This is book 2 of the Quantum Curators series. I wrote about the first one here
The second book starts with Julius going through training to become a Quantum Curator. When I started to read and realised what he is doing, I thought whether I would miss the Earth if dragged to another universe like this, you know, your house and stuff, memories, etc. Julius answered this question in the second chapter by saying poignantly, “What’s not to love? A society based on science and academia rather than religion and commerce. Their shining achievement was the quantum technology that allowed them to open a portal to my earth and save treasures just before they became permanently lost or destroyed”. Indeed, what’s not to love in a society that treasures science, academia and the arts?
However, as the book progresses we learn about the obsessive love of Alpha citizens of their planet, which borders on extreme patriotism, nationalism and xenophobia ascribed to Beta Earth. And we also get to know attitudes towards Beta, which are dismissive including learning about an ancient society of puritans who even have a problem with angels, sick people who cross the universes to send a message from curators and who are terminally ill but get life-saving treatment and a chance to live, whom puritans consider as contamination of the population on Alpha. Even more, we learn in more detail that there is corruption and evil intentions in the otherwise perfect Alpha, and not everyone has Neith’s views of duty and believing in the system and what the planet usually stands for.
A very interesting moment for me was when Julius, who has settled on Alpha and trained to become a quantum curator, speaks of Alpha and its ridiculous rules and then gets dismayed with Neith’s reluctance to allow challenging Alpha. Julius has a problem with not being able to swim at midday, having to walk on a certain side of the road and getting in trouble if disrespecting these overly regulated practices. Neith, on the other hand, does not understand what the problem is when swimming at midday can cause health issues which burden everyone including the health system and walking always on one side of the road presents a more functional way of walking and avoiding crowds and delays. It is all a matter of perspective but also upbringing and dispositions one has, I suppose, which this book explains through these examples very vividly.
There is action, albeit only in the second part of the book, the first part is rather slow, and Neith and Julius go to Beta for the second time in a space of less than a week only to get stranded in the 15th century Beta Earth because a new security head, who replaced a framed existing security head, cut off the connection. It seems that the perfect Alpha has evil, greed (as confidential conversations of unidentified persons who want to murder or remove Neith and Julius show that some are collecting and stealing artefacts) and the ability to do harm for personal gain after all…