Source: Author via Goodreads First Reads
Released: January 7th 2009
Published by: CreateSpace
Page Count is 282
Matthew Huntington's problems seem to keep growing. Not only is he seeing things in garbage cans but his mentor doesn't think he's working up to his full potential, his best friend can't offer any solace but drunken confusion and his wife is dying in Central Park. Of course, the fact that Matthew himself died over two decades ago isn't helping things. (Description from goodreads.com)
Matthew, the character you are introduced to in the description is not the main character. You would think so, since the story follows his existence as a Newbie and the change to life as Tester, but he's still not the main focus of the story. Probability Angels doesn’t have one main hero. It has five: Matthew, Epp, Kyo, Mary, and Bartleby. All of them are Testers. As a Tester, you have to obtain gain energy to survive and Push people for energy.
Matthew is relatively new to his second life. Its been twenty years since he died in place of his wife and he is still learning the ropes. When his wife dies he has to make his Second Choice. He can either follow his choice for the remained of it’s life to the grave and fade out, or cut ties and become a tester and Push people into greatness and gain power and knowledge from his Pushes. This is what Epp, his mentor tells him. Epp with 2,000 years under his belt is the strongest Tester currently in existence. His character is thoughtful, highly intelligent, and arrogant. Usually arrogance is the flaw in characters, but for Epp it is a defining trait that made him push his own abilities to what they are today.
Epp's best friend is Kyo, a Sammeri from the early feudal era of Japan. He is unique compared to other Tester’s and in someways more of a feared and respected anomaly then Epp. Kyo is an unknown which makes him mysterious to his enemies and confusing to his friends. He doesn’t Push. At all. How he survives for centuries which out energy from humans is a mystery, but thankful explained in the book.
Mary and Bartleby are former students of Epp who respect him greatly. Mary is second guesses her own ability as a Tester and Bartleby is an overconfident child. Both characters make trumendous progress and deveolpe as the book progresses. Bartleby even gains a new ability thanks to Epp, but Barleby still doesn't know if he is thankful or pissed off at Epp, but most of the time its a combination.
All five have to deal with a conspiracy plot of a former tester who starts a vendetta against Epp. Departed testers who continue to follow their choices long after they have died begin to root when they don't obtain energy, essentially becoming zombies. To resurrect the "dead" Tester he must be fed live Testers to regain energy. Now imagine a small army of one hundred Zombie Testers being put to use with the only Kyo who can successfully fight them off, but only six at a time.
What I liked most about Probability Angels was the concept of Pushing. Pushing represents a symbiotic relationship for both Tester and human. Whoever is Pushed gains inspiration, you might say. The Tester doing the Pushing, if he survives, gains energy. The stronger the charge, the stronger the Push. To compare what a Tester is to something more familiar, think of them as Muses. Without them nothing would happen in the world because no one would Push them to do it.
Don't read the grey highlighted text if you don't want to outcome ruined for you. You have been warned.
The one thing that did not sit well with me with the book was the ending result with Epp. The way he died was sad but perfect for the book's development. To have him come back was great as well and expected of Epp. Being awesome and surprising the hell out of people is what he does best, but after his conversation with Bartleby the whole being incredibly powerful and being an Undead Tester and overcoming his hunger to kill live Testers was a bit to much. I was hoping he wouldn't have been Undead at all and just had kept some spots of amnesia, but they way it worked out was still good.
This book was a great read and really got me thinking about what Epp would say and went through. A couple of grammar errors were found, but it did not annoy me enough to put the book down. The way the story ended also left the feeling of a second installment to come. I hope not because I liked how the story closed and I don't want to see Epp be ruined if he overcame another insane obstacle of this magnitude. Definitely a book worth being place on my bookshelf.