Carolyn Jean’s review of Wired by Liz Maverick.
Seconds aren’t like pennies. They can’t be saved in a jar and spent later. Fate seeps through cracks and shifts like fog. Pluck a second out of time or slip an extra one in, the consequences will change your life forever. Is the man you love really the man you think you know, or is there a version of your life in which he’s your enemy? If you didn’t know who or what you were before, would you take a chance on becoming that person again?
L. Roxanne Zaborovsky is about to discover fate is comprised of an infinite number of wires, filaments that can be manipulated, and that she’s not the one at the controls. From the roguishly charming Mason Merrick—a shadow from her increasingly tenebrous past—to the dangerously seductive Leonardo Kaysar, she’s barely holding on. This isn’t a game, and the pennies are rolling all over the floor. Roxy just has to figure out which are the ones worth picking up.
Wow, WIRED was such a damn fine read—fun, exciting, sexy, plotty, mysterious—the perfect balance of a book.
Okay, first, a bit about the plot, because you know what’s funny? The back blurb, like many events within the book itself, makes a whole lot more sense in hindsight. Translation: not a lot of help from the flap. So here’s the deal:
The book starts when L. Roxanne Zaborovsky, a witty and reclusive computer programmer, is walking to the 7-11 one night. Two fellas appear from nowhere and begin fighting over her—it’s an old college acquaintance Mason Merrick and a British guy named Kaysar. It turns out Mason and Kaysar are “wire crossers,” people who screw around with the past to get the future outcome they prefer, and they each have their own special plans for Roxy and the computer code she’s going to write.
So the three of them play a kind of game of cat and mouse, chasing through alternate versions of Roxy’s own life, and Roxy has to figure out what the heck is going on, who to trust, and how to take control of the situation so she doesn’t end up with a relatively awful version of her life. And of course, there’s the matter of preventing future chaos.
I would particularly recommend this book for people who love plotty puzzles—even more so if you have a taste for time travel. A lot of the fun of the book is being in Roxy’s head and trying to figure out what’s going on as she does.
Now, I know in certain other texts, a lack of big picture clarity can feel annoying, like authorial withholding. But that’s not the case here at all. The puzzley part was just 100% fun. A kind of whirlwind experience where I felt this exciting sense of urgency to figure things out. Oops, one a.m.? Let me just quick read one more chapter.
One of the more compelling parts of the mystery was which guy to trust. Both Mason and Kaysar seemed to have trustworthy moments, and both were, of course, hunky. So which is the bad guy? Author Maverick does an expert job of arranging events to make it a juicy and fun conundrum. I went back and forth a bit, but when things became clear, it made perfect sense. And I daresay I was pleased.
And while we’re on the subject of the heroes, this is not a big steamy read with disco version sex marathons, but what steam there is—and there is some—is quite nicely done.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I see anime art on the cover of a book, I never think, I am going to find some fine prose in here at the level of the sentence. Live and learn. Because the writing here was excellent, IMHO. And the voice, too.
As a first person narrator, Roxy was highly likable—strong, smart, funny, vulnerable, such a refreshing change from the badass, smartmouth chick narrators that have become so common. I mean, Roxy makes mistakes, hesitates when she’s scared. She is achingly real at times. So wonderful.
Here, early in the book, she’s in an alternate version of her life, but doesn’t realize it yet, and opens a shoebox she finds in her closet:
I sat there propped up with my elbows behind me and just stared. Two admittedly attractive black satin high heels nestled in the box alongside a handful of bullets and a gun.
I don’t own a gun. I’ve never owned a gun. I don’t even know anybody who owns a gun.
Actually, the truth was that I couldn’t even think of too many people I knew at all, which I supposed would reduce the number of guns likely to be owned.
There was something kind of dirty about the idea of a gun in my closet, something dirty and dangerous and scary about not knowing why it as there or how it to there.
Then, after examining the gun and determining the shoes were her size.
..very carefully, I put the gun and ammunition away, fit the lid back on the box, stood up, backed out of the closet and closet the door.
Denial. It’s an important emotional stage often overlooked in favor of the others involved in traumatic situations, such as anger and acceptance. But I focused on denial as I shook my damp hair out…
Overall I would say on the level of time travel, this was put together thoughtfully and even brilliantly in places, and it holds together tightly when you think back to add stuff up – not an easy feat. Time travel narratives are notoriously impossible to pull off—even Terminator had holes.
But here’s my confession: I found the book to be so exciting that I didn’t exactly kick the tires in terms of the internal logic of the world. You know, I had tiny, minor little ‘hey, what about this or that’ moments, and maybe I would’ve found the answers in the text if I’d backed up or paused to connect stuff up, but I sort of didn’t care, because the book was way too exciting and I HAD to find out the answers to my various burning questions, so I plowed on.
And really, you don’t have to be a time travel nerd or to get all hung up on the mechanics or even understand them to enjoy this very delightful read.
I’m so thankful to Book Binge for introducing me to this line, and I’m definitely going to be looking for other books by this author.
5 out of 5
This book is available from Dorchester. You can buy it here.
Read more from Carolyn Jean at The Thrillonth Page.