I came across this author at the book club we have at work - albeit its mostly a forum than in-person. She works for the client I work for and had promoted her third book in this series in that forum, when it had released on May 1st. Since she was a colleague (although not a direct related) I wanted to read her work and took up the first book in the series which is what I usually - if any series, always read from the first book. Newton's Laws: Lesson 1 - Inertia was released on May of 2014. Although not a huge fan of Physics, but being a Science major (Inorganic Chemistry) and having had gone thru the perils to swim thru Physics in my college, the title captured my attention immediately. I was curious to see how she had married Physics with Literature. And here is my take on the book.
Simply put, Newton's First Law of Motion also known as Law of Inertia states that every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. That is exactly what happens to Rachel Simmons, a senior at college with majoring in Biology, one day at her Physics class - a course that she is mandated to take because the college requires all Biology Majors to take it. As part of her work-study she is assigned as the college's photographer and is usually asked to take pictures of the college and town to sell the school. However that particular day she is given an assignment to take pictures of the faculty to upgrade their profile on the college website. One of the faculty is her Physics professor, Peter Parker with a Ph. D. who is nick-named as Spider-Man by everyone at the campus. After the photo session done, when she sets on to edit the picture, she comes across a document open on the computer behind the Professor in the photo that talks about breaking rules, reversal of gravity and absence of kinetic energy. She gets obsessed with deciphering what little she sees in the photo. To add to that she gets curious about the stand-off between Peter Parker, Sherman Shapiro "The Doc" - another Physics Professor - and Justin Borgstrom "Johnny Storm" - who is always with Peter raising more questions in Rachel's mind.
Her curious mind and outright questions pulls her into the world of bendy physics and super-powers involving Justin, Peter, Barbara Ghavari "Babs" and Kitty Lebowitz - all trying to work against The Doc while protecting themselves. Rachel becomes the neutral ground for these four. Rest of the plot continues on how Rachel finds out how these super-powers work, who are these four, why is The Doc being their enemy and why is she being pulled around these four. Her obsessiveness to know the why of it opens her to their world - creating more from something, alchemy, healing injuries in a matter of seconds, ability to soundproof what one talks, time dilation, altering memories, making one invisible, reading minds and more. And from Justin's perspective he is very much interested in her in more ways than she wants him to be in - which is a hurdle she tries to avoid every time.
A very interesting idea in the plot of bringing Science and Magic together - explaining the unexplainable in terms of atoms and molecules that normally are shown as immortal, psychic or physical capabilities in other books. I watch the American TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory that blends Science with Comedy and was always amazed at the power of the writers and the imagination of the directors to do so. This author has successfully done so, however I have to read the entire series to figure out if it will bend towards comedy and romance or mystery and romance. One thing that I felt a thorn were a few annoying quirks in Rachel - her constant use of the word "crap", her emotional outbursts in a weird way and her explaining all the time her obsessive nature. The book could have been better without those.
All in all a good attempt with a unique concept for a first book by the author. Looking forward to read the second book in the series.
1) In one of Rachel's English class they discuss about Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock. Have to read that for another blog post.