Paraworld Zero (Parallel Worlds)
Matthew Peterson
Parallel Worlds, LLC (2008)
ISBN 9780981922737
Reviewed by Ian McCurley (age 15) for Reader Views (3/09)

 

“Paraworld Zero” begins with Simon Kent, an orphan with an unclear lineage.  Having been beaten up for his weakness all his life, and unsuspecting that he is useful or important to anything, Simon Kent goes about his daily life being defeated and humiliated, even by other orphans.  While he is being chased by some of these bullies, he is met by a green-haired teenager who appears out of nowhere and nearly kills the assailants.  Because of the uproar this causes, she and Simon, because he does not want to be found, flee through the streets of New York City.  When one of the attackers finds them, they must again flee, this time into the time stream.

Unfortunately, due to a bizarre accident, Simon and the girl, Tanya, become stranded on a strange world without magical energy and can therefore not escape.  This world, though it appears to be full of enlightened, gnome-like creatures called Small Puds and juxtaposed large and extremely creatures called Big Puds, is actually much more sinister.  The Big Puds are veritable slaves to the Small Puds; the Small Puds are conceited and have no idea that they are about to be doomed, and Simon stumbles upon a thousand-year-old mystery which will bring a devastating catastrophe.

“Paraworld Zero” is self-published and self-read.  Matthew Peterson and his wife, Alicia, have created more than 100 voices for their characters.  While the narration is at first unsettling, the listener will quickly adapt to it and it will serve only to enhance their experience as they travel through what is a well-written, well-narrated piece of literature.

The target age for this book would be about 10 to 13, though if listened to in the car with parents or older siblings it would still be enjoyed by all.  “Paraworld Zero” is for readers who enjoy stories of strange worlds, stranger creatures and some of the strangest (but good) characters to be ever “audioed.”   “Paraworld Zero” by Matthew Peterson is the first installation of a planned series, and I look forward to enjoying them all.

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