3 out of 4 stars
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Written by Gary Bullock, The Elsewhen Gene is a science fiction and romance novel about parallel universes and everlasting love. Laura Elizabeth Austin, known as Laura Bess, and Elijah Lucas Grant, known as Lije, are not average kids. They are geniuses with extraordinary abilities. Laura Bess has the ability to side-step to parallel universes. Lije has the ability to see the past and the future. Their exceptional abilities match their brightness and interest for the mysteries of space and time. They love each other profoundly and believe themselves to be soulmates. They plan on becoming a couple of famous scientists. Sadly, Lije looses Laura Bess in a plane crash. Years later, Lije is an astrophysicist who works tracking space junk at Mellstrom Radar. He and his coworker, Dr. Evan Williams, discover a black hole that will end Earth. Out of the blue, Laura Bess reappears in Lije’s life. She had been living in a parallel universe. But with Lije’s world ending and the cruel Agent Folter pursuing Laura Bess, they need to find a new world in which they can be together.
The Elsewhen Gene consists of two parts. Part one is about how Laura Bess and Lije reconnect after losing each other and look for another parallel universe. Part two focuses on the story of Walter Osborne and Gabriella Tucci. They met during World War II in Lesina, Italy, and fell in love. However, Walter allegedly died in a German airfield. Gabriella refused to believe he was dead; therefore, she went to live in America. She searched for him for more than three decades. Laura Bess and Lije try to reunite these lovers after all those lost years.
Bullock’s portrayal of Laura Bess and Lije was my favorite aspect of this book. When they were children, they had wisdom beyond their years. I loved reading their conversations about eternity and time. Innocence, sincerity, and a bond of pure love are also components of their rare personalities. After they become adults, they maintain the qualities that make them special human beings. Even though it is a risk, they help Walter and Gabriella. I commend the author for their unusual depiction. It is refreshing to find characters with such rich minds and hearts.
The secondary characters play important roles in the two main storylines of this book. Bullock soundly developed their stories. All of them kept me interested for different reasons. I felt sad every time Dr. Evan Williams remembered his wife. I thought that Mama Kajiwin brought beautiful elements of Native American spirituality to the main story of the first part of the book. Hopelessness came to my mind when I read about what happened to Walter and Gabriella during WWII. Maureen Fannelli made me smile with her sassiness. I detested Albert Pericule because he is a nasty person.
The main theme of The Elsewhen Gene is the existence of parallel universes. Bullock’s talent comes through in his elaboration of this scientific theme with a modern and smooth writing style. He writes about it in a way that a layperson can easily understand. The story does not sound like an academic lecture as other science fiction books that I have read. I liked that the chapters are short and straightforward. In addition, the author maintains a good amount of suspense throughout the novel.
Even though I had a pleasant time reading this book, I thought part one and part two could have been released as two separate books. As I stated previously, part one focuses on the story of Laura Bess and Lije. Meanwhile, part two focuses on the story of Walter and Gabriella. When I started reading the second part, I thought I was reading a sequel. Another issue I had with the story is that it left me with some questions. I will only give two examples because I do not want to get into spoilers. Why Lije is able to see the past and the future? Does Walter have Lije’s ability? Besides these two reservations, I found a few errors in the book.
I rate The Elsewhen Gene by Gary Bullock 3 out of 4 stars, although I wanted to rate it 4 stars. I cannot give it the full stars because it reads like two separate books, left me with some questions, and has a few errors. I loved the main characters of this novel because of their pure hearts and genius minds. At the end of the book, the author says he is not done writing about Laura Bess and Lije. I hope he continues writing about them and their adventures. First and foremost, I recommend this book to nerds who want to identify themselves with special characters. I think it is also a bright selection for young adults and readers of science fiction and romance novels.
The Elsewhen Gene
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