Synopsis: 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.
Review: I read the synopsis of this book and it was a no brainer to give it a go. I thought the title was a good one and it made me think back to my college psychology course when we studied the concept of cognitive dissonance, which is more or less our need as humans to keep our moral beliefs and ideas consistent with our actions. The premise is very interesting and it’s a relatable subject. We’ve all wondered “what if” when it comes to the decisions we make in life. This book gives us a chance to explore those “what ifs” as it applies to the Key World. The world building is well done. Erica O’Rourke does a thorough job of explaining how the multiverse work and how a Walker fits into them. Though I did constantly question how plausible this could be. With 6.5 billion people in the world, every single decision they make creates a new alternate reality (they’re called “echoes”) and then those echoes are capable of creating their own echoes…how can that really sustain? It seems extremely overwhelming.
I thought the world building was better developed and more interesting than the actual characters unfortunately. Del is okay, but there’s nothing particularly interesting about her to set her apart from other mainstream YA heroines. Her older sister, Addie, is a begrudging sidekick. She’s the opposite of Addie adopting a by-the-book approach to everything in life. She’s the ultimate teacher’s pet. She reminded me a lot of Sydney Sage from Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series, but I just didn’t find her as likable as Sydney.
Right off the bat we know that this book fill focus heavily on her relationship with Simon, the popular jock who is every bit as dreamy in echo form. He’s a bit of a playboy, making him prime real estate for any girl who believes they can conquer him and be his one and only. Of course Del’s one of them even though she won’t admit it to herself. All the while she’s got that life long friend she’s grown up with since childhood who has loved her for forever, but he’s in that perpetual friend-zone. Does this dynamic sound familiar? That type of drama brought the book down for me somewhat. This is a YA book so I understand why those aspects get focus, but I found myself more times than not wanting to see what was going on with the adults and other Walkers. The romance aspect overall was dry and contrived.
I thought the book was too long and I thought the final confrontation could have been stronger. I was left wanting to see a real villain, but it didn’t really turn out how I thought it would. It’s also arguably a cliffhanger ending so if you’re not a fan of those you might want to wait until the second book is released. Overall, there were some good things here. I would like to see more of it the next time around as well as stronger characterization. I am interested in reading the sequel so I think that’s a good sign.
*ARC Provided by the Publisher