Cover Image: Flux


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Member Reviews

at the heart of Flux lies a deftly imaginative, pulsing mystery - full of diasporic longings and a running commentary on corporate greed (among other things). this should be all you need to know about the book before diving in,

as for me, i found myself caring very little for the characters. all of whom are led along like puppets on string by the author to serve their purpose - there's nothing wrong with this plot-driven style, it's just now my personal preference. and having an unfairly high expectation for the mystery at the heart of Flux, i found myself hesitantly captivated by it in the beginning.- only to lose interest the moment it begins to unravel. it's really a shame because i wanted to love this as much as other reviews, and i couldn't.

it al.l comes down to personal preferences in the end and i would still recommend anyone who is mildly interested in that synopsis to give this book a try.

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I really struggled with this. I will read anything with "time travel" in the blurb but this was really just not my cup of tea. Too opaque and confusing, it was really hard to get a grip on what was happening and I found myself skimming to get to the end.

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Four stars, rounded up from 3.5

I think it's best to dive into this book knowing as little as possible. You just have to keep reading, knowing that you won't understand everything as it happens, but it all might coalesce later. The problem for me is that it didn't fully coalesce, and I'm not sure if it completely works. The technology is fuzzy for me, and I don't think Chong really provides answers to how it all happens in the text.


Why did Lev choose Brandon? He says it's because he saw himself choosing him when he traveled to the future, but that seems like a cop-out to me. How does the cereal and milk figure into the process? How does Brandon control where he goes? There's just so much that's murky for me. I'm interested in reading reviews and interviews with Chong when the book is released to see if there are details I missed or if the answers just aren't there.

As a meditation on grief, the story is well-intentioned but doesn't completely get to where it wants to go. I wanted to know much more about Kaz and the relationship between the brothers and their eventual estrangement. So much of the book hints at things that could be fleshed out more. The ending should pack more of an emotional wallop then it does, and I think that's because the reader isn't really given a chance to meet their mom before her death or see how the family survives in the aftermath. We spend so little time with her, if any at all, that it's hard to feel much of anything regarding her untimely passing. There is so much real estate given to Raider, and I think those sections could be dialed back a bit in service to fleshing out more of Brandon's childhood. Saving his mother and reversing the course of the bus accident and trajectory of his life should come with some sort of emotional release, and I felt strangely empty.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Melville House Publishing, and Jinwoo Chong for an ARC of this book. Flux reminded me of Ling Ma's Severance, Kevin Nguyen's New Waves, and Charles Yu's works Interior Chinatown and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. The effectiveness of Chong's structure and form is questionable; the strongest pov of the three characters has to be Brandon. I appreciated the representation of a bisexual/queer Asian American man within literature, as rarely are bisexual/queer Asian American men represented. Chong and other Asian American writers such as YZ Chin are writing an interesting perspective on the dominance of the tech industry and how Asian Americans are one of the predominant workers within the tech field. This is especially intriguing considering the techno-orientalism of science fiction and bamboo-ceiling characterizing Asian workers as cold and subservient. While Chong touches upon all of these issues, the execution was lacking and though I admire Chong's ambition the results can vary from great to lackluster. For a debut, I admire Chong's work and look forward to seeing his work in the future.

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Flux was certainly an interesting read: really mind-bending in many ways. I enjoyed the different styles of storytelling between chapters and it all flowed seamlessly and worked well. It's one of those stories where you just have to accept things to begin with, because everything will (mostly) become clear later on. I was still left with a few questions at the end, but not in a way that irritated me. It is a piece that focuses on a number of different themes and does so with sensitivity. It may be a little too 'out there' for some readers, but if you don't mind something on the experimental side it's definitely worth checking out. It gets 4.5 stars from me.

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Thank you, Melville House Publishing, for allowing me to read Flux early.

I’m conflicted. Maybe it’s because I have been feeling tired for a while and therefore not enjoying reading as much as I usually do, and perhaps it’s the book. I just don’t know. I found Flux to be just okay.

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I wanted to enjoy this as the premise sounded super promising, but ultimately I was left wanting more from both the characters and the plot itself.

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