Sunday, 31 March 2013

Review: The Walls of the Universe

The Walls of the Universe
The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something out of the ordinary, in a good way.

Farmboy John Rayburn's other self from a different alternate universe tricks him into using the universe jumper he has, without explaining that it only works in one direction and he won't be able to get back. He then hijacks John's life.

What happens next, though, is that both Johns grow and develop in their different settings. Johnny Farmboy becomes tougher and smarter, and John Prime, the hijacker, becomes a halfway decent person. Both end up with different versions of the same girl.

I liked those characterisation choices and how the author played them out. As usual, we have to suspend our disbelief a little when the late-teenage characters achieve things that should be beyond them, but the writing is smooth enough that it wasn't too much of a strain.

I did spot one inconsistency: Johnny Farmboy, who is going under the name Wilson, is addressed by his real name by someone who shouldn't know it. I also spotted a homonym error, but I can't remember what it was now. Otherwise, the editing is impeccable and the writing competent. There's a nice setup at the end for the sequel, which raises the stakes and opens up the possibilities (and ensures that both Johns will continue to be involved in cross-universe adventures). Probably should have put some kind of a lock on that thing, John.

I'll look forward to that sequel.

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