The Jamie Drake Equation : Christopher Edge

The Jamie Drake EquationThe Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a lot to love about The Jamie Drake Equation. It’s not only a book that twists something quite classic and contemporary together, delivering a science fiction story driven by smartphones and astronaut dads, but it also sensitively and truthfully deals with what it’s like to be the family that’s left behind. How would it feel to see your Dad in space? And, more to the point, how does it feel and what can you do when something goes wrong?

The Jamie Drake Equation is presented beautifully. It is a good looking book, and it looks exciting. The lettering and the stars all hang suspended in the sky, and they shine. There’s something here instantly for those who are interested in space; everything about this book’s front cover is telling you to look upwards and towards the sky and the stars. The title is a constellation itself, the letters drawn between star points and oh, it’s clever and smart stuff.

Edge writes with an engaging and delightful competence. The Jamie Drake Equation is a spectacularly accessible read which, somehow, manages to juxtapose Fibonacci sequences with aliens with the realisation that whatever shape your family may take, it is still your family. I loved this. It’s so kind, and so well-structured, and just a great, fiercely satisfying read. Edge has it with these stories, he really does.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

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The Many Worlds of Albie Bright : Christopher Edge

The Many Worlds of Albie BrightThe Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This eccentric, rather vividly compelling book is something that I think will mark its space very distinctly in the world. I’ve come across Edge before, most notably with his richly layered Twelve Minutes To Midnight series – Twelve Minutes to Midnight, and when Nosy Crow sent me a copy of The Many Worlds of Albie Bright I was very intrigued to see what it was all about.

Albie’s mum has passed away and he’s trying to figure out where she’s gone. His father, a scientist – as was his mother, doesn’t have any answers other than a vague ‘quantum physics’ and ‘parallel universes’ so Albie decides to find things out for himself. With the help of a box, a laptop and a rotting banana, Albie manages to fall out of one world and into the next and begin the process of finding his mother.

I liked this a lot; I had some concerns about the initial few chapters where a lot of scientific information is shared with the reader. But here’s the thing: it’s necessary information and handled well and once it’s done, the story soars away into some very moving and deftly constructed spaces. If recommending this to easily intimidated readers (and you totally should – I’ve not read anything quite like this that weaves quantum physics with grief and loss), they may need some support and encouragement through those initial few chapters.

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright is a gloriously eccentric and individualistic beast. I do love the individuality of so many titles from Nosy Crow and Albie Bright is no exception. It’s one that I think would sit well with those children firmly rooted in non-fiction, because there’s a lot here that has that same tonal precision. It is a very exact book, as it has to be when dealing with scientific things, I think, and there’s something rather delicious about pushing that precise tone against the raw, ragged edge of love and grief and loss.

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright is due out on January 16th. It’s one to hoard those post Christmas book tokens for, I think.

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