Review: Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dissonance by Erica O’RourkeDissonance by Erica O'Rourke
Series: Dissonance #1
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on July 22, 2014
Genres: Alternate Universe, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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four-stars

Delancy 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.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve been really picky with books lately. I’ve been picking things up and abandoning them when they don’t keep my interest. Despite the fact that Dissonance is almost five hundred pages, Dissonance kept my attention consistently. Considering that I’ve not been able to make it through some much shorter books, this means something. This book is parallel universe awesomeness. I liked it from the start, but the ending was just as solid. Dissonance is a fabulously unique debut and a wonderful start to a new series.

Delancey is just my sort of heroine, by which I mean that she’s a bit of a bitch. Del’s the sort of girl who doesn’t take to well to authority. She skips class constantly, disobeys orders, and sneaks out of the house. Plus, she totally puts her wishes above those of others. Though she really loves her grandpa Monty, she tends to keep people at a distance and is constantly fighting with most people. She’s judgmental of those around her and generally not all that nice. I know some readers aren’t big fans of heroines like Del, but I love them. Of course, when I was a teen (and now too lbr), I had issues with authority (though I was a total rule-follower) and I was a judgmental bitch, so you know I get these girls.

Anyway, I have to say that the world building is the strongest element of Dissonance. Sure, I come for the characters and stay for them, but this world building is totally boss. Del is a Walker, like the rest of her family and a whole network of people around the globe. Walkers have the ability to sense Pivots, places where someone’s choice has created a new echo of the Key World. The Walkers can travel to these Echoes and seek to maintain the safety of Key World, by fixing or cleaving the echoes from it. There’s also this musical component to being a Walker. They all have perfect pitch and can tell the worlds apart by their musical tones or, in the case of echoes out of whack, their dissonance. Obviously parallel universes have been done before, but the musical tie was such a cool touch. Plus, I’m just amazed by how well O’Rourke managed to describe everything that I am nodding along like OF COURSE and not going CHICKAWHAT.

The ethical quandaries central to Dissonance are the sort of philosophical consideration I love to consider. Are the echoes real or not? The people in them take on their own unique personalities, disparate from the Key World and live their own lives. Given enough time, they can become quite different. However, if the person dies in the Key World, their echoes go too. Are they real? Should their lives be maintained or cleaved? What function do the echoes serve? There’s so much to wonder and debate in this world. It is RICH with possibility.

Dissonance is one of those books where the things that sort of irked me early on actually get handled and resolved in a good way. Del, at the start, has this horrible relationship with her sister Addie. Those two are terrible to each other. However, Addie isn’t an unrelenting villain. They don’t become best friends, but they learn a lot about each other over the course of Dissonance. They have an actual arc, which is all I ask.

I was also concerned about her relationship with her best friend, Eliot, who has a very obvious crush on her. I don’t know about you guys, but I have been burned by this before. However, it’s handled in a very non-dramatic, non-love triangle-y way. Plus, Del is badass and won’t let people make her feel guilty for things she shouldn’t feel guilty for and it’s great. Much like her relationship with her sister, things are still on unstable ground, but I like the arc so far.

Then there’s the romance, which obviously I have to talk about. It’s not a SHIP, but it’s a solid ship. To be honest, they instalove on each other a little bit, but I’m totally not gagging. I believe that they feel that way, whether or not it’s true. They do have a connection and also things are complicated. What especially makes me like them is that they do have some issues that they work through rather than everything being perfect in their relationship.

Basically, if you are into parallel universe things, YOU WANT THIS. Also, if you like complex stories and the bitchy sort of heroine, again THIS.

Favorite Quote:

“And so what if I did sleep with him? It doesn’t make me less. It doesn’t mean I’m damaged.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif vanilla sky another life
Okay, it’s not THIS weird in echoes, but I could not resist this gif.

15 responses to “Review: Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke”

  1. Giselle says:

    oh I really enjoyed this one too and yes how the author went about describing the walking and different worlds was so well done! Complex, too, some details def went over my head though lol! I liked Del too I guess I like those kinds of heroines too >..<

  2. Giselle says:

    Omg half of my comment disappeared! I’m glad my habit of copy/pasting before I hit submit paid off today! (I think my smiley is the culprit) This was the rest:

    I agree about the sister, too, I’m glad they at least started to get along she was getting on my nerves at first with her “I,m the boss of you” attitude ugh! I thought the romance was well done, too, but I found Simon pretty boring – his character itself, the mystery with his characters and all the worlds was intriguing. The grandpa is who I loved the most! >.<
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Feral by Holly SchindlerMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I mean, I think I understand what the things were but also the science of it is so completely beyond me so I just sort of accepted everything. Oh wait, no, I actually am maybe still confused about baroque effects and some of the negative consequences. But close enough.

      I thought the sister would just be flat and they’d only be terrible to each other, but it’s nice there was development. Hahaha, I actually liked Simon, though I can’t say why. Maybe because the Simon in my head was super cute? #shallow The grandpa is great. I bet you have thoughts on that ending, right?

      Also, your review convinced me to read this one sooner. So thanks!

  3. Meg says:

    I’d written this one off for no good reason at all but suddenly am a thousand times more intrigued.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yay! It wasn’t super feelsy and I didn’t forget I was reading (does this happen to other people?), but I was solidly entertained the whole time.

  4. MJ says:

    I really did like the world building behind this one, but I had issues with the characters enough to where I DNF’d it. I think the whole insta love via leg touching thing sort of did me in. Now, based on your review I sort of wish I gave it another chance.
    MJ recently posted…Randomness: YA MusicalsMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I agree with that, but also it kind of just worked for me. I’m not really sure why. Maybe because it fit so well with the other worldbuilding? *shrugs*

  5. Dragana says:

    I was super excited about Dissonance and then, for no apparent reason I was not intonly it anymore. But first Anya and now you talk about a lot of awesome things in this book and I am interested again.
    I like all the philosophy about the echoes and are they real. And Del sounds great. A heroine with an attitude – yay. 🙂
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Entangled by Nikki JeffordMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Awwww, that’s too bad that you got less excited. I’m really into parallel universes and I thought this was a nice blend of science and fantasy. 🙂

  6. Johannah says:

    The cover on this is BEAUTIFUL!!! If I saw it at a book store, I’d have no choice but to buy it!
    Johannah recently posted…Piracy is a problemMy Profile

  7. Lyn Kaye says:

    I am reading this one right now, and I am taking it slow so that I can wrap my head around it. You really have to step outside yourself to absorb the science behind this book. I think it is starting to sink in.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Bleed Like MeMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I’m glad it’s sinking in for you. I thought she kept it to a level where I felt fairly comfortable, though I definitely don’t understand the underpinning theories.

  8. Anya says:

    Haha, I think I really enjoyed the bitchiness that Del had as well since I really identify with those urges to just do whatever you want and not listen to everyone else complaining ;-). Gahhhhh book two now!!
    Anya recently posted…Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke eARC {5 Stars}My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I would also like book two. Yes yes.

      I feel like a lot of people hate the bitchy, selfish heroines, but it’s so nice after so many perfectly giving ones. I just cannot relate to that and I think most people are going to be self-serving. To a degree, that’s even healthy.

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