4 out of 4 stars
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Robert Leet’s Timewise follows Ron Larsen from childhood to his induction into the world of science and mathematics. His mysterious mentor, Regina, weaves in and out of his life from the time that she “simply condense[s]” out of thin air. As the book moves forward, it becomes clear that she is not just a benevolent benefactor: Regina grooms Ron from a distance, but her purpose is unclear.
An orphan for all his memory, Ron Larsen is bounced around in foster care. Eventually, he finds stability in afternoons spent playing chess and determines this will be the key to his success. As the years go by, he moves to poker, and eventually ends up in the same city Regina teaches in. They run into each other, and Ron begins his journey through college with her support. Ron drifts into the mathematics department and is introduced to theoretical science; along with the classical experiments describing the workings of the universe, Regina begins to feed him her theories on the universe and perturbations of Einstein’s theories. The plot thickens with the involvement of the FBI until the traditional boundaries of right and wrong become clouded…
As a reader with a scientific background, I especially enjoyed Leet’s incorporation of classic scientific experiments and accurate foundations of physics. In Timewise, he references the foundational principles of relativity and quantum mechanics, the two-slit experiment, and the fractal economic hypothesis. His thought experiments into Regina’s fictional theories of the relationship of time and space are also thought provoking and interesting to read from both a literary and loosely scientific perspective. Aside from the content, the characters are well developed, the rhythm of the book was engaging without feeling rushed, and the plot was fantastic. The novel was exceptionally well edited. I look forward to reading future books in this series.
With that said, certain parts of the book felt out of place within the story line. For example, Ron and his ex-wife’s vacation near Quebec did not seem to serve a part in the narrative. Additionally, skipping between the past and present in the first few chapters before moving to the present tense with glimpses of the future was a bit irritating after a while. These critiques certainly do not apply to everyone, and on the whole, Timewise was a well written book.
Overall, I would rate Timewise as 4 out of 4 stars due to the strong plot, characters, and overall enjoyable read. This book is not quite sci-fi in the sense of aliens and space travel, but certainly is scientific fiction for the expansion of modern understanding to new perspectives. I would recommend it to fans of scientific fiction, particularly those interested in math and physics with a bit of adventure and time travel. This book is more suitable for more readers (high school age or above) due to some romantic scenes, strong language, and graphic descriptions.
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