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Fighting Gravity

(The Physics of Falling #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  96 ratings  ·  33 reviews
When Jacob Dawes is selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he's catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive.

His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob's own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an u
Paperback, 306 pages
Published March 26th 2012 by Dragon Moon Press (first published March 25th 2012)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  96 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Experiment BL626
The world building fell flat on its ass. The romance shovelled me crap. The protagonist tripped into a vexing stereotype.

+ the world building

Classism was a central theme in the world building, and it took no effort for me to believe in the fictional world. The bad news was that after the world building in the first few chapters there was no more world building thereafter. It was like building a house but stopping short of putting the plumbing.

The world building boiled down to the following: rich
Steve Umstead
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Science fiction, fantasy, romance, oh my! Fantastic read

Such a combination of genres, I'm not even sure where to start!

How about science fiction? Fighting Gravity is, in my opinion, much less sci than fi. Very little of the standard tech of scifi is present, and the same with interstellar travel and other worlds, except almost in passing (such as an unscheduled stop at a nebula to sightsee). Don't get me wrong, this is by no means a complaint, but as a lifelong scifi fan I do look for that 'd
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Being sick sucks, but having a good book to read does help mitigate things. Reading Fighting Gravity has helped sooth my post Ad Astra cold while giving my beleaguered brain something to focus on.

It helps that this book is an excellent read. I dipped my toes into it last night and then dived in fully today while sprawled out on the couch, devouring it in only a few hours. It's that good and that easy to fall into.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that Falling Gravity's main character, Jacob
Jaimie Teekell
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am an internet-friend of Leah's, but not because I met her before I read this book. I met her because I read this book and loved it. A few years ago, Leah had early chapters of FIGHTING GRAVITY on her blog. I read them and was hooked. I became an obsequious beggar, she graciously sent me the whole manuscript, and the rest is history.

What impressed me initially about FIGHTING GRAVITY was the dialogue and the pacing of the story. I am a stickler for both. Snobby, really. What made me fall in lov
Apr 27, 2012 marked it as to-read
Fighting Gravity is Leah Petersen's debut novel. She constructed a future world where the class you are born into means everything. But it isn't what I would consider a dystopian novel. While there are flaws with the social structure they aren't that far off from our own. In fact, this future world that Leah created is fairly accepting of homosexuality. It is far more egregious that someone have a relationship with someone below their class than of the same sex.

The protagonist, Jacob Dawes, man
R.B. Wood
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was privileged and honored to have been one of the ‘beta readers’ for Leah Petersen’s Fighting Gravity, so I watched the development of the story for some time.

Yes, this is a science fiction story. But the talented Ms. Petersen blends the fantastical with a well thought-out tale spanning the desperate slums in a future Mexico City to the brilliantly depicted palace entrapments that the initially impoverished Jake soon finds himself in.

The scenery is painted with a brilliance that is both subti
Chris Jackson
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've been wanting to read this for some time, actually since I met the author last year at ReaderCon. Knowing ahead of time that it is not exactly up my line of genre fiction (I'm not much for romances, though I do like romantic elements in the books I read) I was pleasantly surprised by this SF/Romance.

Without spoilers, I felt as if I'd been immersed in a strange mixture of Ender's Game and a heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, pain, and a deep look at just how stupid people who are in love can
Mónica Bustamante Wagner
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Even though I don’t read this type of sci-fi book normally, I was really happy to read this ARC! I enjoyed reading Leah Petersen’s debut, and I liked the protagonist.

This one’s about Jacob—Jake—a very intelligent but poor boy, who gets ripped off from his family by the Imperial Intellectual Complex (I was really immersed in the story when poor Jake gets tore from his family! So sad…). At first, Jake is really angry because he thinks of his family and his sister that he loves so much. Then after
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to give this a 3.5.

Review originally posted on my book blog here

Fighting Gravity is a science fiction romance that was sent to me for review from the author.

Read an excerpt of Fighting Gravity (Chapter 1) here

My Thoughts: Told from the first person POV, this had the feel of a memoir. I couldn't tell what prompted this introspection, but I saw the story as three parts: Jacob's early years at the IIC, his relationship with the Emperor, and the fallout from that relationship.

Jacob Dawes star
Jeffrey Pfaller
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Leah Petersen’s debut novel from Dragon Moon Press, Fighting Gravity is a phenomenal love story set against an epic sci-fi universe where interplanetary travel, ground-breaking scientific innovations and opulent riches are commonplace.

Oh, and that love story? It’s a gay love story.

The nice thing about her book is that it focuses on those elements, in that order. In fact, I wouldn’t even say the fact that the two main characters are both men is the third most important element she’s woven into th
Jaimie Teekell
I am an internet-friend of Leah's, but not because I met her before I read this book. I met her because I read this book and loved it. A few years ago, Leah had early chapters of FIGHTING GRAVITY on her blog. I read them and was hooked. I became an obsequious beggar, she graciously sent me the whole manuscript, and the rest is history.

What impressed me initially about FIGHTING GRAVITY was the dialogue and the pacing of the story. I am a stickler for both. Snobby, really. What made me fall in lov
Roberto Calas
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic read. Miss Petersen's story combines adventure, science fiction, a love story and a coming of age tale all into one. I found myself emotionally invested in the story and the characters and unable to stop reading. Many science fiction stories fail because they are too focused on the scifi elements, but the author has blended the science fiction perfectly with the one element that every story needs to nail down: character. The characters are so well developed and their problems ...more
J.M. Frey
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Leah Petersen's debut book is touching, emotional, and a comfortably domestic love story set against the backdrop of politics in an empire that spans the Galaxy. Our narrator, boy-genius Jacob Dawes, is an oddly mature child who "steps between a punch" at six, is chosen for relocation to the Imperial Intellectual Complex at eight, and "makes love" at fifteen.

