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.