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January 28, 2024

A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen ~ a Review

by MK French

Carter Cho is a technician at a particle accelerator when it explodes, striking him with a green energy and sending him back four days in time. Stuck in an endless loop with no consequences, he eventually manages to bring Mariana Pineda in with him. Together they must figure out how to break the loop. As they spend time together, they eat the best food that San Francisco has to offer and work through grief, unfulfilling jobs, family, and confronting difficult pasts. They grow close, but breaking the loop might mean giving up the connection between them.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of science fiction novel A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen
January 2024; MIRA; 978-0778310341
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); science fiction

Mike Chen has written other novels that take a sci-fi concept to the world of romance novels and interpersonal dynamics. This time, it's the Groundhog Day time loop that gets played with. Carter isn't the brains behind the accelerator, but several loops have him learning different skills that were never part of his original job description. Mariana works in neuroscience, not quantum physics, but is willing to help him however she can. She's dealing with grief from a missing best friend who turned into her stepsister, overwork, and burnout. The connection with Carter might start with a donut, but he really points out the everyday joys that we all take for granted. Even meals are something that he can encourage her to take her time with.

The plot didn't go the way I thought. Once Carter and Mariana had their kiss, Carter's eidetic memory began to fail with each cycle. Mariana began to work on solving the mystery behind the explosion to reverse it. As much as she cared about Carter, it became working in isolation so that she didn't cause him undue distress. It was incredibly emotional, a bittersweet kind of ending with hope as everything pulled together at the very end. Time travel stories and time loop stories sometimes involve paradoxes, but this one worked incredibly hard to avoid them. I appreciated all of the effort put into making it pull together so that even nitpicking the time element made sense. I devoured the book and enjoyed every page.

Buy A Quantum Love Story at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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