Itty Bitty Book Review: Anyone by Charles Soule (spoilers ahead)

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I’ve read a lot of book reviews and many don’t cover some of the elements I’d like to know. So, with that in mind, my Itty Bitty Book Reviews will include those elements. Things like cover art, how the book feels in my hands, world building, general impressions of the characters, and possibly memorable moments. Basically just a mishmash of what I want to say about the book. I prefer physical copies of books because the story isn’t the only part of the book to have personality. Other elements like the weight, page appearance and feel, typeface, and glue help me grasp this portal into a new world.

Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional editor, just a reader who likes books. Now let’s begin.

The Gloss: Let’s start with the colour. Oh my goodness I cannot rave about this enough. The photo doesn’t do it justice. This outstanding bright blue is a definite eye-catcher. I’d like to paint every wall in my writing room this colour. I mean, that might be overwhelming, but still. This colour is amazing.

The texture is rubberized somehow. Not a lot, not enough to feel like the book is sticking to my fingers, but enough that the book feels warm and cozy in my hands. The image of the fingerprint isn’t rubberized, it’s pleasantly smooth. The black chosen for the lettering stands out against the stunning blue in a way that draws my eye away from the blue.

I love the fingerprint as the ‘O’ in the title as well as the background image. This gives a visual of the plot very nicely.

The glue to hold the pages to the spine is gentle, so when I open the book and hold it in my flat palm the book stays open. Someday I’ll learn the right terms for this, the kind of glue and the effect it has, but that day isn’t today. By the way, my arthritic hands really appreciated the gentle glue. It made reading the book a delight as I was able to simply lay it flat on my desk instead of hold the pages.

The pages themselves are delightfully textured to give a gentle feel of recycled paper. Not too smooth and not too rough, the parchment colour was easy on my eyes. The pages were thin enough to see the reverse side’s text through, which was a bit annoying at first but I got over it fast.

I loved the font. Easy to read, structured, and even. I don’t know the typeface and there wasn’t a note at the back of the book, but whatever it is, it’s pleasant.

The Characters: …are two dimensional. I didn’t see much of an arc for any of them. The husband of the MC was irritatingly congenial about having had his body taken over by his wife. I’d’ve had a lot of issues with that and he seemed to get over it pretty fast. None of the characters grew much or had much change happen. I felt like many of the characters were simply vessels to move the plot forward.

The Plot: The story jumps between current day and past, but in a way that’s easy to follow. I think of the overall plot points as bunny-hopping, which can be good. Each time there was a problem, a solution occurred right away, with the exception of the main plot line which was revealed in bits. I didn’t mind this bunny-hopping until near the end. By that time it was tiresome and I’d think, “oh look, a problem, solution’s gotta be a few pages away”. I felt exhausted by the end from the sheer number of mini plots or obstacles to overcome.

The Story: Different from points on a map like plot, the story of being able to project your consciousness into another person is interesting. “Big Corp” takes over and develops the technology while the underdog fights the Big Wigs. Giant spoiler: underdog doesn’t quite win. The ending is a bit vague and didn’t give me the satisfaction I’d hoped for in taking down a huge corporation. Judging by the structure of the plot points, I felt like the ending was a solution to a problem that would simply net another problem, as had happened so many times before.

The World: The author did a fabulous job in developing the world. I mean, let’s think about this: if you can hop into another body then biometrics would be useless for security. Travel by plane would also become rare instead of the norm, and renting out your body for money would be prolific. The author even addressed the underground economy, the ‘dark share’ idea that people would hop around into other bodies for nefarious purposes and the hosts would be paid well for the time.

The author also addressed the concept that some wouldn’t be able to host or hop into another body. This helped flesh the world out nicely. I always like to see a good consequence to an action.

Because the world was so well laid out, I can see fan fiction being created out of it. I definitely felt like I didn’t get to spend enough time meandering around in the world and would’ve liked to read more of the character’s experiences with body-hopping. While a lot of this fanfic could be smutty – I mean come on, someone hopped into another body, there’d be sexy time stuff happening on a grand scale – a lot could be a deep dive into occupying a young body or going on an adventurous vacation.

Nitpicks: Some things bug me in books and pull me out of the story. In this case, it was the author’s use of underlining instead of italics for emphasis. This jarred me every single time.

Another tiny nitpick is the structure of dialogue. Occasionally there’d be a line spoken by MC, then two sentences of what MC is doing, then another line of dialogue by MC. I had to check to see who was talking each time because, to me, if the same person is speaking and the speech is bracketing action it can all be done in the same paragraph. “New speaker = new paragraph” comes to mind and isn’t used in the book.

Overall: I really enjoyed the book. I love books about consciousness/body sharing and found this one to be an easy read with a good story line. I may read it again sometime, and that says a lot as I don’t generally read the same book twice.

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