Cover Image: Ricochet

Ricochet

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Twice I’ve read a novel by Kathryn Berla and she keeps surprising me. This story presents us four different but not-so-different parallel universes where the “same” girl has her own story and problems to solve. 

The plot was soo interesting that I couldn’t stop reading although a few times I felt a little bit lost because the storyline was sometimes confusing. There were a lot of descriptions which I didn’t mind but made me read slower. I hated the end, as it's the most confusing and rushed part of the novel. 

However, the idea of parallel universes was amazing and at least I enjoyed it. 

Thank you to the publisher for this great opportunity.
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Hey! This is a book about multiverses and lesbians!

Seriously, this book starts with two girls making out and discussing their relationship. I’m so here for this!

This book is divided into four povs:

Tati is and out and proud lesbian dating Pryia, who is not out yet which puts a strain on their relationship.

In Ana’s world, on the other hand, the single moment that allowed Tati to find the courage to make a move on Prya unfolded differently so she and Pryia are only friends. (Ana and her lesbian thirst were amazing though!).

Tanya lives in Germany with her abusive and controlling mother, not being allowed to leave the house or have access to any type of technology. I hope she becomes a badass ninja, improbable I know, but still.

Tatyana makes me fear for her. Run, girl, run! And wake the fuck up while you are at it, they are evil...

I loved what the author did with these four characters. Each one of them is the same person, only raised in different circumstances, so even though they are the same DNA and personality-wise there are subtle and not so subtle differences. Figuring out which decisions caused every one of those differences in every version of their lives was extremely entertaining and the author made a great job of building up the story.

One of the things that remained the same in all four* Tatyanas was their sexuality and I really loved the author for this because it meant that she did not present sexuality as a product of the environment we are raised in or something we “catch” but something as intrinsic to our selves as our DNA.

(*Tanya and Tatyana’s sexuality is never explicitly discussed perhaps because of their lack of interaction with the rest of the world.)

I particularly liked how different Tatyana and Tanya were from Tati and Ana. The first two having been barred from interaction with society at large and having abusive parents that controlled every aspect of their lives struggled to trust in themselves and their skills and I would have loved to have seen more of the consequences of their upbringing and how they knowingly fought against them.

Something else I really enjoyed was how the four Tatyanas interacted with each other and how they were catalysts in the lives of the others, their presence or even just thinking about the other lent them courage and momentum because it proved that they had the potential for more. I really liked the character development (even with Tanya and Tatyana’s characters feeling a little less solid than the other two) and the way the author was able to make this story into a puzzle, every chapter adding one more piece to the overall picture. 

The ending itself was completely unpredictable and jaw-dropping, the only problem I had, being with the aftermath that I found too short and anti-climatic for a standalone.

The writing rubbed me off at times, trying to be too descriptive at the absolute wrong moment (there is a limit to what we want to know about food digestion) and towards the end the story felt a bit reminiscent of Cold War propaganda with the Americans being the good guys and the Russians being riddled with corrupt politicians and crazy evil scientists that try to defy God but other than that, I definitely enjoyed this and will keep an eye on Kathryn Berla.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flux for this Arc.
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I wish I had liked this book as it sounded interesting. But upon reading it I noticed right away that it just wasn't up my alley. I guess there's only certain sci-fi that I'm interested in and this wasn't the sort.
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Wow, wow, wow. How fresh and original, a real pleasure to read. I loved the idea, the language, the protagonists. I bought a copy for my book club and can't wait for the release date.
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DNF. Apologies for the long wait before sharing feedback, I always like to give books three attempts to read before giving up on them.

The opening chapter, with the saliva sample thing, was a little odd but I liked that set of characters. I think the main aspect that stopped me liking this novel was that the characters in each alternative reality were so similar and I'd only really grown to care for the first ones shown. I also found the plot quite confusing. 

Thank you for the opportunity to read anyway.
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The plot was confusing as HECK, but overall I actually quite enjoyed!!

