THE UNWINDING by Juliana  Rew

THE UNWINDING

Gin's Story
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A novel sees a woman shunted through time and space as two universes go to war.

Virginia Sun-Jones, a Korean American who goes by Gin, is enjoying Christmas with her family in Nags Head, North Carolina. Unseasonable warmth has allowed Gin; her husband, Alan; their daughter, Grace; and her son-in-law, Eric, to visit the beach for a picnic. When Gin catches an antique newspaper blowing in the wind, she notes the publication date of March 28, 1827. She then proposes a toast, but it’s interrupted by a thunderstorm, during which she finds herself mysteriously alone. She eventually meets a woman named Hope and learns that she’s been transported to 1827. Strangely, Gin still possesses a pearl that she found on the beach before the picnic. This legendary Cintamani pearl grants her desires for dry, clean clothes and much more when she asks to leave 1827 in search of her family. A sentience known as the Quantum Opposable Singularity provides Gin with a dragon called Hangul to travel further in time. Gin, despite a limited understanding of the cosmos, has been chosen to combat a disastrous Unwinding of the universe. Entities like Golaeth, who oversees the cosmic nursery, and Emperor Calaneris XXIII, who believes the cosmos is a labyrinth to be pruned, strive to control the chaos as two universes clash. In this sci-fi series opener, Rew (Erenarch Academy, 2018, etc.) fans her fiery imagination consistently throughout this time- and dimension-hopping adventure. Lines like “I have no eyes, but I can see wavelengths pulsing as if I still had an optic nerve they could travel” challenge readers to keep pace with genuinely alien tableaux. Strange characters, such as alien physicists Benrus and Ralff, have brightly sketched backstories that could carry their own novels, contributing to the tale’s episodic feel. And while “whole areas of space-time are being deleted,” Gin’s pearl and other MacGuffins that can do virtually anything lessen the plot’s overall tension. Grounded revelations regarding Alan, Grace, and Eric provide the emotional signal that cuts through lots of Dr. Who–style noise.

A sci-fi romp that’s vast in scale yet thoroughly playful.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-73392-071-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Sophont Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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