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A Love Story

by Olivie Blake

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-250-88816-7
Publisher: Tor

Two unusual people find intellectual and emotional stimulation with each other, shaking up their stagnant lives.

Regan is a charismatic aspiring artist and failed counterfeiter who struggles to feel or find purpose in anything, a condition she attributes to the pills she takes to moderate her bipolar disorder. Aldo is a doctoral student in theoretical mathematics whose thought processes are so abstruse and relentlessly active that he is a terrible lecturer, lacks any close relationships other than with his father, and requires drugs to quiet his brain. One day, Regan is volunteering as a docent at the Art Institute of Chicago when she encounters Aldo sitting on the floor of a gallery trying to puzzle out the secrets of time travel. Thus begins a peculiar acquaintanceship built on six important conversations that eventually spark an all-encompassing, dangerously obsessive love. Is this relationship something that will bring out the potential best from these two, or their worst? The story is somewhat burdened by the reader's expectations of where it might be going. If an author is currently writing a series of contemporary fantasy novels that incorporate time travel, then breaks off midsequence to publish a new work with a science fictional–sounding title and a main character obsessed with theoretical time travel, then it’s natural to assume that, eventually, actual time travel will feature in the plot. These two people are so far outside the ordinary that it’s difficult to conceive of them existing in this mundane world. The omniscient narrator suggests that the couple’s meeting is an epic moment. All of this is to say that fans of The Atlas Six (2022) and The Atlas Paradox (2022) expecting magic, time travel, or any other speculative elements may be disappointed when these expectations are built up to a certain extent but never fulfilled. If this work and Blake’s other books share something, it’s that characters who are not easy to like are still interesting to read about.

Reasonably involving when appreciated on its own terms.