Official Review: Timewise by Robert Leet

Official Review: Timewise by Robert Leet

This is one of my reviews for OnlineBookClub.org. View the review on the website here.

Timewise by Robert Leet is a sci-fi novel that is deeply rooted in quantum physics. The plot and the ideas presented are fascinating, giving the reader something to really ponder as the scientific ideas that drive the story are gradually explained. Unfortunately, such a difficult topic inadvertently builds a barrier between the story and its readers, and the story itself leaves you with more questions than answers.

What if you could see into the future? Not even very much, but enough that could give you prior knowledge of important events, help you predict financial exchanges, or even rig them in your favor? Ron Larsen is a wandering student encouraged to pursue a college degree by daring and radical physics professor Regina Russo. At first he wonders why she takes such an interest in his personal life, but quickly realizes that she needs someone willing to listen to her unconventional and possibly dangerous ideas – ones that could change the realm of quantum physics forever. Over many years and countless conversations, she slowly explains to him the scientific basis behind a dangerous and illegal plan that ends up entangling them both in their own schemes.

Leet creates personable, intelligent characters that constantly challenge ideas, try new things, plan, create, and learn through their mistakes. Descriptions of real events scattered throughout the story, such as the dot com bubble bursting and 9/11, make the story seem cemented in reality, while exploring theoretical heights that are almost unbelievable, yet possibly just within reach of modern science.

Additionally, the scientific side of this book is fascinating. There are many concepts that I, not being familiar with a lot of science, have a hard time understanding, but the author does a fairly good job of explaining it to the reader in simpler terms and allegories, which are helpful. I found myself drawn into the scientific explanations, because they engaged my creativity and imagination by opening my eyes to possibilities that haven’t been explored in any book I’ve read before.

However, there are many sections that are hard to wade through simply because the science feels so deep. I had to take breaks to do something else in between chapters, because it felt like my head might explode trying to wrap my brain around these complex concepts and jargon that I didn’t fully understand. Leet’s biography on Amazon says that he is a structural engineer, which may explain a lot of the math and physics jargon that isn’t quite explained well enough for a layman to understand it.

On the moral side of things, I got tired of the main character’s constant bouncing from relationship to relationship, as if all the female characters (except Regina) were just plot tools instead of legitimately needed characters. To be fair, one character does make up for this towards the end of the book, though.

And finally, the book’s ending was less than satisfactory. I can think of several questions I had from the beginning of the book that were still unanswered at the end. It didn’t feel like the story really had a complete conclusion, though the author did come full circle by utilizing the game of chess as an introduction and conclusion to the book. Altogether, though, I felt unsatisfied with the story as a whole. I do not know if the book is intended to have a sequel, but I’d say it needs one.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Incomplete and hard to understand, the premise was incredible but the story itself needs refining. However, I enjoyed reading this book, and the quality of both the writing style and ideas represented impressed me. I think that earns back one of the points that the above reasons take away. And if you don’t mind a few unanswered questions and are willing to exercise your mind a little, you probably will enjoy it, too.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

Official Review: The Deserving by Efren O’Brien

Official Review: The Deserving by Efren O’Brien

This is one of my reviews for OnlineBookClub.org. View the review on the website here.

The Deserving by Efren O’Brien is a rich and informative story that reads like a fascinating history book.. This historical fiction is one of the best I’ve ever read in the genre, with its descriptive settings and realistic battles and characters, though it took me a lot longer to read than most books. This book is a highly enjoyable book and a worthwhile read – however, if you are new to reading historical fiction, it’s probably best not to start with this one.

Emile Deschampes grew up in Louisiana in the 1800s, and ran away from home at 15 to escape his abusive father. At 18, he joined the Union army and proved himself as a true soldier, enduring hardships that won him rank and influence. During his time in the army, he met a young woman named Carmen, and after the war, Emile eventually ended up in her home town of San Antonio, Texas, and married her. Years later, when Aubrey McGrath, a former Confederate general who injured Carmen and attempted to kill Emile during the war, shows up in San Antonio with a plot to start a second Civil War, Emile must decide whether to ignore the warning signs or do everything in his power to stop McGrath despite personal risk to himself and Carmen.

