Overall I would give this novel three and a half stars, maybe three and three quarters. It’s well written, entertaining and, conceptually, a very interesting story. I loved the idea of multiple Earths and the whole premise of stepping from one world to the next. The exploration of each parallel world intrigued me.
The Long Earth is the term used to describe countless Earths stretched out to infinity which humans have learned how to travel to, by means of a stepper-box- a device which must be built by the user and which uses a potato for energy. The stepper, or the person traveling to a different Earth by using the home-made box, can travel instantaneously from world to world with the flip of a switch. Of course there are some who can step, or travel, without the box, and some who cannot step at all. This creates conflict on the home world, or Datum Earth, as it’s called.
Joshua Valientè is a natural stepper who has been recruited to explore The Long Earth via airship in order to help solve some of the many puzzles which this new frontier presents.
What I liked the most about this book was the idea, the concept that made me consider new possibilities and ponder alternate realities. That part was fun. The lack of character connection is what makes me give it a less than four star rating.
Joshua was kind of the main character, for me at least, but the story was interspersed with many other important characters and many other pieces of the whole story told from multiple points of view. Several of the characters were interesting, but none so compelling that I feel truly invested in the story or feel a genuine need to find out what happens to them in The Long War, the next book in the series. I’m sure I’ll read it, because it is a rather fascinating idea, and the book is full of subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, humor that I enjoyed. It’s definitely entertaining, just not a book that I couldn’t stand to put down for a while and come back to later.