Author: E C Myers
Performed by MacLeod Andrews
Released: November 2013 by Audible Inc.
Category: Young Adult Science Fiction
After Ephraim’s mother believes she has identified his body after an accident, she’s grief stricken and attempts suicide. Ephraim finds her unconscious and slumped over the kitchen table when he gets home from school.
While in the hospital with his mother the boy’s belongings are inadvertently given to Ephraim and among them he finds a strange coin that can grant wishes….except it doesn’t grant them in quite the way Ephraim expects and before long Ephraim realises the coin is much more than a ‘genie’ type object, it’s something a lot more sinister and convoluted. And he’s unable to control what happens after he’s made a wish. He’s the only one who knows he’s wished for something to change and the only one who remembers what it was like before.
Things go horribly wrong each time he makes a wish, creating strange and frightening experiences and shifts, affecting and changing his life as well as the lives of the people around him. His best friend, Nathan changes completely when Ephraim tries to get the girl he’s crushing on, Jena to like him back.
An intriguing sci-fi plot with the visions of parallel universes and dual personalities. An interesting take showing how the same person can develop different personalities given altered circumstances. It’s a good point that Ephraim takes responsibility for the actions he takes and does his best to rectify things.
A very good, well written story with realistic teenage characterisation and all the teenage behaviour that comes with it. Among other things the story deals with the moral issues facing Ephraim, such as making someone like you and so taking away their choices and changing other people’s lives to suit your own purposes. I like the plot twists and the ending and I’m interested to see where the next book goes.
So, Quantum Coin picks up the story a year later. Ephraim, Jena, Nathan, Mary and Shelley are attending their prom when something peculiar happens. As Jena returns from the powder room Ephraim has a huge shock when he realises it’s not Jena but Zoe. Jena appears behind her with Mary and Shelley. As the friends wonder what is happening Nathan is being Nathan and recording the events on his camera…and he captures something truly bizarre.
Ephraim thought he had finished with shifting through parallel universes when he and Zoe agreed to destroy the controller. It seems a normal life wasn’t to be, the controller wasn't destroyed after all and Ephraim’s problems were beginning all over again. Nathaniel needs Ephraim’s help and Zoe has come to take him back. So Ephraim and Zoe, along with Jena this time, are thrust into another multi universal adventure.
Ephraim, Jena, Nathan and Zoe have grown and developed into more likeable, rounded characters. Ephraim’s romantic dilemma between Jena and Zoe is quite understated but never the less intriguing because the girls are different aspects of the personality.
The friends find themselves in a pretty desperate situation with the universes merging and disappearing along with the people who inhabit them. Ephraim, Jena, Zoe and Nathaniel and their analogues are doing their utmost to sort out the unimaginable problems and it seems like it’s on their shoulders to decide which universe(s) survive. How can they condemn multiple universes and all the people who inhabit them to oblivion.
One of MacLeod Andrews’ strengths is narrating young adult fiction, which he does with sincerity and credibility, always invested in the story and portraying the characters with feeling.
This book is much faster paced with lots more going on than Fair Coin and the scientific aspect much deeper and a lot more complex.
The Quantum psychics and the ins and outs of multiverses left me far behind, racing to catch up and knowing I can never run fast enough. Not that this detracts from the story at all, the characters are engrossing and the story compelling.