Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: One Too by Sherrie Cronin -- #scifi #politics #humanrights @cinnabar01

One Too cover


Telepathy creates as many problems as it solves, as most of the members of the secret organization x0 would admit. When new member Lola discovers another group of telepaths with a completely different approach, those problems multiply at the speed of thought.

Soon, Lola’s family and friends are in danger. Lucky for her, she’s not your average budding psychic. Each person with whom she is close has a special gift of their own. That’s good, because it’s going to take every power they possess to keep this other group from succeeding with their plan to eradicate x0.


The way your mom describes how you see the future, it is so cool. Please. Touch me first. I want to know what’s going to happen to me.” Xuha made one of his exaggerated comic faces, this time a look of amplified eagerness.

Ariel directed a fierce look of annoyance at her mother.

We are in the middle of a crisis here,” her mom responded. “So we’ve now got a ‘no secrets’ policy in this house. I’ve told everyone everything I know because we have to work together.”

That will not be possible,” the blind Irish man said from the place where he had settled in on the couch.

Lola looked at this man named Cillian more closely. He was a tall, unusually attractive man in his mid-forties, with a rich brogue and the demeanor of someone of wealth and importance. He spoke like he was accustomed to being listened to.

I beg your pardon?” Lola said as politely as she could.

Ariel will need to be selective about what she tells you. It’s a pity that you chose to share her feyness with this entire group, but she and I will find ways to manage that damage. She needs to check with me before she says anything.”

Lola reminded herself that she was tired. Hungry. Under a lot of stress. And not used to strangers in her own house telling her what to do. She tried to soften her voice before she spoke, but she didn’t do a very good job of it.

Ariel is my daughter and she will do no such thing. Her entire family is in danger and needs her help. What she does or doesn’t do is not your concern. I’m not even sure why you are here, but you may stay if and only if you don’t think it is your prerogative to tell us what to do.”

The rest of the room went silent.

My Review

Lola Zeitman is geophysicist who works for an oil company in Texas. She is also a telepath. She can read the thoughts of others as well as shielding her own thoughts from being overheard.

Lola’s eldest daughter Ariel can see the future—well, actually, alternative futures. Her middle child, daughter Teddie, can travel in the astral plane, leaving her physical body behind while sending her energy body to distant locations. Zane, Lola’s teenage son, has a different talent; he can morph his face and overall appearance to mimic other people. Meanwhile, Lola’s beloved husband Alex can slow down or accelerate his personal experience of time. This makes him a dynamite athlete, as well as helping him get through boring or painful experiences.

A family of superheroes? Hardly. Each of these powers has serious limitations. Sherrie Cronin has succeeded in creating a normal, close knit family who just happen to have talents that just might save the world—but only if they work together, and reach out to other specially-abled individuals around the globe.

In One Too, Sherrie Cronin’s surprisingly believable science fiction novel, the focus is not so much on superhuman powers as on the moral power an individual can bring to bear to fight evil. The fact that Lola and her family have these varied talents is less important than the way they use them. Their opponent is an uncomfortably familiar international news organization, Reel News, dedicated to stirring up conflict for profit. Warren Moore, the CEO of this massively influential company, has assembled a group of male telepaths to help him in this mission. The monads, as he calls them, are well-paid to ferret out stories that can advance Warren’s agenda. They accurately sense and report the fears of the public so the Reel News can amplify and exploit those fears.

As the story opens, Warren tries to use Lola to do just thatto make her pacifism appear ridiculous. However, during the interview, one of his monads recognizes her powerful telepathic capabilities. Warren’s goals shift, becoming far more dangerous to Lola and her family. He will stop at nothing, not even murder, to either eradicate or control Lola and her loosely knit group of fellow telepaths, x0.

I really enjoyed One Too. Although it has many characters, the author manages to make them distinct and sympathetic. Even Warren, the villain, has some positive qualities. The monads vary according to their personalities and the cultures to which they belong. I loved the fact that the heroine was a middle-aged mother of grown kids, not to mention a professional scientist. Both the concept and execution of this novel eschew the genre stereotypes that make many books so depressingly predictable.

I also appreciated the global scope of One Too. Though it begins in Texas, the book takes the reader all the way to South America, and ultimately, to Antarctica. Characters hail from Argentina, from Ireland, from Thailand, from Nigeria, from Turkey, even from Bhutan.

I have only two, relatively minor criticisms of the novel. First, I felt the pacing was too even. The book features a variety of crises, but somehow the narrative flow didn’t make those stand out for me. Though Lola and Alex have a terrifying brush with death near the end of the book, this didn’t seem any more urgent than their earlier, less perilous escapes from the clutches of Warren’s organization. This may be due to the fact that by the end of the book, the reader has become accustomed to the ingenious ways that different characters, with different abilities, pool their talents so that the strength of one offsets the weakness of another. I’d come to expect they’d succeed, so this reduced the tension.

My other concern is that perhaps the author makes her personal political and moral perspective too transparent in this tale. It’s clear from the preface and the afterward in this novel that One Too (which is part of the series 46 Ascending) has a particular agenda. I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Cronin’s views, but other readers might find the way she wears her political heart on her sleeve to be annoying. It might even be enough to make them put down the book.

I understand that in some sense, the author views this novel as a way of changing the world, if only in a small way. For instance, she is donating a percentage of all sales from the book to Amnesty International (an organization I also try to support). It’s difficult to be subtle about something you believe strongly. Still, from a reader’s perspective, it might be better to make the messages a bit less obvious.

Overall, though, I’m really happy I volunteered to read and review this novel. I hope that Ms. Cronin’s tour brings her many more readers.

About the Author

Sherrie grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.

She published her first science fiction short story long ago, and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.

The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.

Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.

Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book collection. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.

Author Social Media Links

Sherrie will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lisa Brown said...

I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour and I hope it is a fun one for you

Sherrie Cronin said...

Thanks for hosting me, author Lisabet Sarai and the Beyond Romance collection of contributors. I'm glad to have found you and look forward to enjoying this blog.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Sherrie (and Lisa),

Thanks for being my guest. I just put the review up on Amazon and Goodreads. I tried on BN but had some trouble. I'll go back tomorrow and see what I can do.

Hope the tour goes really well!

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Sherrie Cronin said...

Glad you liked it, Rita, and thanks for the well wishes, Lisa.

Joseph Wallace said...

What fictional literary place would you like to visit? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Victoria Alexander said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one - thanks for sharing your review!

Kim Matlock said...

Sounds like an interesting story.

Nikolina Vukelic said...

Thank you for your honest review, it's much appreciated!

Joseph Wallace said...

This looks like a great read. Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

ToniAnn said...

I found it very interesting that the characters in the book have limitations to their powers..I am sure this would make for some very interesting situations! Thanks for a great excerpt!!

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