Book Review: Dissonance

Posted October 9, 2014 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 6 Comments

Book Review: DissonanceDissonance by Erica O'Rourke
Series: #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 22nd 2014
Genres: science fiction, young adult
Pages: 484
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

Some decisions have unimaginable consequences.

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.

I had to have this once I saw the cover. I’m not even going to apologize. The color scheme is amazing.

The description of the novel also gained some fair attention from me as well when I saw “multiverse” in the plot.  One element I have taken away as a DC comic book reader is a healthy appetite for AU.

I was actually surprised that the novel was this good. If I had to tell the truth, I was expecting a mediocre adventure from this pick.  It is nice to be surprised, and I am actually looking forward to the next one in the series.


Character Complexity: One of the largest debates regarding this novel stems from Del’s personality. For the record, I wasn’t her biggest fan. I don’t care for people who call their own family members a “bitch” and threaten physical violence against others with such little provoking. I found her entire “I’ll do what I want” attitude and her self-centered perspective as juvenile and annoying. With that out of the way, even though I didn’t like her at all, I do have to respect that not every YA heroine is going to be a delicate flower, or a sweet, yet odd, girl next door. It is only fair to have a rougher crowd represented in YA fiction as well. The author did an outstanding job creating a character that seemed to clash the typical YA female protagonist and dared to stray from the expected. She stuck with her guns and pushed forward with a perturbing character.  In short, I did not enjoy Del, but I respected that she was true to her abrasive profile.

Thankfully, the secondary characters were very pleasant. I really took a strong interest in Monty and Addison, and both characters helped me bond to others in the novel that I actually liked and admired. They brought some personal relief when Del became a bit too much to handle. In fact, I wish the book had centered on Addie more than Del, and I would have enjoyed seeing Addie more developed, but this was the first book in the series, so it is hard to make a judgment on her overall development.

Simon, our storybook sweetheart, was interesting, yet a bit of a stand in.  I like how we saw different sides of him, and I like that he had a well-developed background. I’m curious where the road leads for this paramour.

Timey-Whimey: A lot of others had some issues with the science and theory behind the entire “alternate universe” mechanics. I found it rather fascinating. It was like a treadmill for my mind. I had to stretch and break apart my thinking to twist my mind into the proper train of thought. It is going to take some real brain busting. And I LOVED it!

I also liked the morsels of the Walker culture that was added in at the start of each chapter. I have actually grown quite fond of this approach to world building. I hope the author releases the “rule book” of her secret society as a novella at some point.

LUST LUST LUST: COVER LUST. Yeah, the character on the cover was a poor representation of Del, but I DON’T CARE, it looks WONDERFUL!

Decide and divide: I really enjoyed the opportunities that the book created to allow myself to contemplate the effects of the decisions we make throughout our lives, and all of the “what ifs” behind each of our life choices. The author covered the finer details, such as minor decisions and events where multiple decisions are presented to an individual.  I often find that books regarding alternative universes and various paths often raise more questions than they answer. However, this writer covered all of her bases in her world building to handle such questions and issues that arise from multiple paths and alternate realities. Most of the minor details were addressed and discussed. This was a huge help as I slowly began to unravel the multiverse theory of Dissonance.

The End is Nigh: The ending. I have some conflicting feelings over the conclusion of the novel.  I did like the cliffhanger at the end (I like some encouragement to read the next book) and the closure for the first book in the novel was nicely wrapped up and explained.  There is still an unsolved mystery, which is even more perks to continuing a series.  There was one HUGE event at the end that kicked me right in the guts, and if I am honest, I don’t understand Del’s emotional reaction towards the revelation. I’m very unsure why it created such a strong response, because I personally did not see the same thing everyone else saw in the novel. I knocked off a half a star because of the meddled twist in the plot, and one that I feel did not pull the correct emotion from me as a reader or as a person.


Dissonance turned out better than I thought.  The biggest thorn in my side was the unlikable main character, but there was still plenty in this novel to enjoy for everyone. I loved that this novel pushed the audience out of a comfort zone and presented some tough material to digest, which is a quality I enjoy in sci-fi novels. The alternate universe theory presented by O’Rouke turned this novel into a crazy ride. This book is a must for those seeking out a heavy sci-fi book and choice philosophy material.


6 responses to “Book Review: Dissonance

  1. OOoh nice review! I still need to read this one but I picked it up about a month ago when I met the author at a signing! So it’s there, waiting to be read! Sounded intriguing as I like alternate world type books, feeling a little nervous since this dives into the science-y part a bit much it seems, but hoping I will be able to grasp the finer points! Again, excellent review!
    Jessica @ a GREAT read recently posted…Random ThursdayMy Profile

  2. great review. I am glad you liked it. Sometimes real characters are the worst. I don’t mind hating main characters. As long as they get a strong reaction out of me i am generally happy. I also love it when they are true to their character and there is some growth.
    JennRenee recently posted…Wee Reads #1My Profile

  3. LOVED this book! It was so fascinating.
    I thing the ending was a good cliffhanger for sure, even though some of it confused me a little bit.
    You’ll be happy to know (if you don’t know already) that the next “book” in the series is a novella from Addie’s perspective! It takes place between the first book and the second book, so it doesn’t repeat the story, but at least you’ll get some more insight into Addie’s head! 🙂
    Lauren at Bookmark Lit recently posted…Five on Fridays #3My Profile

  4. I’m so happy you enjoyed Dissonance, Lyn! I agree with you about everything you said, apart from Del, because I actually enjoyed her quite a bit. And my enjoyment of her was exactly because she was a little abrasive, and would stick to her guns until the very end.
    The multiverse really appealed to me as well – can you imagine if any big decisions we make would become another universe where another ‘me’ would continue with the other choice of that decision? It both brings my head spinning, and makes me think it’s truly awesome O’Rourke came up with this.
    Great review, Lyn.
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…The Sunday Post #1My Profile

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