Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau

WAVE
Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Good guy Karl Bender is a thirty-something bar owner whose life lacks love and meaning. When he stumbles upon a time-travelling worm hole in his closet, Karl and his best friend Wayne develop a side business selling access to people who want to travel back in time to listen to their favorite bands. It’s a pretty ingenious plan, until Karl, intending to send Wayne to 1980, transports him back to 980 instead. Though Wayne sends texts extolling the quality of life in tenth century “Mannahatta,” Karl is distraught that he can’t bring his friend back.

Enter brilliant, prickly, overweight astrophysicist, Lena Geduldig. Karl and Lena’s connection is immediate. While they work on getting Wayne back, Karl and Lena fall in love — with time travel, and each other. Unable to resist meddling with the past, Karl and Lena bounce around time. When Lena ultimately prevents her own long-ago rape, she alters the course of her life and threatens her future with Karl.

A high-spirited and engaging novel, Every Anxious Wave plays ball with the big questions of where we would go and who we would become if we could rewrite our pasts, as well as how to hold on to love across time.

Take complication upon complication with a wormhole thrown in for good measure and you’ve got an interesting read.

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up this book. Every Anxious Wave started out rather fluffy and retro. The idea of a wormhole where you can go back and visit concerts from the bands of your past… seems cool. Had the book kept with that theme, I would’ve been totally on board. Think of the concerts that could be seen! How many could be videotaped for posterity or videotaped in better definition? It’s mind-boggling.

But there’s a twist. Karl, the main character, accidentally sends his friend not back to 1980 to prevent the killing of John Lennon, but to 980 AD. Oops. At least in 1980, he could get back—there’s tech that could help. Not in 980. So what’s a couple of guys to do?

For me, this is where the believability sort of went downhill. I liked the idea of the mistake with the date. Hey, he’s stuck and we’ve got to get him back. Cool idea. But there were things in the book that didn’t quite get explained. Like how’d he get the wormhole? Where’d it come from? Was there a downside? I would’ve liked a little more explanation so I understood the mechanics of the wormhole, but I must say I was distracted by the idea of going back to visit concerts.

The other thing I had a problem with was the relationship between Lena and Karl. The whole thing felt forced. Like, they were together and that’s great. The development just didn’t feel like it was there. I did like the complications brought in for these two, but I wish there had been more of a jump into their emotions than happened.

Still, this was a fun read and made me long for the concerts I never got a chance to see given by musicians that died before my time. Thank you, Mo Daviau for that trip down memory lane.

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