About the Book

Title: Planesrunner (Everness #1)
Published: 2011
Series: Everness
Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Cover Story: Sci-fi Throwback
BFF Charm: Yay!
Talky Talk: Science N’ Slang
Bonus Factors: London, Parallel Worlds, Steampunk
Relationship Status: Alamo For This Book

Cover Story: Sci-fi Throwback

This cover is definitely a lot more interesting than the average cover we see around here. It’s a little cheesetastic but it’s a way that pays homage to the awesomeness that was 80s and early 90s sci-fi. I have a hard time comparing it to other YA sci-fi novels since there have been very few well-marketed YAs in the last few years that actually qualify as (true) sci-fi. I can see this cover not being for everybody, but for me it’s like I’ve stepped into a time machine of awesomeness. Also, bonus points for the cover illustrations being relevant to the story. And super mega bonus points for not white-washing the main character.

The Deal

When Everett Singh’s quantum physicist father is kidnapped right before his eyes, it’s up to Everett to find out who has taken him. Soon after Dr. Singh’s disappearance, Everett receives a mysterious message from him. The message contains a computer program called Infundibulum, concerning Dr. Singh’s research into the many worlds theory. But parallel universes are no longer just a theory, as Dr. Singh and his colleagues have discovered a way to contact other worlds through a Heisenberg Gate. Our earth (E10) made contact with several of the known universes that have Gate technology. Everett believes his father’s Infundibulum program is the reason he’s been kidnapped and that leaders of another parallel world are to blame. With otherworld agents on his tail, can Everett get himself to the parallel world where he thinks his father is being kept? And more importantly, can he and his father ever get back to their own world?

BFF Charm: Yay!

Yay BFF Charm

I would love to be Everett’s friend. Although, I fear I would be sort of pulling a “Nice Guy” move, because I think I have a bit of a crush on Everett. So maybe I’d be his friend in the hopes that some day when he’s lonely or desperate, he will notice me because I’m always around!

Err, anyway! Everett is awesome. He’s super smart. Like, genius level smart. And he is a nerd, but doesn’t let that define him. Which isn’t to say he goes around acting too cool/dynamic to be categorized as a nerd. Because I hate those characters. It’s just that he doesn’t get hung up on it like some dorky protagonists tend to do. Plus, Everett is super brave. I know we all think we’d go to extremes to rescue our kidnapped fathers. But going to a parallel universe? That takes some major cojones. Important to consider: if we were friends, maybe, just maybe I could adventure with Everett in parallel universes.

In addition, I really liked Everett’s Airish (the name of the people who fly the merchant air ships in world E3) friend Sen. She’s sassy and funny and a little bit crazy (in a good way).

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

I like both Everett and Sen, but I just didn’t get very attached to the prospect of them as a pair. To me, they seemed pretty well suited as friends. Especially since nothing more than flirting (and really, that was entirely on Sen’s part) goes on. Plus they live in different worlds, so maybe it’s not really worth it in the long run for them to get invested? But maybe the author will spice things up, since the story is obviously set up for sequels.

Talky Talk: Science N’ Slang

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about McDonald’s writing that made my reading experience a little bumpy. Maybe it’s just that he’s British? Or maybe it’s that he’s normally an adult science fiction writer? (This book, I believe, is his first foray into YA and I am glad to say it was not a case of an adult writer writing down to a YA audience.) None of this is to say I didn’t enjoy his writing. I loved the descriptions of Alternate-London and all the quantum physics talk (or at least, however much of it I could understand).

Of note was how McDonald peppered the language of the Airish people with the British slang terms from Palari. This helps give Alternate-London an otherworldly feel. The author does this just enough to create an authentic atmosphere and not enough to frustrate the reader (plus he provides a handy Palari dictionary in the back of the book). Take this scene between Sen and a woman she knows from a clothes shop (one of the more Palari heavy scenes in the book). Everett overhears them discussing whether Sen fancies him:

“Now where did you find that dolly dilly? Don’t lie to your Dona. My ogles may be buggered, but even I can varda that omi ain’t so.”

“Can’t say, Dona Miriam; ‘cept that it is so, so.”

“Are you alamo?”

“Bona lacoddy. Bonaroo lallies. Fantabulosa dish. Had a varda when he was in the shower, didn’t I?”

“And the chicken? Alamo?”


“The more fool. Have you considered, dorcas, whether the dally chicken alamos polones at all?”

“You mean omi-polone?”

“Dorcas, this is Hackney.”

“I do like girls,” Everett interrupted. “Sort of.”


  • dolly/dally: sweet
  • dona: woman
  • ogle: look
  • varda: to see
  • omi: guy
  • alamo: hot for someone
  • bona: good
  • lacoddy: body
  • bonaroo: wonderful
  • lallies: legs
  • fantabulosa: fabulous
  • dish: ass
  • chicken: young man
  • nante: no
  • dorcas: term of endearment
  • polone: women
  • omi-polone: homosexual

Bonus Factor: London

A street in London featuring Big Ben, a red telephone box, and a double-decker bus

Everett and his family live in London. Since I’m no London expert, most of the references to places and city sites are lost on me. But London lovers are going to enjoy this one, including the time spent in Alternate-London.

Bonus Factor: Parallel Worlds

Side by side photos of regular Mr. Spock and Evil Mr. Spock

My poor man’s explanation of the Many Worlds Theory is that for every possible action or outcome, the universe splits into different, parallel universes. And as a result, there are an infinite number of parallel universes representing every possible outcome in the history of our universe. And in case you haven’t noticed, I cannot get enough of this bonus factor. Parallel universes with alternate histories are crazy interesting. In this book, there are 10 known worlds in contact with each other and we only get to visit one. But hopefully we explore more worlds in the sequel!

Bonus Factors: Steampunk

A skull decorated with metal gears and such with a night sky in the background.

This isn’t a steam punk book, per say, but there are a lot of steam punky elements to the story. The world Everett visits (referred to as E3) is one that never had oil or fossil fuels. Which means NO PLASTIC. Can you imagine? Plus, everything ran on steam and later electricity. So you’ve got people travelling on giant gas-filled air ships. So if giant air ships are your thing…

Relationship Status: Alamo For This Book

I am totally alamo for this bona book. Sorry, that was just me trying to pretend like I was cool enough to talk like an Airish person. So what I’m trying to say is that I am totally into this book. It’s cool, it’s fun, and it’s exciting. Hanging out with this book makes me feel a little cooler and a little smarter. Plus, I feel like I’m dating the kind of book I always want to date. For the last couple of years, I feel like I’ve been going on too many dates with dystopian fics who try and pretend they’re sci-fi. It rarely works out. But there’s something satisfying about going out with the real deal. Plus, this book obviously loves me back since it is set up for sequel potential. If this book keeps on the path it’s going down, it has some series long-term potential.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Pyr. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (dammit!). Planesrunner is available today!

Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.