The premise was quite confusing, and if I could redo the whole experience I would read the blurb first, because it definitely provided crucial information about the novel which I completely missed...

But I thought the characters were really cool! 

Overall, even though I was confused at times I wasn't bored while reading, and it is a very clever book!!
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"When seventeen-year-old Tati sends a saliva sample to a DNA ancestry testing site her results come back inconclusive. What’s wrong with her DNA? And what does it have to do with her unexplained seizures and the beckoning tunnel she sees during them?"

This hook was pretty amazing and had my hitting that request button fast. The concept sounded so interesting but the execution felt flat. Would I still recommend this? Yes I would but with a disclaimer. Overall, it was a fast read and might help someone out of a reading slump. 

Ricochet is a story of four of the same girl whose life is different in each parallel universe. There is Tati, Ana, Tanya, and Tatyana. Each one's life varies based on choices that were made on their behalf.  Tati and Ana live in America. Tanya and Tatyana live in Eastern Europe. There is not much ricocheting between them all. It is kind of done in pairs based on their geographical location. Until the end when all of a sudden the one who was having a the hardest time ricocheting, was finally able to do it in a matter of a couple pages, and found herself halfway across the earth. The story was sometimes hard to follow trying to figure out who was who in whose universe. The explanations were not very clear on what exactly the main bad guy accomplished that allowed for the universe hopping in their first place. 

I was left with some questions... here are a few

What exactly in their DNA makes them able to travel through universes?

What happened with Tanya and the people on the train? How does she come to be with Tatyana when Ana finally learns how to move through the void?

What happens to the other lives when they leave them behind? I am mostly concerned here for Ana's mother who just lost her husband and now her daughter disappears to merge with the Tati. 

What happens to the investigation that Ana was doing on her biological father for the government officials? 

Honestly a lot of the story felt like a waste of time reading since nothing really got resolved. I suppose the problem here lies in the shortness of the book. The last two to three chapters felt rushed and condensed and left me with more questions than answers. Perhaps makes it a series would have fleshed out this interesting concept better? 

Thank you to Netgalley and Flux for an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book had so much potential... but oh boy, where do I start?
First of all, It was confusing. Switching between four parallel universes following nearly identical characters with the same name? By the end I couldn't even remember who was who anymore. Should be the other way around, right? Well it wasn't.
Oh by the way, don't claim that your characters are geniuses and the write them as idiots.
Plot? What plot? 75% book was dedicated to... well I don't even know what it was trying to do. Nothing happened. The remaining 25% wasn't any better. We just got the same explanation over and over again as the four Tatyanas discovered the same things. And the climax lasted maybe five pages without any build-up whatsoever. 
In the synopsis the thing that really caught my attention was this: 
"When seventeen-year-old Tati sends a saliva sample to a DNA ancestry testing site her results come back inconclusive. What’s wrong with her DNA?" 
Her I was, expecting this awesome explanation as to why her DNA isn't human... but all that's said about it when the time comes for the truth is that her DNA just wouldn't be recognized as human. That's it. No explanation to why that is. Maybe it was because she was subject to some genetic engineering? But here's the thing, as long as you have 45-47 chromosomes, YOU'RE HUMAN. And the four Tatyanas only had a few genes altered. So unless they had a set of chromosomes inserted or removed from their genome, their DNA test would show human. But who knows what really happened to their genome? It's never explained. 
That brings me to the next part... how the science behind their ability to travel between worlds is "explained". Look I get it. It's fiction and there is no science concerning the existence, much less travel between, parallel universes so Kathryn Berla had to bullshit it. And that's fine by me! I LOVE science fiction! But the thing is... you can't just pick out a bunch of cool-sounding science words, mash them together (when they don't belong together), and call it an explanation! 
And the conclusion... what? Basically the conclusion centers around the idea that you're the center of the universe and if you're not there then nothing else exists. I mean, come on. Narcissism at its finest. She kept using that proverb (?)... philosophy (?)... whatever it is: " If a tree falls in the forest with no ears to hear does it make a sound?". The answer is yes. It does.
Oh also, apparently all science is evil, so stay away from it you guys.  
Anyway, I was disappointed and confused. Not a good combination.
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Rating: 2/5
Source: ARC from Netgalley for review
Date finished: 27 June
Pages: 328
Publication Date: October 8 2019

'When seventeen-year-old Tati sends a saliva sample to a DNA ancestry testing site her results come back inconclusive. What’s wrong with her DNA? And what does it have to do with her unexplained seizures and the beckoning tunnel she sees during them? 

