Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Spotlight: Order of the Dimensions by Irene Helenowski

Cheers Beardies!

I do hope you are all well and enjoying life wherever you are. I have now completed my sojourn in Paris, which I thoroughly enjoyed (it is a city which I would recommend to all!), and I write this from surprisingly sunny Boreham, Essex (which is not a county I would recommend to anyone).

At any rate, I have exchanged the City of Lights for the land of fake tans and silicone. Still, one must count one’s blessings: our new puppy, Madiba, named for Nelson Mandela’s clan, is proving to be an easy way of keeping fit. She would fit rather well into the role of Holmes’ Toby—I have never met a more inquisitive animal nor one as recklessly brave!

On a vaguely related note, the MusĂ©e d'Orsay had an excellent exhibition on L’Ange du Bizarre (the Angel of the Odd)—a title taken from one of Poe’s works. Though labeled as Dark Romanticism, the time periods spanned from proto-Gothic up to the Inter-War years and beautifully highlighted the works which lead up to the dawn of Speculative Fiction. Few other areas can boast that different media are so closely linked, bringing in new ideas, reinventing them, and continually pushing the boundaries of our thoughts. 

Whilst glancing through a number of older authors I came to the realisation that my knowledge of the more modern side of our genre is rather limited. So, I present to you my first 'Review Request' book review on Ms. Irene Helenowski’s Order of the Dimensions.

The Premise:
The work follows the story of Jane Kremowski, a young physicist working on an inter-dimensional device that offers huge potential for mankind. Unfortunately, for Jane, there are others who would make use of such a device, and they have been planning and waiting for it to reach completion. They are not the kind of people to take ‘No’ for an answer, either, and she soon finds her entire world (not to mention the entire world) in flux.

Gems for Writers:
Plot. There is something gloriously old-fashioned and yet still extremely fun about the concept of dimensional travel. Despite the multiverse’s popular appearance in a lot media, Helenowski succeeds in keeping the whole concept fresh, without over-complexity, despite the various worlds through which we crash. The concept of the Butterfly Effect is used effectively in order to heighten the tension and up the ante as the game rapidly escalates from personal struggle to a fight to stop world domination. Writers would do well to take note of the energy this generates, energy which keeps us drawn in until the close.

Characters. Supported by a strong cast of minor characters, the show really goes to Jane and a certain Dr. Anton Zelov. It would be unfair to spill all the secrets, but I can say that the counter-play between the pair is very much a part of the tension and keeps us gripped throughout. Zelov’s complexity is brought out as the work progresses, which really does help give depth to what could well have been a dull archetype. By bringing in characters we have already met but from alternate dimensions, Helenowski succeeds in achieving pace and atmosphere.

Setting. Whilst jumping around does not necessarily a good story make, Helenowski uses it to great effect. In addition to heightening the sense of movement between the dimensions, the varying cities add real colour and energy to the experience. Ranging from Krakow to San Francisco, Oxford to Vermont—the uncertainty adds to the excitement of the chase. 


Irene Helenowski’s Order of the Dimensions offers an entertaining, tense, and fun spin on the classic formula of the multiverse. Whilst the book was a little shorter than I might have liked, this was a blessing, too. It allows the plot to retain a good level of punch and pithiness (as well as offering room for a sequel). It stands as a worthwhile novel, perfect for those interested in the multiverse or just looking for a sharp read.  For another good read, and to find out more about the author, check out this interview upon which I stumbled.

Good scribing and good health,

***Order of the Dimensions (2012) by Irene Helenowski, is published and copyright Irene Helenowski. It is available in stores, online (see above), and at your local public library.

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