This story starts out a bit slow. Don’t let that stop you! The rewards for perseverance are great: wonderful characters, a tight plot, lots of conflict, intrigue and spy-stuff, an utterly nasty sociopathic bastard, and a rich old man rediscovering his life’s dream in his final days. Plus shape-changing, gender-bending, improbable romance, and some fine times sailing among the Pacific islands.
This is a kind-of sequel (Sherrie calls it a “companion novel” which is more accurate) to X0, which was a story about telepathy and the unity of all consciousness. X0 is a mathematical expression read as “X to the power of zero,” which of course is always 1 for any real-number value of X. Y1 (“Y to the power of 1”) is also a mathematical expression, but while X0=1 for all values of X, Y1=Y, which is to say it remains itself, and this story has an underlying theme of individuality and the right of any person to pursue his or her own destiny. There’s plenty of action and character-development around that theme: a gay boy fleeing persecution, a young woman trying to chart her life against a domineering father’s demands, a man who gives up a fortune to do what he wants to do. Pressure to conform versus hope, identity, and conscience runs all through this story, alongside greed, power-lust, and deception.
As I said, the story takes a little while to get rolling, but the early chapters of character-building and stage-setting are necessary (even though I think some of it could have been compressed, or a bit more action and conflict could have been included to give it a faster pace in the early sections). Get through them, and you’ll be well rewarded. From the middle of the book on, I literally couldn’t put it down except when sleep insisted. And that was only because the words were swimming on the screen and I’d become functionally illiterate.
If you’ve read Sherrie Cronin’s X0 you’re already somewhat familiar with one of the main characters, Zane, Lola’s son, but you’ll find out a lot more about him here and also meet many new characters to find fascinating. Characterization is Sherrie’s great strength as a writer in my opinion and it’s well displayed here. You’ll fall in love with most of them and in hate with the rest.
Available at Amazon for $2.99.