Friday, June 03, 2005

Small Eternities by Michael Lawrence

What if there actually are realities existing at the same time as ours? What if that one choice you made so long ago created another world of simultaneous but slightly different events that overlaps your own? And what if you somehow found a way to cross over to that parallel universe and meet someone on the other side?

That's exactly what happened in the first of Michael Lawrence's trilogy of novels, "A Crack in the Line," where Alaric and Naia – two teens with the same parents, same house, and only slightly different lives – accidentally and irreversibly switched places. In the sequel, "Small Eternities," each is living the other's life, and they're the only ones who remember the way it used to be. Three months after they switched, Alaric is happier than he's ever been, but Naia is barely learning to survive. At the same time – but in a different time – a young boy named Aldous unknowingly moves along toward a fate that seems inevitable, existing only in a "small eternity," a short time in 1945 right before he dies. Or does he? Because Alaric and Naia have met up again, within this small eternity, and anything they do can change the future of the past.

Sound confusing? It is, at first. "Small Eternities" asks a lot of its readers. You might have to re-read a few pages every now and then, or go back and check something you thought you noticed a couple chapters ago. In fact, the moment I finished the last page I just had to start again with the first page, reading with a new understanding.
This isn't some lazy summer read, but it's definitely worth the extra work. This is a book to read with a couple of friends; a book that inspires discussion; a book that you'll have to set aside a few hours to finish because you won't want to have to put it down; a book that definitely deserves praise.

Rating (0 - 10): 9

Reviewed by Beckie Sheffield for Flamingnet Book Reviews