Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Book Review: A Second Chance for Yesterday

Nev Bourne is a hotshot programmer for the latest and greatest tech invention out there: SavePoint, the brain implant that rewinds the seconds of all our most embarrassing moments. She’s been working non-stop on the next rollout, even blowing off her boyfriend, her best friend and her family to make SavePoint 2.0. But when she hits go on the test-run, she wakes up the next day only to discover it's yesterday. She's falling backwards in time, one day at a time.

As things spiral out of control, a long-lost friend from college reappears in her life claiming they know how to save her. Airin is charming and mysterious, and somehow knows Nev intimately well. Desperate and intrigued, Nev takes a leap of faith. A friendship born of fear slowly becomes a bond of deepest trust, and possibly love. With time running out, and the whole world of SavePoint users at stake, Nev must learn what it will take to set things right, and what it will cost.

A Second Chance for Yesterday by R.A. Sinn will be published August 29, 2023. Solaris Books, an imprint of Rebellion Publishing, provided an early galley for review.

I have always been drawn to time travel tales, so this one jumped out to me. And as someone who spent three-plus decades in a software development career, the tech side of this one intrigued me as well.

First impression: each chapter is denoted by a date-time stamp rather than a simple sequential numbering. That's something new (for me). Next impression: the "do-over" aspect of the SavePoint application also seems innocuous enough (on the surface). But good sci-fi knows how to warn of such things. As the story unfolds, I found myself empathizing with Nev's situation as it grows more and more frustrating. I was also pulled into the whole mystery of it all: what was causing this to happen to Nev? And, more importantly, how was she going to break this cycle?

Jumping back a day at a time might seem simple enough, but it relies on the author really tackling the story in a different way. We often think linearly going forward, where here Sinn (a pseudonym for siblings Rachel Hope Cleves and Aram Sinnreich) must craft their story so it makes sense in reverse. A fun exercise indeed.

Without spoiling anything, the ending was fitting for the narrative and themes but did leave me with several unanswered questions (and thus not being fully as satisfying as I would have liked).

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