When Jane Kremowski first began her graduate studies in physics at Madison State University in Wisconsin, little did she know where her work would take her. Now, she is embroiled in a multitude of dimensions all leading to different outcomes. She and her colleagues therefore must act wisely in order to take and keep away the Order of Dimension from falling into the wrong hands for the sake of her loved ones.
I was contacted by self-published author Irene Helenowski last week and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her recent sci-fi/fantasy novel Order Of The Dimensions. As a long-term fantasy fan, I was intrigued by the promise of inter-dimensional travel and magic boxes that could traverse time and space – any other Whovians pricking their ears up?! – and by early reviews on Goodreads that had awarded Order Of The Dimensions 4 or 5 stars.
The story is focused around the existence of a ‘Multiverser’, a box powered by algorithms and parameters created by a group of physicists from varying universities across the United States. Among these physicists is our protagonist, Jane Kremowski, her lab partner Mike, her professor Dr. Monroe, and their enemy, the antagonist Dr. Zelov. The Multiverser can transport human beings across various belts of space and time, with each ‘dimension’ containing a variation of the characters lives – in one, for example, Jane is married to long term sweetheart Randy, in another, to the antagonist Dr. Zelov, whilst in a third, her parents are dead and her cousin Tina has a severe mental disability.
This theory of multiple dimensions is itself mind-boggling and takes a while to get your head around, at times the transition between dimensions is confusing and not always obvious, leaving you wondering who belongs where and who is alive and what should be happening. At the very beginning, the workings of the Multiverser are not explained, and we are left wondering as to the reason why Jane enters her office at night and emerges at 8am in the morning, after the story has her working in there for 5 minutes. However, once you catch on to what the Multiverser is and how it works, the story flows a whole lot better and you become a lot more tuned in to noticing the fine changes in background detail that indicate a dimension hop.
At other times, the action is, I feel, rather overtly dramatic, with Jane and her colleagues making sudden about-turns across different universes in a game of cat-and-mouse with the evil Dr. Zelov. Dr.Zelov himself also feels rather undeveloped as a character, we first come across him as a visiting professor at Jane’s laboratory, where he is simply described as ‘odd’, yet before long he is unmasked as a power hungry overlord who controls a political movement aiming to gain control of the universe and section off its inhabitants into whatever dimension ‘best suits their needs’. Jane and her friends find out about Dr.Zelov’s plans and desperately try to stop him committing this atrocious act, which feels inspired by a mixture of Orwell’s 1984 and the Jewish Holocaust. If Jane doesn’t manage to prevent Dr. Zelov’s from gaining full control of the Multiverser, she stands to lose everyone and everything that matters to her, as well as condemn the entire population of the Earth to a life under a cruel dictatorship, split up from friends and family, some sent to torture and death, with no chance of escape.
As a premise for a science fiction story, this idea is catchy, dark, brilliant and intriguing, although I feel with a little more background padding and a little more information about the characters and the Multiverser at the beginning, the story would be as exciting and gripping as the plot deserves. As it is, the whole things reads a little rushed, with lots of repetition and clumsy sentence structure, making it awkward to fully engage with the action.
As Jane and Dr. Zelov chase each other across the multiple dimensions, Jane searching to disable the ‘motherboard’ which Dr. Z controls, and the Dr himself wishing to dispose of Jane and her colleagues so they do not thwart his plans, we are taken on an adventure involving kidnap, murder, difficult moral choices and suspense filled action sequences. As the book is so short, to give any more detail would be giving away the plot, so if you want to know whether Dr. Zelov is beaten and the universe saved, you really will have to get hold of a copy – at just over 300 pages, this story is readable in a day, and a decent enough ‘quick fix’ for those interested in escaping inside a little bit of fantasy!
Overall, Order Of The Dimensions is unarguably fast paced and genuinely exciting, but often a little too abrupt and occasionally hard to believe. The dialogue between the characters seems unnatural at times, and the spelling/grammar errors that I noted over the course of the book somewhat distracted me from the overall plot. I feel that this book would have benefited from a hundred or so more pages, just to fill it out a little so it wasn’t so stop-and-start, and a good proofreader who would have picked up on the errors that prevented a smooth flow of action.
Objectively, Order Of Dimensions has it all – space travel, time modification, intrepid explorers, life and death situations, goodies, baddies, terror, excitement, and suspense. Dr. Zelov is tenacious and satisfyingly evil, Jane is strong and intelligent and a great female role model. Most of my issues with the story were not due to the idea behind it, or the characters, or the action; but with the actual prose itself – the grammar and editing. Similarly, I feel that the book’s cover design is extremely amateur and looks more like a school textbook than a modern science fiction novel – with some good graphics and a professional overhaul, more people would be drawn to it, and it would be able to hold its own in the face of competition.
For a debut novel, this is a decent foray by Irene Helenowski into the difficult and demanding world of sci-fi, and, if the errors I mentioned were cleared up, the story was extended just a little bit further, and the cover design brought up to scratch, I’d be confident that Order Of The Dimensions would quickly become a popular choice among fans of this genre. I would like to read more of these characters, as I feel they are set up well for a series and are extremely likeable.
DISCLAIMER – * This book was gifted to me by the author in exchange for an honest review; I did not receive any payment for my post nor am I in any way affiliated with the sales or future development of this book. *
- Author Interview ~ Irene Helenowski (nfaa.wordpress.com)