Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Dork Review: Fighting Gravity

Being sick sucks, but having a good book to read does help mitigate things. Reading Fighting Gravity has helped sooth my post Ad Astra cold while giving my beleaguered brain something to focus on.

It helps that this book is an excellent read. I dipped my toes into it last night and then dived in fully today while sprawled out on the couch, devouring it in only a few hours. It's that good and that easy to fall into.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that Falling Gravity's main character, Jacob Dawes, is so well written. The entire book is first person in his voice, and Jacob is such a highly-self aware sort that he can comment on when he's made a colossal error without attempting to excuse himself.

This book could stand alone as a character study of one man's journey from crushing poverty to the rarest heights of scientific achievement, from obscurity to notoriety,  but it also includes themes of love, passion, and dangerous/dysfunctional relationships that form the story of Jacob's life. There is an almost fairy tale quality to this book.

Falling Gravity isn't perfect however. I finished this book with a lot of unanswered questions. With the focus being on Jacob and told through his first-person viewpoint a lot of the background of the world Leah Petersen has crafted falls to the wayside. My frustration at that could be due to the fact I'm very much a detail person. I like to know the why behind most things, especially why Earth in the future has an emperor, a variety of social classes, and so on. There are subtexts of class war/envy and bigotry that are present but not examined as much as I would have like to have seen.

One aspect that isn't explained his how accepting people of Falling Gravity's world are unconcerned about the fact that Jacob is in a gay relationship. Wait, let me correct that. People are concerned about the relationship, not over the fact that it's with another man but rather who that man is. One concern about books set in a neo-feudal setting is that the society depicted will have regressed in almost all aspects, and Falling Gravity avoids completely falling into this trope while still having some unsavory societal elements.

This is Leah Petersen's first book and I think she's done a marvelous job. What Falling Gravity does right it does very well and what it lacks doesn't prevent it from being a good read. The ending does leave open the possibility of a sequel, which I think would work great if told from a different perspective than Jacob's. Much like J.M. Frey, I think Leah has a lot of potential and I look forward to reading her next book.


  1. Thank you so much for such a great and thoughtful review! I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope you're feeling better!

  2. Thanks Leah, I'm feeling a lot better today.