Book Review of Who Stole My Life by Ian C P Irvine
What if you were to get up one fine day and discover you have “left your life behind”? As you are the same, so are many other aspects of your past. But no, they have been upgraded and changed to suit your desires; you are now the person of your own dreams, perhaps a new, improved, better version of yourself. Would you be happy?
C.P. Irvine’s Who Stole My Life is much more than just a sci-fi psychological thriller. It is a cathartic exploration that decodes answers to many existential questions, including why the ultimate deciding element in the time-space continuum is called life. Presenting some musings to answer these mind-bending qualms.
Overview and Plot Summary
Infinite is perhaps just the beginning of an endless string of possibilities where “what if…” is the only constant ever.
These words that I had come across some years ago never resonated as much before today as I sat finishing Ian C.P. Irvine’s “Who Stole My Life”, a part psychological, part science fiction novel the likes of which I have never ever encountered before. A gripping tale of a “crossover”, this brilliant tale, which, BTW, is the first in the series, revolves around James Quinn and his life.
When one fine day James unknowingly makes the “jump” or the crossover” to a parallel world, an alternate reality of sorts, where his past is the common thread to some extent, he realizes there is more to life than meets the eye. Time and space are mere elements, the only constant in this endless rigmarole being the possibility that yes, there is a multiverse out there somewhere and that the possibility to switch depends entirely on our “choices”. Whilst in the parallel “new” world, James lives a life he has deigned to live at some point, he slowly realizes that this is not the one he “desires” to be a part of. As events unfold, there begins the race, the choice, between the “heart and the mind”. What will James choose, and will he be able to make the jump?
So, while there is a lot going on here, what intrigued me beyond proportions was the fact that Irvine has layered this narrative with so much on every page that it would be first and foremost unfair to label this one as a pure “psychological/sci-fi” thriller. Life is a daunting labyrinth of relatability and resonances, especially choices that cannot be quantified or objectified.
Yes, one cannot measure life, its possibilities and extremities being endless, one can only deem it to “live in a particular manner, within a certain space-time framework”, all other relative aspects being untouched. However, when even one of those elements is disturbed in its harmony, what is created is something I label as a “Frankenstein “of our own inner being, something that taunts and destroys our very existence, complicating the equation of life.
Anyways, before you decide just what I have put here, which BTW is the essence of this brilliant narrative, I want to tell you guys that besides the usual themes of life, love, and loss, there is the sense of being here, especially the “present is now” concept, which will resonate with the readers much better perhaps than even works like Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, which being par excellence, somewhat falls short at a couple of places, owing to its complex terminologies.
Mind you now, don’t go thinking I have belittled that one, huh, because that remains my rock favourite in the genre, yet nevertheless, I must admit I was pleasantly delighted by this one too.
Writing Style and Character Development
There is life, ah, fresh and exuberant as a Daisy, when James gets the chance to reconnect with his father, befriending him and getting to “re-live” with him, rekindling that friendly bond. It will warm the cockles of your heart to hear the interactions between James and his father. There is so much going on here, with James not connecting well enough with Jane, his love/lust interest from the previous world, and his now wife in the present world.
It kind of gives you the full circle of life, being what we want is not always what we get, and what we aspire for might not necessarily be what we are really ready for. Hmm, like I said, complex, but very enlightening. I also thought that the way in which James’s character has been layered, significantly highlighting the shortcomings as well as all interrelated aspects of classic human nature, which is essentially about running for something they might not have, is spellbinding.
I could actually picture James running behind those false aspirations, right here in my mind’s eye, choosing love over everything else, even when he actually gets the life of his dreams, after the “switch”. An intricately layered depiction, this one has been well thought of by Irvine, before pushing it to the final tale, so that what comes to us is not a mere whirlwind of some quantum isolated event where James has simply decided to “upgrade” or “switch” to another world, but rather a quest, a pathway he himself has selected, as a result of staggered events along the journey called life.
So, before I muddle and bog you down with some more of my inferences about this one (I could go on for like hours!), I must halt here and simply reaffirm the fact that this has been more than a sci-fi/psychological thriller read for me. It has been somewhat cathartic, self-meditative, peeping inwards to my soul, making me muse upon the wonder called life, its tantalizing, unsettling aspects, and most importantly, with the cliffhanger at the end, I am like, Wait, what just hit me? Where did it go?
A brilliant book you have to pick up if you really want to read something worthwhile, meaningful, and fast-paced. There is everything in terms of themes and subplots you could possibly ask for, and if I were you, I would be quickly wiping this one clean in one go, waiting to pounce on “Am I dead? which BTW is the next in the series. Superb, superb writing!
So, I hope you guys liked my book review of Who Stole My Life by Ian C P Irvine: The Mystique of a Multiverse. Stay tuned with us right here at Booxoul for the best in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, fun, finance, education, fashion, tech, and gadgets, as well as all things bookish.
Adios, Amigos, and see you soon again, in this life only…