This book was entirely not what I expected. Saying that, I did not start reading this with any clear expectations, but it sidestepped them all.
When I read the opening page I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. The author, Vincent H. Ivory, jumps straight into the novel at a place where you would expect most narratives to end - at the completion of a mans, who will become our main protagonist, life's work. However, this only opens the door to the main narrative of the novel.
The premise of the other world is intriguing, a world where words matter and repercussions for a hastily spoken comment are immediate and severe. A world where things can be created or destroyed at the utterance of a word, I would absolutely love to see more of this world! It is fascinating and something I don't recall reading in the past.
This was not as sci-fi as I was expecting from the cover pictures either. While there are definitely elements of sci-fi it also reaches into political arenas as well as humanities. Ivory does this while keeping with our current modern understandings of the corporate and political world and incorporates them as major themes in this novel to great affect. I greatly enjoyed this aspect of the novel and appreciated the divergence from the political themes normally found in sci-fi novels. By using the existing American system and values, rather than creating a whole new system Ivory adds a sense of realism and gives a commentary on the current political and social structures of major nations and corporations.
As a fair warning, there is some Christian and Jewish religion and ideologies incorporated into the story-line, however these focus more on the power of words and the intent behind them. The religious aspect is also evident in what is considered taboo or rude to say, for example negative affects are associated with using the word "hell", but as this is also the case in normal Western society and generally seems to stick to social norms, this is not a major issue to me. In no part of the novel does it feel like the author is trying to push his religious views onto the reader, in fact, the main character is anti-Church.
A few times while reading I got tripped up on some awkward tense usage, as well as a few author idiosyncrasies, but these are easily overlooked in the overall text. The other thing that disrupted my flow of reading was the frequent point of view changes, which I felt could have happened slightly less regularly without effecting the story as a whole. Other than those two things the book was a real page turner, with a well thought out plot and exciting and unexpected, or in some cases, very expected, twists. The expected twists did nothing to detract from the story as a whole, but add to the main twist at the end.