I was graciously given this book to review through NetGalley by Penguin UK for a full and honest review
You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.
Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.
I struggled to begin reading this book. While the voice literally smacked of personality and humour, it felt like there were about 7 chapters of info dumps and not much story at all to truly get me involved emotionally. I’m not that used to being addressed as a reader but I settled into it, and it was quite a nice change, but it’s unfortunate that the info dump took a lot of excitement I had about reading this book away at the start. I felt like I needed a PHD in this book to be able to get what was being explained.
The technology itself sounded absolutely amazing, which is a big reason why I gave this 3* and not 2. I had to check back a few times to remind myself what this was actually meant to be about because it read so much like a fictional reference book without the threads of plot or prominent action.
I wasn’t sure where the author was leading me – which is usually fine, unreliable narrators are a huge plus with me – but this wasn’t unreliable, it was just that I had no idea. At all.
It’s a novel concept, the way it was presented, and it reminded me of Cloud Atlas. I suppose it is clever. But I don’t read books to see if they’re clever or not, I read books to be immersed in the story, and characters. Do I want to be challenged? Absolutely. But while enjoyable once I got mid way through, the start let it down for me.