Planesrunner (Everness #1) by Ian McDonald
Publisher: Prometheus Books (PYR/Dec. 2011)
Warm thanks to PYR for providing a review copy
There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one of billions of parallel earths.
When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse-the Infundibulum-the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, and the might of ten planets-some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth-at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.
To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his Dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.
Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!
When 14 year old Everett Singh watches his father’s kidnapping in front of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he doesn’t quite know what to do. He’s very sure of what he saw, but the police don’t seem to believe him and his own mother is not even quite sure what to believe. See, Everett’s dad is a theoretical physicist, and it’s possible that he’s discovered something that some people will do anything to get their hands on. When Everett receives a mysterious file on his computer (which he calls Dr. Quantum), he realizes that things are about to get bad, and it will be up to him to save his dad.See, Tejendra Singh has discovered the multiverse; many, many universes running parallel to our own, different versions of Earth, or “planes” (hence the name Planesrunner.) Everett has unlocked the secret to mapping the universes (the Infundibulum), and using an invention called the Heisenberg Gate, scientists are able to travel to these alternate planes. There are 10 (E1-E10) main planes (including our Earth, the newest member) that have been deemed safe for travel, and it turns out that back and forth travel has already begun. Emmissaries from E3 are determined to capture Everett, and he knows that he must travel to their plane to get his father back.
There is really nothing about this book that I didn’t like. As soon as Everett jumps to E3, he heads to the library, where he does a bit of brushing up on this new, alternate London, and finds out that oil has never been used, and electricity is king. Everett calls it Electropunk. He describes E3 as what people in the 30’s imagined our time looking like, and immediately notices the smoky, chemical smell that envelopes him on the streets. After securing some funds by way of a pawnbroker, he takes to the trains, where he meets feisty, beautiful Sen Sixsmyth, who immediately tries to pilfer Dr. Quantum. Sen really means no harm and overwhelmed with loneliness, Everett confides in Sen. It’s soon after that we meet her adopted mother Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth and the crew of the airship Everness. Yep, I said airships. I’m kind of a sucker for a book with airships, and if you are too, you’ll LOVE Planesrunner. When Everett and Sen meet, the book takes off like a rocket. Don’t let the idea of multiple universes scare you. I admit, when I start thinking about stuff like countless parallel universes, my brain begins to ache just a bit, but kinda in a good way, because the thought of it is frankly awesome. In Planesrunner, Everett only explores one, but I’m hoping, and suspect, we’ll get more in the next book. Sen’s world is one of brutality, living by one’s wits, and the hustle and bustle of an alternate London that’s very different from Everett’s, but it’s also one of fierce loyalty, friendship, and swashbuckling adventure. I fell in love with the charming Sen from the get go (and I suspect Everett did too). However, as fun as hanging with the crew of the Everness is, Everett’s ultimate goal is to rescue his father, and he’ll call on his new friends to help. Hampering his efforts is Charlotte Villiers, Planepotentiary (sort of like an ambassador), and stone cold killer, and her cadre of thugs. They’re after Everett at every turn, but Captain Sixsmyth is larger than life, as is her crew, and they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeves. Will Everett rescue his father from the evil Charlotte Villiars, and keep the Infudibulum out of the wrong hands? If I told you, that would spoil all the fun of this wonderful book! You certainly don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy this book, and lovers of sci-fi, adventure, and steampunk won’t be able to put it down! Not to be missed!
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