Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Relativistic Phenomena by Kate Pavelle

Title: Relativistic Phenomena
Author: Kate Pavelle
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks

Genre: contemporary
Length: 18500 words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print (hey, nice!)

Grounded by a hurricane, Tony passes time playing chess and flirting with “Ken,” a pierced punk kid. Restless, he needs to make the quantum physics symposium in New York, where making an impression on the reclusive Dr. Ikeda could mean a post-doc research position. What are the odds?

Nineteen-year old Dr. Kenichi Ikeda, alone out of Japan for the first time, gets hustled in a game of chess by the ingenious and handsome Tony. Coincidence and fate brings them together – but the reclusive prodigy is torn: should he hire Tony because of their undeniable mutual attraction, or despite it?


It’s always fun when the reader knows something the character doesn’t. Then the joy of the story is the attempt to steer the character—no, don’t go into the cellar while spooky music’s playing! Or – no! that's really not what it appears! And of course, the character does what he’s been put on the page to do, leaving the reader laughing, exclaiming, sometimes facepalming, but very involved in the story.

Kate Pavelle let Tony loose with all his preconceived notions, and let him walk into a metaphorical door or two. Fortunately his “injuries” are mild enough to recover from, but he’ll be a better scientist from here on, always checking his assumptions. He was a sweet guy, kind to a young man he perceived as a flighty nuisance, even if he was sexy and played some mean chess. Kenichi holds more cards, and isn’t exactly sure how to play his hand. The interplay between the two of them and the various mistakes Tony made was delightful to read. Including high-level science and its practical implications was a nice touch.

Kenichi as prodigy is a bit hard to swallow, but he's so adorable that I just set aside all the Doogie Houser thoughts and watched him go in social matters where he had no expertise.  

Where I hung up on this story—anything that inspires me to stop reading and start counting is a big bounce out. Tony’s insistence on thinking of Kenichi as a punk kid became both a repetitive issue and a character issue—if that’s the only way he thinks of Kenichi, it’s dull for the reader and makes Tony seem like a complete and total unredeemable jerk. Which he’s really not, but that’s the effect of finding “punk” in a novelette 30 times and yes I counted. By the third use I was tapping my fingers and by the 7th I was done with Tony—he’s not that much older than Kenichi and how the hell did he get off being so judgmental? Then I counted, redirected my wrath at the author for some lazy writing, and finished the story, which I almost didn’t do.

I’m glad I did, because even with the total stretch of “no CV for a noted scientist” to explain part of the mixup, it was a well written (with the exception of the one issue) and delightful read of mistaken identities and future happiness. Even with a 1 marble problem that didn’t need to be there, the story is still a 3.

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