Thursday, April 5, 2018

Thunderbolt:The Merge by TJ Phull

Part sci-fi, part bodice-ripper, part mystery, this story involves two worlds in which the characters must merge with each other in order to save themselves. The story follows two instances of the same couple living in parallel worlds as they try to navigate life after accidentally switching bodies with their counterparts while trying to discover the reason the switch happened. The storyline is fresh and compelling.

Phull does a great job at describing the alternate world and it's dystopian society aspects. The details about how the world operates are well thought out and explained. They make that part of the story believable and enticing to read. Unfortunately, that part is so well done then it makes the modern day world look like a caricature of real life.

The couple in the real world is a stereotypical abusive, crime lord husband and his submissive, abuse victim wife, but in the alternate universe, she is the manipulative, aggressive and unhappy wife to a man who is unable to hold her attention. There is a unique story twist about their relationship which is explained later, but it gets lost in the drama of the bigger plot line. The disparity in personalities is further confused as Phull does not clearly delineate when the reader is switching POV between characters. In some cases, the POV changes mid-paragraph and without warning. The names being nearly identical between the characters is also problematic as the names are used synonymously throughout the story, regardless of which character is in which body. I found I had to re-read a few passages in order to determine who exactly was involved (in some cases it wasn't the character listed but the alter ego) and in some I just moved on because it didn't make any sense.

The story chapters are words instead of numbers, which is moot because the mystery/confusion of the story sucks you in making the book impossible to put down. There is not a lot of dialogue particularly in the beginning as they use telepathy to communicate, but the dialogue that is presented is awkward and feels like a script from an after-school special.

One of the things Phull writes well is the sex scenes. They are vivid and explicit and detailed. The sex ranges from romantic and gentle to blatant rape to adultery to wife swapping. They involve M/F, M/M and M/M/F. Regardless of your reading preferences concerning sex, this book is sure to have something that will excite you.

Overall I loved the premise of this book. The alternate world and the sex scenes are well done but name confusion and forced dialogue bring the book down.  I could easily see this book being made into a screen adaptation as a sci-fi drama/thriller film.