“Book Review: Worldlines”
Reviewed by Joe Walters
A mysterious psychological fantasy diving deep into alternate realities, Worldlines is a metaphysical treat.
We are not alone.
On a day-to-day basis, we experience feelings of happiness, nervousness, panic, and more, while our neighbors are feeling their own mix, too. We’re all in the middle of our own stories, but in Worldlines, it’s not only our neighbors who are living their own separate lives—it’s us, too. Following the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics, this psychological fantasy uses strong main characters to infiltrate alternate realities that run parallel to their own.
In one worldline, Gary Jackson takes his girlfriend Michelle on a ski trip. In another, he’s about to propose to his girlfriend Sinead. And in another, he’s on the verge of being imprisoned for something he swears he did not do. Each Gary Jackson is on his own path, unaware of the others’ existences, until one of them starts experimenting with lucid dreaming and their worlds begin to collide.
I felt constantly fulfilled and curious while reading Worldlines. With the help of strong prose and a fascinating concept, I venture through a tightly woven mystery and can’t help but speculate how our protagonists will achieve their goals and defeat an obstacle they could have never seen coming. This intriguing plotline is pieced together by subtle discoveries, asking us to read actively to recognize the differences and similarities between the worlds. Which Gary is which? Which Gary is happiest? And which one do I empathize with the most? It makes for a truly immersive and enjoyable reading experience.
Author Adam Guest doesn’t walk us hand-in-hand through this mystery. He doesn’t need to. Instead, he presents us with minute details and a demand to pay close attention to see the subtle changes in behavior. Another of my favorite aspects is just how separate the narratives feel. The worst thing in the world could be happening in one story (and spoiler alert, it kind of does), and in the next chapter, we see those same characters experience small moments of everyday activity as though we aren’t all still worried from the previous chapter. I haven’t read anything quite like it before.
You could be married to your best friend. You could’ve escaped a near-death experience and achieved a dream life because of it. But still, you’re going to go through your daily life worried about something. Worldlines pulls off this thematic effect so well. With the separate narratives running side by side, it acts as a near-constant reminder that we should celebrate our everyday wins and not focus only on our worries.
Worldlines dives headfirst into a gem of a literary concept. If you’ve been looking for a five-star novel with mysterious, subtle reveals similar to The Butterfly Effect, you’re going to find something you really love in this novel. I know I did.
Paperback: 343 pages
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