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Summary

How do you know you really exist? It’s Maisie’s birthday and she can’t wait to open her presents. She’s hoping for the things she needs to build her own nuclear reactor. But she wakes to an empty house and outside the front door is nothing but a terrifying, all-consuming blackness. 

Trapped in an ever-shifting reality, Maisie knows that she will have to use the laws of the universe and the love of her family to survive. And even that might not be enough....

A mind-bending mystery for anyone who’s ever asked questions, from the author of The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and The Jamie Drake Equation.

©2018 Christopher Edge (P)2018 Nosy Crow Ltd

Critic reviews

"Wow, I wish Christopher Edge had been my science teacher. The writer, who in timely fashion nods to Stephen Hawking early in this gripping story, has a magical way of distilling difficult concepts for the very young: relativity, gravity, time and space, infinity. It helps, of course, that he weaves these ideas into a high-energy thriller about virtual reality, black holes and strained sibling relationships." (The Times)

"Out-of-this-world, edge-of-your-seat AMAZING!" (Lauren St John)

"Gripping, terrifying and eye-poppingly original. Grabs hold of your brain - then tugs at your heart." (Jonathan Stroud)

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Clever logic-bending maths-heavy children's sci-fi

... you don't say that very often!

I didn't know what I was in for, and even for much of this, I still didn't appreciate the astuteness of this. This really is a very intelligent science/maths story for children, and one bright children will relish.

Those who aren't keen on maths may lose interest early on, but if it hits a nerve, they are in for a cerebral treat with Maisie, the birthday girl in for a rough day...

Maisie is a very uncommon girl, adroit at mathematics and building a nuclear reactor, she is hoping for parts as birthday gifts. In one plotline, we follow the progress of her day. In another, Maisie wakes up also on her birthday, but is alone in her house and outside of it is literally nothing... blackness.

I was puzzled, intrigued. And not at all disappointed as the plotlines continued towards a great ending. The science/maths of the book is not overly tricky but even if a reader didn't follow it, the main ideas are within reach.

The narrator is a mature female actor, but the voice sounded spot on for a pre-adolescent girl, she was well-suited to the character of Maisie. The only time the audiobook grated on me was in the 'nowhere' storyline as Maisie panics and the shrillness of the voice was a little annoying.

It's very short (only 3 hours to listen to) but like nothing I've read before, and certainly unique amongst children's books. There is juvenile fiction with similar protagonists but not a story like this one. I'll look forward to listening to it with my son (aged 7) when he's older.

I would say ages 9-14 are the ideal age range for this.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.