This book startled and surprised me. It will evade most attempts at sound-byte descriptions -- but if you throw Showtime's "Dead Like Me" into the bleThis book startled and surprised me. It will evade most attempts at sound-byte descriptions -- but if you throw Showtime's "Dead Like Me" into the blender with "Jonathon Livingston Seagull" and add hints of zombies and vampires, Jedi and "Jumper", quantum technology and probability theories, magic and mental powers, maybe even a dash of "Spiderman" and "Monsters Inc" and "Kungfu Panda" -- you will only BEGIN to get a feel for what to expect. I received this book (for free through Goodreads First Reads) earlier this week, I was captured within the first several pages, and have read it cover to cover twice -- and it is going into my stack of books that deserve to be reread every couple of years.
The author has evolved an awesome concept, created a whole new ecology of mind and spirit, and handled it cleanly with interesting artful and technical flourishes. Fairly early on, for just long enough, the discourse becomes almost violently non-linear AND it works both to shake the reader loose from a "typical" mindset AND to foreshadow later development. Several noteworthy mental images arise: "testers" scattered on mountaintops around the world, recuperating, and "I had to jump through two different particle accelerators to lose him"... It is worth mentioning that, like any good cook, the author never allows the range of possible "gimmicks" to overpower the flavor of the central storyline.
Out of literally hundreds of books I have read in the last year or so, "Probability Angels" ranks with only one or two others that cry out for wider distribution, having a core message with the potential to warm, encourage and strengthen people, that warrants being SEEN. Screenplay opportunities here should not be ignored -- the story offers a strong core concept which CAN be defined visually AND offers the opportunity to showcase a variety of interesting (and not gratuitous) special effects.
And that core message isn't pushy or gushy. "None of them ever grasp that they become who they are in this world BECAUSE of the obstacles in their lives, not in spite of them."... "I only saw that you existed and so you had a right to be better than you are"... And paraphrasing one passage that encompassed almost everything: "I didn't knock him off his skateboard and skin his knee -- I 'pushed' him and made him get back on it."
Another reviewer commented feeling like the ending was somehow insufficient, a let-down, or maybe leaving the option of a "sequel"... Personally, I felt like the ending accurately described MY feelings as I finished the book -- that yes, life is unpredictable and uncertain -- and yet in the core of my mind, underneath that uncertainty, there IS a sense of hope and freedom, newfound strength and potential. Self-referentially, the book seems to accomplish what its characters set out to do.
To those who are about to read this for the first time, I salute (and envy) you....more