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Karola – :
Well maybe I‘m not into that chaos theory, but I just couldn‘t find a strong go to for that book. I won‘t say it‘s bad, it‘s just not my kind of thing. I just felt chaos while reading it, sorry.
Betty Harmon – :
Strange Attractors by Ana K. Wrenn is a superbly written novel. It was not at all what I expected to read when I picked this story, but I’m so glad I got the chance to read it.
The book is about Dr. Sonja J. Storey, a professor at Western Highlands State University (WHSU). She has worked there for a number of years, and has risen, or more precisely clawed her way to nearly the top of her department. Her goal has almost been reached, but then the threatening notes, emails, and shadowy figures stalking her begin. Someone means Sonja harm, and who is this new professor, Dr. Crystal Byrd? Does she have something to do with the threats, or is it someone from Sonja’s past?
As I mentioned above, this is truly an amazing story. It is definitely a character-driven novel, which is my favorite read, but I must admit, I did not like Sonja to begin with. She is an ice queen, but she actually goes beyond that, and is really unlikeable, at least at the beginning. What kept me reading were the glimpses I got of the real person behind the mask she showed the world.
No, not a mask but a sturdily constructed wall around her.
This wall took years to build and will not be easily breached. It takes a lot of love, patience, and empathy to even attempt it. That’s where Crystal comes in. The author created a great pairing with these two characters. Crystal is just the right person to stand up to Sonja and hopefully melt her heart. The threats to Sonja add mystery to an already riveting tale and the romance helps to soften some of the darkness in this story.
This is not a lighthearted novel, but it is one I’m very glad I had the chance to read. You really should read this book. I highly recommend it.
I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.
Sagacious Sapphic – :
Plunge into chaos with Dr. Sonja Storey and you will be asking yourself many questions. What is real? Did that actually happen? Does it mean anything?
This novel is an experience as much as it is a story. In the perspective of Sonja who is wrapped in chaos and conspiracy, there is a discomfort for the reader not knowing if Sonja is a reliable narrator. This is not a romance. This is not a relaxing or fluffy read. This is gritty. This is unsettling and at times off-putting in it’s honest glimpse into a troubled mind.
Sonja’s past is slowly revealed while we navigate her present chaos. What does life look like when you were powerless, and now see everything as power play? What happens when you were looked down on and are driven to seek status symbols and control? What happens when you’ve been abandoned so you stop seeking to connect with other people? Sonja is a deeply flawed and at times deeply unwell college professor who believes someone is playing a dangerous game with her.
Romantic interest Crystal Bird is a stunning character, but I still don’t quite know what she sees in Sonja. She speaks her mind, has some wild ideas and strong boundaries. She is a professor at the same college as Sonja and challenges her first incidentally, and then directly. Against all reason, Crystal never completely gives up on Sonja and keeps pushing her to be the best version of herself. She refuses to accept being mistreated, and has goals and friends of her own. Crystal really adds depth and humor to the story occasionally breaking the disquiet of being in Sonja’s mind.
The writing in the novel is exceptional. I love the way Wrenn smashes words together in painfully artistic ways. The pace of the story starts slow and increases through the end of the book.
Henriette – :
Thought provoking compelling read
This book is for many women, this book is for all of us who survived and started to thrive (or hope to thrive!). Sonja, Prof. Storey, is not easy to like (let alone love) and it becomes layer by layer, chapter by chapter clearer why. My perception of her changed to respect.
The author does a masterful job of drawing us in – into academia, the workplace, the obnoxious and still thriving ressentiments and subtle or not so subtle words and acts against women. Just when I finished the book another professional women told me how she and many women have donned their armor (at times literally – „power suit“ is not an accidental name) and hardened themselves against the mysogynist workplaces we have to survive, only to think they are safe and to find themselves again in challenging situations.
Sonja certainly has had a harder struggle than most of us – I was appalled but by no means astonished about what she had to endure -, but it serves like a magnifying glass for seeing all the minor lesions, the more subtle mistreatement and seemingly innocuous remarks who leave women with strange attractors.
And there is a chance of redemption and there is a chance people change – enter Crystal Byrd (and others) who have their own histories and still can help the world to move forward.
Kudos to the author for this beautiful, compelling book. And beware this is no easy read, by no means a lovey-dovey romance, but so worth it.