“You are brilliant. Tell your mind to be kind to you today.”
Olivie Blake ~ Alone With You in the Ether
Two people meet in the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist, undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. By the end of the story, these things will still be true. But this is not a story about endings.
For Regan, people are predictable and tedious, including and perhaps especially herself. She copes with the dreariness of existence by living impulsively, imagining a new, alternate timeline being created in the wake of every rash decision.
To Aldo, the world feels disturbingly chaotic. He gets through his days by erecting a wall of routine: a backbeat of rules and formulas that keep him going. Without them, the entire framework of his existence would collapse.
For Regan and Aldo, life has been a matter of resigning themselves to the blueprints of inevitability—until the two meet. Could six conversations with a stranger be the variable that shakes up the entire simulation?
I love it when a book surprises me. And this one certainly did.
Patience is a virtue. I almost gave up on this book, but my friend told me to persevere until the two characters meet as this is when the magic happens…
This was very good advice, because once they do, the book becomes intriguing and compelling.
Alone With You in the Ether is a unique love story, that feels raw, realistic and relatable. Aldo and Regan are complex characters, but their relationship is fascinating, destructive and passionate.
Through their eyes we see the world differently, and once we have finished reading, we may look at things in a new way.
I adore the erudite way that Blake continuously tells her story (The Atlas Six was one of my top 2022 reads), but this time it’s mixed with the artistic side of Regan, which creates balance and drama.
I wasn’t a fan of the ‘narrators’ – they feel like an afterthought and could easily be removed without losing anything from the story itself. As they are not consistent, and disappear in the middle, their reappearance at the end loses any impact the author was hoping for.
And yet I loved it. Mental illness and it’s effect on a relationship is dealt with well, adding real depth and poignancy to the story.
So I implore you – please get to page 50, before judging it and I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.
Thanks to Black Crow PR, BookBreak and Tor Books for my review copy. Opinions my own.
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Other books by Olivie Blake: The Atlas Six; The Atlas Paradox