page 330. Before page 330, I can’t even think of anything interesting that happened. Yes, multiple alternate worlds and Walking and all of that is explained, and yes, I think that those explanations should-and do, take time. But where’s the conflict? Where’s the action? Where’s the crazy promise you make to yourself that I will only read one more chapter. Just one more, and then you read the whole book? Dissonance did not have any of these things.
Delancy was a pretty typical “I don’t listen to anyone” heroine. She was kick-butt, yes, but I didn’t find myself cheering for her. All she does is go behind people’s backs and ruin relationships when she gets caught. Delancy’s not the only stereotype, we have:
~Addie~ the annoying older sister who’s “perfect”, always follows the rules, and is the favorite of almost everyone in comparison to main character, her younger sister.
~Elliot~ the geeky best guy friend who likes the MC, who doesn’t know it, and leads him on.
~Simon~ the “hot guy” who everyone wants, but somehow falls for a nobody, (guess who? our main character) even though he has a much hotter (and meaner) ex-girlfriend who’s still pursing him.
Onto world building then:
Erica O’Rourke’s world was imaginative, different, and very confusing. At the beginning of each chapter, there’s a paragraph from a Walker’s textbook that explains some aspect of the world. I did not enjoy reading technical paragraphs, and trying to decipher the Walker’s vocabulary. I was confused about plenty of things. I didn’t understand what Baroque events were, what the Walker’s real purpose was (“to protect the Key World” was the brief explanation. Protect it from what?), or why nobody noticed Delancy breaking the rules so many times by Walking when she was suspended.
If there is another world for every decision made, wouldn’t most Walkers be so overwhelmed by all the pivots around them? Would they even be able to think clearly? There are millions of people around the world, which means millions more decisions, which means zillions of pivots. Why don’t Walkers have echoes? They make decisions too. Why hasn’t humanity noticed people disappearing into thin air? All of these questions cluttered me.
With that said, I do think Erica O’Rourke had guts to write a book with alternate worlds. It’s very clear that she took a lot of time to research certain things to make her world (or worlds) work. Not all of it made sense to me, but the idea of “Walking” to other worlds, alternate worlds, was amazing and made me want to read the book in the first place. I didn’t expect such a heavy dose of romance, or for most of the Walking to revolve around the romance, though it seems to me that every Young Adult book has to have some love interests (at least this one didn’t really have a full blown love triangle. Poor Elliot…)
Summing it Up:
Dissonance was a long and bumpy ride. The ending was surprising, I really didn’t see a few things coming. I hope to see Erica O’Rourke expand the World Walking in the next installment by adding in more about world history, bigger decisions, and more opportunities for Walkers to change the Key World with their skills.
My Rating: 2.5 to 3 stars.