The Fall

 R.J. Pineiro

Published July 2015

The Fall is a sci-fi thriller that came into my hands after my dad had listened to the Audible version, and loved it.  He promptly bought me the book in hopes that a physical copy would entice me to move it up on my TBR list, and then we could discuss; you know, like most father-daughter relationships.  That was very sweet of him but I think he grossly underestimated my pile of books waiting to be read, for here we are, 7 months later, and I am finally moving this from the “currently reading” category to the “2 star” shelf.

Let’s start with a synopsis from Barnes & Noble: 

Jack Taylor has always been an adrenaline junkie. As a federal contractor, he does dangerous jobs for the government that fall out of the realm of the SEALS and the Marines. And this next job is right up his alley. Jack has been assigned to test an orbital jump and if it works, the United States government will have a new strategy against enemy countries.

Despite Jack’s soaring career, his personal life is in shambles. He and his wife Angela are both workaholics and are on the verge of getting a divorce. But the night before his jump, Jack and Angela begin to rekindle their romance and their relationship holds promise for repair. Then comes the day of Jack’s big jump. He doesn’t burn up like some predicted—instead, he hits the speed of sound and disappears. 

Jack wakes up in an alternate universe. One where he died during a mission five years earlier and where Angela is still madly in love with him. But in this world, his boss, Pete, has turned to the dark side, is working against him, and the government is now on his tail. Jack must return to his own world but the only way for him to do that is to perform another orbital jump. This time is more difficult though—no one wants to see him go.

 Before I even get into the review of the actual novel, who the HELL wrote that synopsis?!  It sounds like a third grader describing his coloring book to his parents.  I will be the first to admit that I am usually sold on the covers of books before the teaser description, and while the cover of The Fall is totally bad ass, I would have reshelfed this book at the store if I read that.

But, I am a sucker for inter-dimensional travel.  I love a good brain workout, and I have recently discovered how much I enjoy the science fiction genre, so I gave this a read anyways.

 I will admit, I first thought that The Fall was Pineiro’s first published work.  The writing is extremely choppy, and at points the sentence structure could be classified as a bit juvenile.  I was going to look over that, expecting that with more books his writing style would be fine tuned, but unfortunately, that is all irrelevant because this book is 15th or some odd book….. So there goes that theory.

I powered through the writing.  I really love the concept of this book:  a man falls through space and into another dimension?  How awesome is that?!  I also really appreciated that Pineiro did not just tell the story like it was a fluke that Jack Taylor happened into another world; there is some legitimate scientific reasoning behind the whole story.  It is tricky though, when you have a complicated scientific story such as this one, explaining everything to the average reader in a way that does not come across as a lecture.  I don’t think Pineiro managed to do that.  It wasn’t that it was unbelievable for the characters in The Fall to actually know what they were talking about: Jack Taylor, the main character, is a former SEAL.  His wife, Angela, is a hacker-turned-government-agent that now works with NASA.  Their best friend, Pete, also works with NASA.  So, all of these characters have the brains to understand and even implement dimensional jumps, but there were just too many technical conversations between them without a ‘readers digest’ version to give the reader a sense of what was going on.

The story is also written from three main points of view; Jack, Angela, and Pete, however, it is told from two different dimensions. So, there are really six different points of view, with random minor characters thrown in to help flush out the story, and the whole thing I found very confusing.  I also found the villain, General Hastings, a little too cliché, but there is no reason to go into depth on his character development, or lack thereof, for spoiler reasons.  I will say, that I searched for the reasoning behind his ‘evil plan’, and came up empty.  Basically, the motive behind the whole novel was nonexistent, at least for me.

Jack Taylor drops from the sky into another dimension that is similar to his world, but has some glaring differences.  For example, the US uses the metric system, and Cuba is an American ally.  But it isn’t natural for Jack to reside in this different dimension permanently so he and his super smart wife build him a suit to get back home.  And here is where I need to talk about my biggest problem with this book, and unfortunately, it’s a big-un.

SPOILER ALERT! 

He makes it back to his original world. The science is all explained, so that is not where my problem lies, but in the multi dimensional concept.  If you happen to buy into the possibility that multiple dimensions exist, which I will admit I do, then what are the odds that Jack Taylor goes back up into the atmosphere, performs his dimensional jump, and makes it back to his world just like that?  Nah, I’m not buying it.  I honestly would have enjoyed this book so much more if there was no actual happy ending.  If what happened instead was: Jack thinks he is heading home and rather drops into a yet another dimension where a dog is the president of the US, or Earth has experienced a global war.  Maybe I am just being a grouch, but this really bothered me!

Anyways, the concept of this book is super cool, and really was the one redeeming factor.  After writing this, maybe I should adjust my rating to a one star, as it doesn’t appear that I have highlighted many redeeming qualities.  I definitely dog it here, but I didn’t hate it.  I think The Fall has a lot of untapped potential….oh well.

As I said in the beginning of my review, I am a sucker for a good cover.  With that being said I would like to show case the Czech edition of The Fall for your viewing pleasure as well.  Feast your eyes!

★★

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