Thursday, June 20, 2013

[Dual Review] Beyond Parallel - Matthew Turner

 Beyond Parallel - Matthew Turner
Beyond Parallel
One boy. One girl. One insignificant moment that changes their lives forever.

Bella and Clark are two young twenty-somethings, finding themselves in a chaotic and crazy world. One craves love; the other avoids it. Will they find one another, or will a single what-if moment send them down different paths?

In the same mould as Sliding Doors, Uncertainty, and Smoking/No-Smoking, Beyond Parallel flips between two parallel tales. One follows Bella and Clark as a couple, the other as if they never meet.

Friendships, careers, dreams, fantasies...their lives are no different to yours or mine.

Follow their journey over a fast paced, mazy two-years. Highflying careers, book tours, teaching teenagers, hipster warehouses, coffee shop hangouts, a despicable salesman...they're all confronted.

It's incredible how a small, everyday decision can affect how you look, where you live, the people you love, and who you become. We could all live a billion lives, but we’re only given one. Is it all a game of chance, or are Bella and Clark meant to be?

 When I was asked to read Beyond Parallel for review I was excited. I've always been a huge fan of parallel worlds, and it's not a theme I've seen in many books. The author used alternating chapters titled “With” or “Without”. “With” is the time where Bella and Clark are together and “Without” is the time when they are not. I was worried this might become a little confusing, but for the most part it didn't. Everyone wonders about the “what ifs” in life, about the choices we make or don't make and how they mold our future. The “what ifs”

The biggest issue I had was connection to the characters. I think that all the skipping back and forth made it harder for me to really connect with anyone. Maybe if each of the “with” and “without” sections had been longer I would have felt like I was getting to know the character. Bella was very hard to like. She's whiny, emotional, insecure, and kind of boring. Her passion for writing should have instantly drawn me to her, but I felt nothing but annoyed. Clark was okay. I always have high expectations for the male leads, especially when they're British. But Clark wasn't particularly swoonworthy or charming. He was loyal and sweet, but kind of boring.

When Clark and Bella weren't together they were with other people. Bella is with her best friend turned boyfriend, Alex, and Clark ends up with Beki. Alex had a little substance in him, and I liked him[for most of the book], but Beki was blah. I honestly have little or no feelings toward her because I never got to know her. Beki was pretty much just a shadow in the book, basically only described as a hot chick wannabee lawyer, and could easily be forgotten. The most interesting relationship in this book was between Clark and his best friend Sam. I loved Sam, he was funny and kind of douchey. I wish that I could have had more of his story. I long to connect with the characters I'm reading about, but I just didn't feel that.

Another thing that I felt was missing was the romance. I'm not crazy about over the top cheesy romance, but I like to feel the chemistry. I didn't feel love, or lust, or even attraction between any of the characters.

Overall, this was a great idea for a story that just fell flat. I could have enjoyed this book much more if I had connected to the story or characters. This book was well written, but I just didn't feel a spark. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I think that the writing shows great potential and I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author.
I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to give this novel a 3 or 3.5. In the end I ended up with the 3.5 because the pro’s outweighed the cons. Oh yeah, that’s right. I’m a list person. Lists, Charts, and all those things I love them, I LIVE for them. 

Beyond parallel is the debut novel by Matthew Turner, with characters that change their destiny by one decision. Turner labels the chapters well with “With” and “Without”, as the main characters go on about their lives in a two totally different realms of existence. I really love the idea of parallel universes, and I always have. To be honest, I think quite often about all the “What if’s?” and the “maybe’s” of my life. “What If” is a serious inner turmoil question. I mean, at least for me it is.

I liked this novel, probably more than I thought I would. I do have some issues with it though. I admit it wasn’t exactly what I expected. I do feel like it was light, and fresh… compared to my normal reads. Don’t get me wrong. There are still a couple surprises and twists. I liked how each segment let you know exactly which “universe” you were going to read about. As I read this I couldn’t decide which story I liked better. At first I was completely enthralled about the “With” story. Then I decided I liked how the characters played out in the “Without” story.

I appreciate the ending, but I felt it was generic. Matthew decided to write about a two worlds, which is a pretty daring move. It’s hard to transition back in forth between the two. It’s almost as if you’re reading two companion books at the same time. To some it may get a little too confusing, but again… I’m a total parallel universe fan. Throughout the book I was fairly sure of what was going to happen but I still had that “Ooh what’s gonna happen now!?” perspective. Unfortunately at the end, I saw it coming a mile away and didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. I’m sure it’s super hard to create a world without having people know the ending. Matthew did a GREAT job with that, until about 85% into the book.

Beyond Parallel was extremely well written, and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I feel that many people will fall head over heels in love with this book. Personally, I’m not a big Chick Lit. fan and I would have to classify this novel as that. So if you’re looking for a book like that, with some light twists, a little angst and just a great read… This book is definitely for you. Beyond Parallel still makes you smile, laugh, get a little emotional, and want to scream at the characters. All in all I think this was a great debut Novel from Matthew Turner. I look forward to seeing what he has to offer in the future.

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