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What I Just Read: D.S. Marquis' Book Review of THE COSMOS IN HER HAND by Jennifer Cyphers

Updated: Mar 2

Unforgettable characters will jump from the pages and into your heart!

If you like sci-fi, love and war, and overcoming things, you’ll love The Cosmos in Her Hand by Jennifer Cyphers. With a soap opera and mythological feel, the story is filled with adventures, intrigue, hope, friendship, love, family, dysfunction, gossip, laughter, survival, and courage in the face of devastation and evil.

The story opens on an ordinary day in Virginia, and then suddenly takes its reader on a journey through death and destruction, where few survivors try to make sense of it all over a period of 17 years in a world without power and modern conveniences. Terms such as time cell, extinction event, opticals, and rewinds add authenticity to the setting of this post-apocalyptic world.

Through action along with honest and intimate dialogue, all of Cyphers’ characters jump off the page. They are unforgettable. They hit all five senses, with acts of kindness, falling in love, music, food, and drink, all the while bringing bravery, greed, power, cruelty, corruption, and evil to life. Human? Yes, with technology for time travel, invisibility and resurrecting the dead, making them also, god-like as evidenced by characters being named after Pele, Hawaiian volcano goddess and Kali, Hindu goddess of female power.

Complex and compelling, the protagonists, Lev and Kali had me deep in their hearts fighting a war, where the line between life and death and good and evil teeters on their shoulders. Despite the horrors they face, humanity and comic relief had me turning page after page to see if goodness would prevail. Kali rises above her fears and Lev is unexpectedly an intellect. On his first days faced with the horrors of war, Lev is shaken and weak, “…he did not want to be confronted with having to choose between helping someone or ending their suffering.” Then as years go on, Lev grows into a leadership role protecting and serving his community. Kali confronts her fears.

Cyphers effectively uses personification (Time is a friend. Time will not be killed. Time is safe.), imagery (carrying a human head, torture, dead bodies), and symbolism (cosmos flowers, white house). A white house is a sanctuary of home and safety, that houses the protagonists, who are leader and first lady. And as for torture imagery, Kali knows there are worst things than death and makes that clear when she says, “Well, if you’re going to threaten to kill someone, make sure they’re afraid of dying first.” As for the cosmos, they represent something much bigger than flowers.

The novel The Cosmos in Her Hand addresses what can happen when scientific technology gets in the wrong hands. And when the wrong doers get what’s coming to them, it’s nothing short of gratifying. I loved this story, its satisfying ending, and all the characters, who jumped from the pages and into my heart!

The Cosmos in Her Hand is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.

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