It’s abundantly clear that the author did his research. At times, it’s hard to tell where fact ends and fiction begins, and the amount of detail described is mind-boggling. He also has a deep, firm grasp on the English language, using it to great effect during this story. He gives readers up-close looks at the history, culture, facts, and legends surrounding the Civil War and that era of history. I was impressed at the depth of this narrative, though it sometimes felt unnecessary.

I did notice that sometimes the story felt a little bit dry – more ‘history book’ than ‘historical fiction’ at times – but this may be because I haven’t read much historical fiction in a long while. A couple of errors that could be easily fixed by a more thorough proofreader, mostly involving missing commas, would be helpful as well, but this did little to detract from the overall story. Comparatively speaking, it’s much better edited than several books I have read recently.

Really my only major complaint is that it’s hard to follow the story. All the detail and in-depth scenes are well-researched, but the story itself is swallowed up in it, and there are so many characters that it’s hard to keep track of who is important and who is not. It’s like the author got so interested in describing specific events that occur during the story’s timeline, he forgot about the story at hand, before coming back to complete the narrative. I had a hard time figuring out enough of the storyline to sum it up in this review, and I found myself reading several sections multiple times.

This is historical fiction at its best – though unfortunately I have to take a point off for the hard-to-follow storyline. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars for its well-researched, well-rounded scenes and characters, and its realistic and descriptive take on the Civil War. Whether you are a history buff or a simple fiction lover, you will enjoy this story, provided you factor in the time it will take you to read it.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

Official Review: Superhighway 2 by Alex Fayman

Official Review: Superhighway 2 by Alex Fayman

This is one of my reviews for OnlineBookClub.org. View the review on the website here:

For those who read the first book, Superhighway 2 by Alex Fayman may or may not be appealing at first glance, depending on how you liked it. But surprisingly, this is one series where the sequel is better than the original story. Although there are some character defects, the overall effect of this book is intense and enjoyable.

After the events of the first book – which include finding out he can travel anywhere in the world via Internet, stealing money from a rich Russian mobster, falling in love with a woman and then losing her through his own infidelity – Alex Fine decides to start his life over, though not without fresh mistakes. He gets married and thinks he can finally settle down, but when his son is born he realizes that he can never really outrun the mistakes of his past. Forced to place his newborn son in the same orphanage he grew up in, Alex thinks he can atone for his sins by helping the CIA prevent a war with Russia. But the deeper he gets into his mission, the more he realizes that he is just a pawn in a global game because of his unique ability. Who can he trust, and will he ever learn to live with his past?

I have two issues with this story. The first is the matter of female characters. So far, in both books, almost every female character has become an object of sexual desire for the main character, and to be honest, it’s getting tiring. As soon as one female character is out of the picture, another appears to take her place as his romantic cliché. So far, the only strong, stand-alone female character is the elderly orphanage director who raised him. The other issue is how the character is somewhat one-dimensional in the sense that he never learns from his own mistakes. He seems like the poster boy for bad decisions. Drug use, sex, and an addiction to money and splendor seem to define the better part of his character. Though it honestly feels like the character regrets his choices and wants to rectify them, knowing that he is not going to change makes it hard for the reader to empathize with his situation.

However, the descriptive imagery used by the author is, like in the first book, quite striking in allowing the reader to picture exactly what the character is experiencing. It somewhat combats the character’s one-sidedness by helping the reader understand his feelings of grief over the deaths of his loved ones and the love he feels towards his baby son. Additionally, the plot is complex and engaging enough that I was drawn into the story. While the first book felt like a whirlwind of travel and activity that never achieved a complete story, this second book feels much more well-rounded and self-contained. I felt that the book did justice to a full-fledged storyline, while still leaving it open for a third book to complete Alex’s tale.

Overall, this book is much better than the last one, and I give it 3 out of 4 stars. Though the characters have issues, the story itself is a worthwhile read. I enjoyed the description and the complexity of the narrative quite a bit. The sexual content is a downside in my opinion, reserving the book for mature audiences teen and up. But I was satisfied with the book as a whole, and I expect that a large portion of readers will, too.

Buy the book on Amazon here: