07 April, 2012

The Universe Within

Awhile ago now, one of my husband's online friends asked if anyone would be willing to proof read a book he'd written and was planning to self publish in ebook format. I happily said yes and was sent a copy. Now Adrian has taken the step of publishing the book and I'm thrilled to review it!

Title: The Universe Within
Author: Adrian Ridgley
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle - supplied by the author

From Amazon: Charles (Chaz) Perez Del Rio is a philosopher, a rockclimber and a geneticist, not necessarily in that order. During a climbing holiday at Mt Arapiles a notion germinates deep within him that he just can’t shake. There is something terribly wrong with the world and the humanity that continues to shape it. So starts a physical and mental journey that Chaz mistakenly believes is of his making. It leads to his discovery of the meaning of it all: all past, all present, all future - everything. He holds the key to mankind’s utopia, a utopia that the universe will share, the future that was always meant to be. But there is a catch - is mankind worthy of the knowing? The alternative is annihilation.
What I thought: First off, little bit of boasting here. My husband designed that cover! The photo is actually of the author, Adrian Ridgley on a climb called Kachoong, a climb that Rockclimbing.com claims is:
The route. The best, most famous, most dreamed about, and most fallen off route in all of Australia.
 The Universe Within starts in two parts. The first focuses on The Collective - a collection of entities whose rhythm is being disturbed, not for the first time. But this time, the ripples are noticeable and The Collective needs to work out what to do. The second part focuses on Ridgley's passion - rock climbing. As the novel progresses, these two worlds come together, presenting some really interesting ideas and thoughts.

The rock climbing parts of the book are awesome! Ridgley's love of the sport is clear. His descriptions of not only how the climb is done, but the thought processes involved are engrossing. I finished the book wanting to rock climb. He describes climbs that actually exist, that he has really done, but does warn at the end of the book that these descriptions are NOT to be taken as beta! (See, I picked up some rock climbing lingo...if you're a rock climber, you know what beta means, if not, read the book to find out!) His descriptions have you holding your breath as Chaz reaches for that next hold, or he finds the magical link between the rock and the climber. Fantastic stuff.

The Collective parts, like The Collective itself, are not as tight. I think part of this is the fact The Collective is an abstract idea to start with. It's role and purpose are hard to grasp, as Ridgley reveals bit by bit the link between them and Chaz. In the beginning of the book, I struggled with The Collective parts. However, I was proof reading it as well as trying to get my head around the concepts. Without the proof reading, I would have been able to focus more on the idea of The Collective. The further into the book, the more interesting and easier I found The Collective to read. As links were made I became intrigued by the idea Ridgley was drawing out.

The Universe Within is not perfect, but it is well worth the read. It shows an author with promise and will make you wonder about whether knowing the answers to all of the world's ills would be such a good thing after all.

The Universe Within can be purchased for Kindle from Amazon. At only $2.99, it's a bargain!

Challenges: ebook Challenge; Aussie Author Challenge