Born into one of the most poor slums of an Empire that stretches across worlds, Jake is plucked from his home life due to his amazing maths
I received a review copy of this book from the author. I'm afraid I'm about to prove that not having to pay for a book doesn't bias me in its favor.

There were some really strong parts of this book. The middle section is a tense page-turner, and I found the characters well-developed. But the first section, before the introduction of the Emperor, and the last couple of chapters, sagged. The worldbuilding was good, except that I had questions about the world I felt could've been answered in the nar
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“Fighting Gravity” by Leah Petersen is a science fiction gay romance that follows Jacob Dawes starting with his removal from the ghetto to the Imperial Intellectual Complex, where he is expected to benefit the Empire with his genius and, somehow, fit in with his prejudiced upper class peers. For a Romance, the book is high on smart details and serious themes which raise Fighting Gravity to the cream of modern science fiction. Never does the reader get the myopic sense that Fighting Gravity is ab ...more
Jeanne 'Divinae'
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yaoi-m-m
This was a long book, even though I did not feel like it was dragging on forever. It was set at a good pace. I feel that the author set up this society very well and the characters were created with some depth. In this book, you meet Jacob and follow him through him growing up. You meet him when he is 8. I was thankful, they waited until he was 16 before he became involved with anyone. Jacob is bisexual. I personally and not to keen on the idea. I felt a little robbed when he had relations with ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
(3.5 stars)
(originally reviewed on Starmetal Oak Reviews)

Fighting Gravity is a science fiction romance debut from author Leah Petersen. I actually read this book in one day and was surprised by many things.

The story is told first person point of view from the character Jacob Dawes. He tells the story like he’s recounting it from some point in the future; there’s a lot of emotion and flows like it would through his memory. The story starts from his early childhood at eight years old when he’s se
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Leah Petersen is giving readers everything they could ask for in her debut release, Fighting Gravity. What starts out as a story with a dystopian feel soon morphs into a teenage boy/girl romance and then segues into a m/m love story with the entire book wrapped up in a sci-fi/futuristic bow. The action moves along at a nice pace presenting a young man's life told from his perspective and the events that befall him good and bad.

Jake Dawes is an intriguing character that practically grows up befor
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wondered what happened to Cinderella and her Prince after the words “and they lived happily ever after”? Well this debut novel provides one possible outcome.
Miraculously reprieved from a poverty-struck ‘untouchables’ slum-life existence by his prodigious mind, his street-smart survival instincts and an out of control mouth (which gets him into trouble more often than not as we shall see) – young Jacob Dawes is relocated to the Imperial Intellectual Complex (IIC) to be trained in hi
K. Turner
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book soon after it came out, as Leah Petersen and I had discussed writing on twitter for a while. So when she released Fighting Gravity, I picked it up for Kindle. At the time I wasn’t much of a Kindle reader, and so the book sat unread for a while—until I started reading more on the electronic device. In a way, I’m glad I waited, so I could read the whole series back-to-back!

Fighting Gravity is told in first person from the point of view of Jacob Dawes, a young genius physicist. J
Leo Valiquette
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I began reading Leah Petersen's Fighting Gravity, but I found myself pleasantly surprised and sucked into the narrative. I can only describe it is as an LGBT sci-fi romance that made me reminisce about Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant (remember that series?).

Of course, our protagonist, Jacob Dawes, isn't the horn dog that Anthony's Hope Hubris was -- he has a true love, and it's the emperor of a future galactic empire.

For the record, I'm a heterosexua
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved it and could not put it down. I am an internet friend of the author, and originally bought the book for only that reason...since it is not really my preferred genre. I am not entirely sure what genre is is...sci-fi I suppose, and romance?

Anyways, I was sucked into the book from the start, and found the characters likeable and engaging.

I love the way that homosexuality in the book is portrayed...normal. Although there are many things about the world in the book that are not desirable...t
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A well-developed set of characters; likeable, but not perfect. The author is clearly skilled at world-building and has developed a plausible and complex world for this authentic and moving love story. Lots of plot twists to keep the reader engaged, and a lovely and appropriate denouement after some thorny roads for the protagonist.
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this story. I started last night only to be forced to put it down at 4 am with no more than 20 pages left to read. "Fighting Gravity" is well written and easy to read! The characters are fabulous and it was easy for me to fall in love with them. I am looking forward to next installment and hope it comes quickly. ...more
Chrissy Dyer
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
OMG! Harry Potter meets Hunger Games!! This was my thought when I first started reading this book. I am not one for Sci-Fi books, but this book had me right from the beginning. There are some many twists and turns, that I couldn't put it down!! I can't wait to read book 2 and find out what happens in Jacob's life. ...more
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I love the fight, and we all fight graviton several fronts. This book provide me with a true paradigm shift, which speaks as mush about me of course as it does of the book. I highly recommend this book and look forward to exploring Leah Petersen's work. ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, m-m
3.75-4 stars!
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Well... that was a lot more depressing (view spoiler) and involved a lot more angst and torment, both physical and emotional, of the main character and a lot less sci-fi (other than in the somewhat superficial worldbuilding and the fact that people occasionally fly around in spaceships) than expected. Don't get me wrong, there were many things I liked about this book, especia ...more
Jessica O
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Loving this book was all about the characters for me. Jake and Pete (the protagonist and his love interest) felt real. Jake's tempter getting the better of him - I've been there, done that. Pete having to be true to his role as the emperor even though it went against his heart - I could empathize.

Can't wait for the sequel.
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina manipulating numbers by day and the universe by night. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.

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Other books in the series

The Physics of Falling (3 books)
  • Cascade Effect (The Physics of Falling, #2)
  • Impact Velocity (The Physics of Falling, #3)

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