Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: July 22nd 2014
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Delancey 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. (from Goodreads)
I have to admit, one of the reasons I really wanted to read Dissonance is because the description reminded me a lot of the anime Steins;Gate (if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it). The main theory of the multiverse was similar but Dissonance was an interesting take on the whole idea and as a whole I really enjoyed it.
Delancey was a Walker; she could travel between worlds. The only "real" and important world (according to the Consort) was the Key World, but every decision made in the Key World created alternate branch worlds, that contained copies of people in the Key World, referred to as "Echoes". A Walker's first priority was to protect the Key World. If any Echoes were causing problems, it was a Walker's duty to solve them, or to cleave the entire branch world if the damage was spreading and couldn't be fixed. Delancey was still in training, but was considered a bit of a troublemaker, especially when compared to her perfect sister, Addie. I didn't really know how to feel about Delancey. At times I did really like her and the way she loved Walking and exploring the branch worlds, but other times I felt she was a bit harsh and I really am tired of this whole "I'm not like most girls" crap, there's just no reason for it. She did grow on me later on though, especially once she started to get along better with Addie, and she was quite funny at times, so it wasn't so bad. She was going through a lot and wasn't exactly treated well by other people in school (Walking = having to skip class a lot) so I could understand why she was quite closed off. Plus, she was getting less judgmental towards the end which was good.
Simon was another character I had a bit of trouble with. I liked him at first, and the way he and all his Echoes acted and interacted with Delancey was very interesting. He did also seem to genuinely care about Delancey but then later on I think he did maybe use her and become a bit pushy about certain things, and while I could understand his desperation and what he did at the end kind of made up for it, it just didn't sit well with me. But he was going through a lot, and I did like his sense of humour and his chemistry with Delancey. Even though it was such a cliché that he was conveniently partnered with her in a class, I'm glad he was because they were able to get to know each other better. I do think the word "love" was said a bit too quickly but I pretty much say that about every book, and at least their attraction was believable.
The side characters were all pretty intriguing. Monty, Delancey's grandfather, was probably the person who interested me most. I always got the feeling he didn't really didn't like the Consort because they'd abandoned the search for Delancey's grandmother when she got lost travelling worlds, and was doing his own thing in secret, so after the ending I'm interested to see what'll happen in the next book. Eliot, who was Delancey's best friend, was a sort of genius when it came to the physics behind Walking. He was also very loyal and it was so obvious that he was in love with Delancey that I don't even consider it a spoiler. Addie didn't get along so well with her sister, especially at first. She hated breaking rules and was too unquestioning of the Consort, though I think she did get better later on. I'm actually really curious to find out more about her and what she'll do in book two.
Plot-wise, things could be confusing sometimes, but the story was pretty well thought out. Trying to imagine how threads worked and how they changed things and remember all the terminology was a bit difficult, especially since the descriptions were sometimes kind of vague. But I really liked seeing the branch worlds and Echoes, and how though some worlds were more unstable than others, they could be changed depending on certain actions. The whole concept of Walking was done quite well and I liked how there were also risks, like frequency poisoning. I really liked the idea of leaving a trail of "breadcrumbs" in each world to help navigate back as well and the way there was explanation about little things and gadgets and sciencey questions made a nice change from books where something is stated and you're just expected to believe it with no explanation at all. I obviously can't vouch for the validity of the science but it sounded believable enough and not too far-fetched. Each branch world was different, and the differences could be tiny or massive and I could understand why Delancey enjoyed Walking so much, because her life was just full of possibilities. [spoiler, highlight to read] I did find her willingness to tell Simon everything instead of coming up with a viable excuse and then her trying to take him on a Walk a bit unrealistic when secrecy had been drilled into her since she was a child and she was now risking it all for a boy she barely knew, but I guess he had started to suspect the Consort around that time so eh, I'll accept it.[end of spoiler] I'm definitely interested in seeing how she fares in the next book after her realisation at the end.
Overall, I had a few issues with Dissonance but I enjoyed it overall. I recommend it if you like not too heavy science-fiction with some romance or are looking to start out in the genre.