Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: While You Were Gone

While You Were Gone (Duplexity, book two)
By Amy K. Nichols
Expected publication August 4, 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

To read my review of book one, go here. 

Eevee is an artist in a world where art is highly regulated. She must work extremely carefully to not upset the status quo, despite hidden desires to create more abstractly. Things only get more complicated when she meets Danny, a boy who has somehow slipped here from another world.

After feeling mostly ambivalent about book one, when I spotted book two available for download, I figured I'd read it and get it over with. I feel even less warmly about this one than I did the first.

In my review of book one, I stated that I could tell what would happen in book two. I was wrong. Because book two is not really a sequel. Book two is more of a companion, telling the story that's happening in the alternate dimension during the same time frame as the story in book one. If it sounds a bit confusing, well, that's parallel universes for you.

Most of what I felt about book one I felt again here. While the story is quick-moving and engaging enough that the 300 pages pass by swiftly, most of it feels underdeveloped. I still found myself wanting to know more about the world and the characters. I felt that the problems and the big secret discovered in this volume were solved far too quickly to really make a satisfactory conclusion. Similarly, the overall issue of the parallel universes in both books was tied up far too neatly in a short epilogue in this volume. The romance felt even more false in this universe - it seemed out of character for both and made them both seem...feeble? I don't know how to describe it but it seemed to undermine both of their characters.

Overall, this was a bigger disappointment than book one and reminded me why I usually stay away from science fiction.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

Another quick note: I apologize again for what has essentially been a multiple-week absence from the blog. As I mentioned, I moved and it took a lot out of me. I have fallen behind in wedding planning so that has been stressing me out. In addition, I haven't been terribly excited by most of what I've read over the last month, making me not terribly excited to write about it either. As I said, I'll likely be posting short reviews to catch myself up and only slightly longer reviews for the ARCs I read during my absence.

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