- File Size: 826 KB
- Print Length: 376 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Waking Dreams Press (November 19, 2011)
- Publication Date: November 19, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006ATXEUS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #994,492 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Toby Streams the Universe Kindle Edition
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Toby Hay has spent his life locked down under the stern shadow of his brilliant psychiatrist father- but a year ago his father disappeared and Toby is adrift in his life and the Stream.
The Stream: the constant rush of information- past, present, and future, that certain members of Toby's family can access, is spiraling out of control, visions taking over from reality, causing Toby to fall into trance-like states and pass out in his apartment's hallway.
Littering Toby's family tree are stories of drug-abuse, suicide, and despair. Being Psychic apparently drives you crazy before age 40. Hidden in the depressing family histories his father had refused to let Toby read, Toby finds a thin thread of hope; someone from his family survived.
But can Toby figure out the secret before he or his psychic little sister succumb to the family curse? He has begun to hear a weird little voice that seems to urge him to open up to the world and the Stream, but what will happen if his secret gets out? Or has his father been wrong to shut themselves away from the Stream and other people....
Luckily for Toby, one of the strengths of this book is the quirky cast of characters that are his friends. Carl, his PI best friend, Lara, the artist who moves in next door who gives Toby psychic flashes of her scary ex-husband as well as haunting mermaids, Lara's brother Andy (mohawked ashtanga yoga practitioner), and Toby's phone service assistant, Penelope.
There is snarky, affectionate banter and realistic tensions between Toby and his friends. I enjoyed the unfolding of Penelope's secrets and Lara's Italian past.
What keeps this from being 5 stars for me is the problematic nature of Toby's constant Psychic impressions. The author does a really good job of letting the reader see things as Toby does; constantly interrupted by strange visions, sounds, and flashes of past and present surrounding each person (and sometimes things) he comes into contact with. This was jarring and interesting at the beginning and through the middle of the book, but began to wear on me in the last third when I wanted the multiple tensions (Who is the voice? Where is Toby's father? How can he help Penelope? Will be join the psychic detective firm with Carl? How can he keep his sister and himself from going insane? How can he protect Lara from scary ex husband?) to move along and resolve.
The constant Psychic impressions also impacts the development of Toby's relationship with Lara; the romantic love interest. We spend so much time with the mermaids that I never really felt their connection or why she was attracted to "brain-guy" in the first place. I wanted much more of their time onscreen and less dwelling in Toby's worry about the psychic flashes he got.
The thing is just when I would start to get frustrated with the Psychic flashes, some little riddle from the plot would unfold, some cool connection, and I would be compelled to keep reading. Watching Lara charm the dog-walking lady or discover Penelope wore knee-high striped socks, or the hints Nana (Lara's grandmother) drops about knowing Toby's Psychic; all these little details kept the reading fun.
This Book's Snack Rating: Sea salt and vinegar kettle chips for the refreshing tartness of the synestheshia-like Psychic flashes and the cool cast of characters that make you eat chip after chip until you realize your lips are a bit swollen from the vingar/salt and you need a little break from that particular flavor.
This is a book about Toby Hay, a man who can read not only other people's minds but also other people's pasts, presents, and futures. The only problem is that he reads them too often. Used to be he had to concentrate in order to read people. Now, he only needs to be in the vicinity. His psychic mind is getting stronger...and bringing down his sanity fast. The voices are becoming too much, and the only way he knows to quiet them is to drink. A lot.
His abilities are a generational thing, and none of his ancestors fared well. They all went insane from the voices, and except for his grandfather who's laying in a drug-induced coma and his father who's missing, all of his ancestors killed themselves to escape the voices in the Stream.
Or perhaps not....
Toby starts hearing a voice inside his head. Someone or something is offering him advice, helping him through the insanity. Can he figure out how to ride the Stream without losing his insanity and find his father? Or will he succumb to the voices from his past and decide that death is the only way out?
Part of what makes this story incredible is the author's talent with words. When Lassiter describes what Toby "sees" inside other people's minds...it's beautiful. Even the scarier, darker stuff is described so beautifully.
All I can say is read it yourself. Buy this book, and I promise you'll love it too!
I really enjoyed Toby and his growing menagerie, especially Carl. There was humour and snark. There was a touch of romance. There was a bit of mystery. The writing was tight and well edited. Despite the cutesy and off-putting title, I basically loved the book.
OK, yeah, the ending was pretty predictable, I thought the manifested mermaids were a little cheesy and it was pretty pat how everything wrapped up in such a tight little bow, but on pure enjoyment, it's a win.
This is a beautifully written thriller with a dash of romance and a fantastic cast. I loved getting to know each of these characters, and found myself incredibly anxious when it looked like some of theme weren't going to end up okay. Toby makes a great protagonist; he's flawed but hopeful, sad but compassionate, and is trying to balance being a good son/brother with a desperate need to isolate himself. His "visions" are remarkable - Lassiter uses a fine, poetic touch to describe the pain and love that Toby sees all around him, and illustrates the delicate bonds that keep us all together.
I'm really looking forward to more from this author, and would love to see a sequel to Toby Streams the Universe.