Travel Documents 79: Causality Rebound

Causality Rebound

Terry Gene 

 Link To Buy

Genre: Time-travel, dystopia

The Dust Cover Copy

The continuation of the Sci-Fi thriller and identity arc started in Causality Bomb

If you are the cause; can you be the cure?

From Terry Gene, who’s first novel Kirkus Books reported “This Sci-Fi tale remains emotionally true”

Sarah Beth has hated life since that day ten years ago when her male and female sides remerged to form her. She suffers from survivor’s guilt over the quantum energy experiment that forced her two parts to cease to exist. While her male side resolved her PTSD and abusive childhood training, her female side never addressed trauma from childhood experiments.

Sarah Beth has taken refuge in her male side and eschewing everything feminine. Complicating this is her need to protect Alex her male-side’s accidental child, a forgotten millennia-old alien invasion, and threats to harvest her energy. She conducts dangerous quantum free-energy experiments to bring back Alex and Sarah. Only with her death will she find meaning in her life.

This second novel of the Causality is Optional novel cycle continues the unraveling the impossibility that is Sarah Beth.

The Scene

World building

I’m afraid this book really doesn’t pull off the tricky job of drawing readers into the world. Instead of sinking into the new universe, I felt like a traveler without a map in a country where I didn’t speak the language. Granted, it’s the second book in the series that I was asked to review, and I hadn’t read the first. I’ll hold my hand up to that. But when you write a series, one of the things you have to do is make it possible for new readers to pick up books, because we all know that the library/bookstore might not have all the books in the series. I found myself struggling to connect. Details and complications were thrown in without much explanation, and it was assumed that the reader would just figure it out. Abilities suddenly showed up, and not a lot was done to ground them in the overall milieu. So yeah, I struggled as a reader.

The Crowd

Characterization

Again, the weakness here was in fleshing out and adding detail. Characters were introduced with a couple sentences, it was stated that they meant XYZ to the protagonist–friend, responsibility, etc.–and then they started interacting with the plot. But they never felt like they mattered; in fact, I really struggled to stay engaged with a story where the emotions were so absent. I connect through emotion, and in this case, I really struggled to stick around and *care* about what happened. What did hold me was twists and turns in the plot; a sort of ‘now how are they getting out of that?’ sense of curiosity. But I wasn’t reading for the people.
The protagonist, Sarah Beth, doesn’t help much. She states a number of times that she doesn’t care about herself, and she’s only alive to get a task done. The other characters don’t step in to remind her that she’s cared about nearly often enough, or in impactful ways. She approaches everything with a weary distaste, whether that’s her relationships or the driving action of the story. And that makes it hard to want to become embedded in her worldview.

The Lingo

Writing Style

I’m afraid the storytelling was a bit stiff here, with a lot of on-the-nose explanations of the ‘she did this’ and ‘she thought X’ type. Events tended to be stated rather than told as part of a story, and the blunt approach doesn’t help with flow. It also could have used one more pass for typos.

The Moves

Plot

This was one of the strongest points in the story, events moving in the manner of classic sci-fi pulp novels. I still struggled with the sense that I was a lost traveler: ‘wait, why’d that happen? Wait, what?’ But it worked.

Overall Rating

There’s some good ideas here, and some worthwhile stuff. In future, I think this author is going to create some great stories. But…not this time.