Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: Cities by Carla de Guzman

cover from Goodreads
Title: Cities
Author: Carla de Guzman
Publication details: November 30th 2014 by Midnight Books
Copy: PDF copy from the author

Celia has dreams.
She dreams of going to Seoul for that scholarship she never took, of leaving everything behind and moving to New York.
In all those dreams, she finds herself attached to Benedict, the boy she has always loved, who didn’t love her back.
Ben believes in parallel worlds.
Worlds where the things you didn’t do come true—worlds where he went to London and fell in love with Celia, where he shows up on the day she needed him most. He believes that dreams are glimpses into that parallel world, and it’s not a coincidence that Celia’s been having them too.

It’s the day of Ben’s wedding, in the middle of a typhoon in Manila. How will these dreams and unmade decisions change their lives? Will they bring them closer together, or just drive them further apart?




"What if in another universe, you loved me too?"

I got my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. When she announced on a Facebook group that she was willing to provide a free copy, I immediately checked the blurb because the cover is cute. Haha! And fortunately, the synopsis sounds intriguing so I contacted the author right away. :)

First Impressions
The first that got me, to be honest, was the cover. The art cover is simple yet nice. Later, I would find out that the book has little drawings at the beginning of each chapter which I find really cute.

At first I thought Cities was going to be a cheesy, fan fiction-y (is this a word?) read, but when I got to the third chapter, I knew that I would really like this book.

Plot
Cities revolved around the idea of multiverse or parallel universe. I didn't get it at first. I was confused  because there was a sudden change in the setting. I was like, why are we in Seoul (one of the settings)? Haha! But when Ben later explained in the "present universe" his theory on multiverse, I immediately got the whole theme. And the idea fascinated me.

Personally, I don't believe in other universe existing right at the moment we're living, but how the theory was played out, how it was integrated into the story, was really amazing. And while the whole love story was not really something new, the parallel universe made the premise of the book unique. I really liked it. Whilst reading, I could clearly see in my head the changing of one world to the other. Ugh! I couldn't explain it well, but it was just amazing. :)

The story was a bit sad, but it has a happy ending. And the thought that perhaps, in other universe, the story might have been a lot different, made my feelings somehow better. It left a hole in my heart, seriously. But I loved this book nevertheless.

My favorite part, I think, would be the idea that even though in the other universe, one can be of different nationality, career or family background, he or she still maintained the core of his or her being, his or her personality. Another would be the Filipino references, because… I'm Filipino! The inevitable traffic, insane rain, and that annoying neighbor singing karaoke. I can totally relate! Haha!

My least favorite part would be those that tend to be cheesy. Know folks, that it's just me. I don't like cheesy parts. #bitter Haha!

Characters
I loved the characters. Normally, I would dislike anyone who will get in the way of the main ones, but I totally love every characters.

Celia is one of the main characters. I really felt sorry for her. I haven't been in love (?) nor have I been really hurt because of love, but I felt Celia's sorrow and pain. *sigh* Her character development, if one will look at it only in the present universe, was a bit too fast. But factoring in the parallel universe theory, I loved how she is able to accept her reality. And though moving on was difficult, she is willing to move forward.

Another main character is Ben. I don't think it was mentioned how he and Celia became friends after the Senior incident. He's still a mystery to me, to be honest. Surprisingly, the unknown did not bother me. Haha! Anyway, I felt that his feelings for Celia and even for Vivian are true and real. I liked how visible his conflicted feelings were.

All characters (Celia, Ben, Henry and Vivian) were three- dimensional. They were relatable. They're not perfect, and they can be annoying at times. But they were perfectly understandable.

Writing
The story was told in a third person perspective. And while, the POVs were mainly Ben's and Celia's, there were occasional Henry's and Vivian's. Therefore, I was able to look deeply into each characters' feelings and I was able to understand them.

I think the author was able to explain the theory of parallel universe well. It may or may not be believable but I liked how it was incorporated into the story to create a unique premise. I don't think I've ever read anything like Cities before. :)

I liked the author's writing style. I liked the transition between the universe, the smooth flow of events and the consistency between the characters.

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More than the theory of parallel universe, Cities is a story of friendship, love and moving on. There are times when we are enslaved by our what ifs. But those are in the past. What we have is the present- the circumstances and the people in it. We can choose to be miserable by wallowing in what could have been, but we can also choose to live the best of our today.

We may dream of a parallel universe where we are better and happier. But we’re here in this universe. We have our present lives. Let us make the best of this universe and be what our parallel selves dream about.
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I definitely recommend this book folks! Come March or April, if I have money already (Haha!), I'm going to buy a physical copy and reread it! I just loved it folks! :)



To order a copy, just contact the author through her e-mail: ck.deguzman@gmail.com or through her Facebook account. You can also visit her blog: Some Midnights. :)


That's all folks!
Have a nice day!



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