Sci Fi author Reesa Zimms is kidnapped and taken to the future. And not just any future, but the one she created for her novels. Reesa’s kidnapper is none other than her hero Hedric Prosser. And the villain of her stories, Matthew Borden, becomes her unlikely rescuer. As Reesa struggles with whether she is losing her mind or if she is some kind of prophet, her and her friend Kate are caught in a religious war between the fanatically anti-woman faction Makeem and the extremist feminists of Nova Femina. That is the plot of A. J. Maguire’s original and entertaining novel Deviation.
As a writer myself, I’m delighted by the concept of an author being thrust into her own story. I’ve always believed on some level that the characters I create really exist. I know that sounds crazy, but I also know that the authors reading this are nodding their heads. This is why I squeal with glee as Reesa meets the people she created. As Hedric becomes angry at Reesa for writing the loss of his wife, I remember the guilt I felt when giving my characters loss and turmoil.
I also enjoy the undertone of feminism in the power play between the Makeem and the Nova Femina. Maguire pits the extremist anti-woman against the extremist feminist, mirroring the gender politics of this century, but she never tells the reader what to think. Both the universe its characters are too complex and real to fit neatly into camps of right and wrong, good and evil.
The one unanswered question I have reading Deviation, is how is it possible that the characters Reesa created actually exist? If she is a prophet, only predicting the future instead of creating it, then how is it possible that several of her characters are based on people she knows in real life? (So much so that everyone recognizes Kate as Hedric’s recently dead wife.) I’m certainly glad nothing turns out to be “all a dream” and I much prefer the idea that Reesa literally created the universe, but the mechanics of how this is possible are never adequately explained. Of course, as I got caught up in the story I began to care less and less that my initial questions weren’t going to be answered and just enjoyed the ride.
Maguire’s writing is believable, readable, and entertaining. Most of all it left me wanting to read more, which is always a good sign. 4/5 stars. Highly recommended.