Centering around an unlikely and reluctant heroine, Kacey Vanderkarr's science fantasy YA novel Antithesis offers a bizarre but compellingly constructed universe as a backdrop to her tale of murder, kidnapping, and a bid for pandimensional domination. While featuring the bright but off-putting, egotistical, angsty, and too attractive for his own good male lead I've nearly grown to expect, Antithesis' female lead went a step beyond the expected awkward female lead to focus a differently-abled young woman, Gavyn, who doesn't plan to let the arm that never grew keep her from doing exactly what she wants.
Although Gavyn often picks on herself for her one-armed ginger status, and the steamy scenes, sometimes literally, got a little too steamy for me, the world building driving Antithesis was altogether too delightful. In Gavyn's world, things aren't too different from the world we know, until Liam comes into her life and pulls her through to a series of alternate worlds which could only exist in dreams, each farther from the one she left behind, a world which is endangered by the machinations of a world in which another girl wears her name and her face, but shares none of what's inside.
Vanderkarr's novel demonstrates a surprising layering of the intimately familiar and mundane with advanced technologies, surreal landscapes, and the clinically macabre, in a story which has left me waking from dreams wondering for a moment if maybe I really am just glimpsing other realities, just as real as this one. Isn't that what books should do? Make us think? Antithesis has definitely given me a few things to consider.