Quantum Radio sounded exciting, so I requested an ARC from Netgalley and the publishers, Head of Zeus. I’d like to thank them for the opportunity. It also met enough criteria on time travel to fit into my SpaceTime Reading Challenge as my first of the year. The characters do travel in time and space, although not on a spaceship. They do finish up on a space station, though, so it counts.
by A G Riddle
One groundbreaking discovery…will change everything.
Welcome to ‘QUANTUM RADIO’, A.G. Riddle’s first new novel in almost two years – a spell-binding epic filled with science, history, and enough plot twists to keep you up late into the night.
On September 10th, 2008, the Large Hadron Collider began operating at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. It was – and still is – the largest machine ever built. It has a simple purpose: to examine the smallest building blocks of the universe. That work could solve the greatest scientific mysteries of all time: the nature of space and time itself and the origins of our universe.
Recently, the Large Hadron Collider was upgraded. Today, it has the ability to detect sub-atomic particles researchers have never seen before. Some of those particles hid a secret, a revelation that will rewrite our very understanding of the universe.
A few days ago, a quantum physicist working at CERN made an incredible discovery. Using a computer algorithm, Doctor Ty Vogel identified a pattern in the sub-atomic particles being generated by the LHC. This pattern is a data transmission across space and time – a signal being broadcast by a sort of…quantum radio. That signal – and the message it carries – will change the world forever. [goodreads]
I’m still not sure where the blurb shifts from fact to fiction. The last paragraph is definitely fiction, and is what grabbed my interest.
This is a fine story. It has interesting characters, puzzling situations, character development, twists, and mysterious things going on alongside the thriller elements. It’s pretty much a rollercoaster. That’s odd, as the author has the characters liken their trip to a rollercoaster later on. I’d been thinking it for some time.
It took me a while to get into it. 30%, to be exact, as I noticed. Me noticing is not a good sign. What preceded it was a small amount of story development interspersed with the biggest load of author research dump in the history of author mistakes. Yes, he is very clever to have got such a good understanding of several different sciences, and to explain them without (I hope) using someone else’s description. But honestly, I’m not sure anyone who hasn’t got an inkling of what “quantum radio” might mean would pick up this book. Author error: telling your readers what they probably know enough about to get it from your excellent writing of the plot and character interaction. Then there was some really good and exciting plot. End of ‘Act 1’.
Act 2 takes us into a Washington DC that is not our Washington DC. This came as no surprise. What came as a surprise was the way the protagonists found out what was going on, from an exhibit in the nearby ruined museum. I suspect telling us key points might have worked. But to spend pages ‘copying out’ the explanations of the exhibits… and then later one of the others finds a history book, and we are treated to reading that along with her. By this time, I proved my theory, by skipping this information dump completely, and understanding completely the politics and who was who and why in this world. Look, I’m not that clever, especially on history.
And finally we read the climax, which is great. It’s a really great thriller if you skip all the padding. The author does a good job with all of his descriptions and characterisations and does not need to tell us all his research and how cleverly he built his alternative world scenario.
And after the climax, we get the start of the next book. That’s how it seems, since they finally reach the cadet stage of their new lives. Yes, it really does have times when it reads like a coming-of-age adventure like Percy Jackson or Harry Potter–or the Saxon King, which I’ll be reviewing in a few weeks when I’ve struggled past the ‘discovering your destiny’ part of it. When I started Quantum Radio, the style made me wonder whether I was reading a middle grade, and then a YA book. But surprisingly, the protag is about thirty. He certainly doesn’t seem it.
What a mess. It needs a good developmental edit, although the type editing is great.
If he writes a sequel will I read it? As he won’t need to do all his infodumps again, maybe.
3 thoughts on “Book Review | Quantum Radio by A G Riddle”
My critique group is very hard on info dumps. Perhaps the author needs to join us?
Thanks for the good review!
I’m a bit worried about that ‘Sunday Times Bestselling Author’ though. Is this supposed to be quality writing?
Am I being too snarky?
Well, your review certainly tells me I’m not reading it. And yes, reading your review I was assuming MG or YA–that’s where you so often have those bits of discovering history or whatever. Maybe the problem once someone has become a bestselling author, editors back off too much?