What Tati discovers is more than she could have ever imagined possible. Parallel universes exist and her abnormal DNA compels and condemns Tati and her other selves—shy Ana—privileged Tatyana—and on-the-run Tanya, to a lifetime of ricocheting between their parallel lives in the multiverse.

With knowledge of their existence a deadly threat in every universe, the only chance all four have to survive is to work together to take down the scientist responsible: their father. (Blurb from Goodreads)'

I liked the premise, which is why I requested it on Netgalley. But my god the science. The science. My EYES. The reason she has these mysterious seizures and strange DNA is that her DNA was edited so that it's now got unstable vibrations or something that means she can travel between 4 parallel universes and meet the other versions of herself. After that it was a struggle to finish the book. I do not recommend it for the geneticist in your life. Either use something more related to universes, like some physical particle, or don't try to justify it scientifically at all! DNA editing changes a base from, say, A to C, not to plutonium!

Other issues:

The real action only got started around 90% and then it was all wrapped up stupidly. I usually hate it when books become series and I want to award it a star for not being a series, but it just was not wrapped up right at all. So it was a slog and then a weird rush.

I was also confused about some of the facts, like the identity of her birth mother. It took me a while to twig that Tati, Ana, Tatyana and Tanya are all different people but that could be my problem and it was a fairly cool realisation. In general it was difficult to get into, probably as a natural conclusion of the premise.

While I don't like how anxious I get for the characters in books, this lacked tension because you know Tati or Ana are going to be fine in their own realities - maybe if her dad had been able to chase her through them? And the ending! Awful. 

*SPOILER* 





One of the Tatis seems to wake up at the end and think it was all a dream! Argh!


*END SPOILER*

In summary: 1-2 stars. I don't want to give it 1 because it had some positive qualities (such as how the genetic testing went), but there was just so much that annoyed me
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, Flux Publishing and Netgalley.com. Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Ms. Berla has written a book that is sure to be a hit among fans of 'Orphan Black'. We have a lead character who is openly gay and seizure prone. A closeted girlfriend and slightly implausible science theory round out this story of multiple universes.

2 out of 5 stars. An okay read.
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This book was incredible. It pretty much blew my mind. However, it was really confusing. Keeping track of which character was which and what was happening where was incredibly difficult, despite the hints that were thrown in to try and keep the reader on track. My advice to other readers is that this is not the type of book to put down, forget about, and come back to. It’s easiest to process and understand when read all at once, in larger doses. That being said, the concept was satisfyingly unique, and it teaches an interesting lesson with the unanswered questions and open ending. It definitely leaves me wanting to know more, and the plot twists along the way prevented it from ever getting bored. I congratulate Kathryn on accomplishing this, because I can’t even imagine the struggles of having to build 4 worlds and 4 main characters and 4 plot lines instead of one. Overall, it was a wonderful book that I’d recommend, but only to those who are very good at paying attention and can see past the confusion.
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I really wanted to like this book: the premise was interesting but I didn't enjoy the delivery.

What I think was the most interesting point in the plot was never really a mystery because of the way the book is written, we meet the different Tatianas almost simultaneously and for me it made the book quite boring very quickly. The info snippets we get throughout the book are repeated in several of the timelines slowing down the narrative. There are a lot of things that happen to each Tatiana that end up being irrelevant, which was somewhat frustrating.

