3 out of 4 stars
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Adriana is a science fiction novel by Mark Angelo Lusardi. Adriana Kasinski and her sister Andromeda are twins. Adriana is an autistic savant. While she lacks interpersonal skills, she has a genius-level understanding of advanced physics and concepts such as parallel universes. During childhood, her sister died in an accident while the two were playing at home. Now an adult, Adriana leaves a special care facility and begins a new life in her own apartment. One day, after walking to the park, she forgets how to get home. After a harrowing night sleeping on a park bench, she meets uni student Matt, who tries to help her by taking her home to his roommates Bea, Archie, and Sophie. But, as Adriana and her new friends ponder the subjects of physics, life, and the universe, Adriana does not realise her significance is far greater than she could ever imagine. And there is one man who will do anything to stop her...
Lusardi's prose was readable and the story was interesting right from the start. This book was a somewhat existential exploration of human life, particularly as Adriana viewed her own. Its esoteric and intelligent examination of the nature of reality and advanced physics concepts encouraged me to think deeply about the questions posed. Things got especially weird around halfway through, but I found myself reading on anyway, intrigued to learn the answers to the bigger questions in the narrative and in Adriana's mind. While I found it a bit frustrating at times trying to grasp what was really going on, the intriguing scientific questions and puzzles included by Lusardi kept me reading.
The author's descriptive writing was of especially high quality in many cases. Some descriptive sentences were very long but, given their beautiful wording, this didn't bother me at all. His characters were clearly defined, each contributing their own dynamic to the friendship group of which Adriana became a part. The dialogue also suited the characters nicely, with accents and unusual pronunciations spelled out phonetically for the reader. Finally, the mind-bending ending wrapped things up particularly well, especially given the confusing nature of much of the book. I found the conclusion very satisfying as it explained a lot and really gave me a sense of closure for the story.
Adriana did have some negatives, however. I found plenty of minor errors, mainly with punctuation, with ten such errors by less than 10% of the way through the book. Consistent with the book's content, these had me thinking the author was from a strong science background with a little less strength in English and grammar. For example: "Protected housing they called it but, Adriana felt the least protected she had ever felt in her 17 years." This should have been: "Protected housing, they called it, but Adriana felt..." There were also occasional incorrect words used such as "passed" for "past" and "discreet" for "discrete."
In conclusion, Adriana was a mind-bending scientific exploration of the nature of reality. Given that its intended audience was people interested in thinking deeply about these issues, I would be happy to rate this book 4 stars once it has been professionally edited. For now, given the errors, I must rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I believe those who would enjoy this book the most are university-level physics majors and readers who enjoy sci-fi books that ask deep, profound questions about the true nature of the universe.
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