The LGBTQ+ representation was nice, though.
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I received a copy of Ricochet from Flux through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book! The implications are fascinating and I kind of wish there was more to the story. Discovering more of the multiverse and such.

I really liked the characters and their different backgrounds due to random changes in circumstances.
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The premise for this sounded so good and I was looking forward to this so much , but I just couldn’t get into it at all. I tried, I really did, but it was just all over the place and too confusing , the POVs don’t help at to that.  Just not for me, sorry.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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***ARC provided by Netgalley and Flux Publishing in exchange for an honest review***

DNF at 45%. I can't really rate this (1.5*, maybe?!)

I thought the premise of this book sounded very interesting, and it definitely is but I am unable to get into the story at all because I am confused and am unable to relate and like any of the characters. i tried, I really did but I just can't.

This is the story of one girl in four different universes named Tatyana but she's Ana, Tati, Tanya and Tatyana. She gets frequent seizures that no doctor can explain as every test results come out normal. Her DNA test comes out inconclusive though. Turns out the seizures are not exactly that. Parallel lives exist and it's a threat to all universes.

The confusing part is that for 2 of the girls at least, the same people are in her life but the the situation is different and since those POV are happening one right after the other, you're not too sure who you're reading. The chapters are titled with the girl's POV. Ex: Chapter 17: Tati.

One last thing is that, it takes about half the book before anything starts happening and I found myself bored and actually not want to pick the book back up to keep reading. That is never a good sign for me. The idea of this is very interesting. As soon as I saw fans of Orphan Black would love this, and I adore that show, I really wanted to like this. It contains so many things I like: parallel universes, gay characters, psy thriller... it's got everything to grab me but it completely failed to do it.
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The plot of this book really gripped me at first. It was very intriguing and seemed like the type of book if read, however when reading it I fell it didn’t lift up to that, great premise though just didn’t deliver.
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I was honestly trying to avoid DNF this book, especially because it’s an ARC, but honestly I got about 20% into it and just kept getting so confused by the entire thing. It has a great premise, but trying I keep the different versions of the MC straight was a bit much for me and I didn’t understand where the story was going. I’m sorry to say that this book just wasn’t for me.
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I really liked the four different POVs, and charting the differences and similarities between their lives. There was (necessarily) quite a lot of overlap between the characters lives, but there was enough happening in each strand that it never got boring. The only misstep was the ending, which felt really rushed, given the (again necessary) amount of time needed to set up the premise. I also really hated the choice the author made to elevate one strand as somehow a better life than the others, particularly given the cultural differences between each strand. It felt like the author was making a moral judgement that I found distasteful.
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This ebook was given to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. 

The description of this book sounded amazing. I usually love to read about multiple universes or clones or genetic engineering. I find the topics fascinating but hard to get right. This is because there is complex science and theories behind these ideas. This book was a miss for me on that aspect. The science in this book wasn't very well explained and lead to more confusion than clarity. I was super interested in learning how Kathryn Berla explain her own take, but I just think it wasn't done well. I was left with more questions at the end of the book and it didn't feel like real closure. It wasn't even an open ending, it just wasn't very well ended. 

The characters themselves seemed a bit blah as well. There were no real distinctive personality traits and they seemed to be reacting to others around them instead of relying on their own instincts and beliefs. They seemed to be a side character in their own story instead of the main protagonist. Even though there were multiple of the same genetic individual, there was nothing to really set them apart besides where they were from and their family dynamics. Maybe this was the point to comment on the whole "nature vs nurture" thing, but I didn't enjoy it very much. 

Overall I was just a bit disappointed on the direction this story went.
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This book was totally different than I expected, but I loved it.   It started off a little slow, and a little confusing.    It took me a bit to understand what was going on.   Then it started to draw me in.    The further I got into the book, the more I needed to know what happened next.   

I really enjoyed the premise of this book.    It was different, which is always a plus.    I liked the characters, and was drawn into each of their stories.  Give this book a read!   

Thank you to #netgalley for the advance copy, which did not effect my review.  #ricochet
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