Fighting Gravity

Fighting Gravity

by Leah Petersen


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781897492437
Publisher: Dragon Moon Press
Publication date: 03/28/2012
Pages: 306
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading.* She's still working on knitting while writing.

Her first novel, Fighting Gravity, is available now from Dragon Moon Press.

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Fighting Gravity 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
jojoNE More than 1 year ago
Leah Petersen is giving readers everything they could ask for in her debut release, Fighting Gravity. What starts out as a story with a dystopian feel soon morphs into a teenage boy/girl romance and then segues into a m/m love story with the entire book wrapped up in a sci-fi/futuristic bow. The action moves along at a nice pace presenting a young man's life told from his perspective and the events that befall him good and bad. Jake Dawes is an intriguing character that practically grows up before our eyes. He came from the unclass and as such was treated shabbily by many. For him to succeed as he did was quite the nose snubbing to the upperclass. I enjoyed seeing him excel when so many thought he'd fail and said he wasn't worthy of trying to better himself. His spontaneous comments and political views sometimes condemned him to some bleak circumstances and I kept wishing he'd learn from those moments, especially when he kept saying he'd learned, but I was continually left frustrated by him. The Emporer, Pete, is an equally likable character. He's a just leader and tries to always give Jake what he wants. Whereas he understands how precarious the line is when it comes to socioeconomic status, Jake bulldozes through a situation which is why he's always in trouble. Pete's always left trying to reign him in. The connection between these men was palpable from the first time they made eye contact. Being with Jake makes Pete feel more human, more real, since everyone else is bowing down to him. When they're together it's like everyone else doesn't exist. The romantic life of Jake permeates through the entire story starting with Kirti with them coming together to assuage their loneliness. What he and Pete have is a more mature and lasting relationship that defied every horrible incident that befell them. The romantic interludes were romantic but not at all graphic. There was a sweet edge to the scenes in fact. Amongst the romance was plenty of political intrigue with a few nasty villains rearing their ugly heads. Amongst the upperclass are plenty of superficial people who could become a villain at any moment. This leads to a feeling of constant tension with every scene that takes place in the capital. This story grabbed me from the very start and although the early parts set in the school seemed to drag a bit, the story definitely picked up the pace in the latter half. The characters, both primary and secondary and hero and villain, are memorable and written in a realistic manner. Just when you think happiness reigns be prepared for a tension-filled cliffhanger that has me tapping my toe in frustration and anticipation.
JMFrey More than 1 year ago
Leah Petersen's debut book is touching, emotional, and a comfortably domestic love story set against the backdrop of politics in an empire that spans the Galaxy. Our narrator, boy-genius Jacob Dawes, is an oddly mature child who "steps between a punch" at six, is chosen for relocation to the Imperial Intellectual Complex at eight, and "makes love" at fifteen. Born into one of the most poor slums of an Empire that stretches across worlds, Jake is plucked from his home life due to his amazing maths proficiency and placed into the Imperial Intelligence Complex – a literal think tank where geniuses of every discipline are corralled and kept by the Emperor in happy luxury. Jake's anger at being taken from his family is soon replaced by awe, and then joy as he finally finds a place that not only challenges his intellect but supports his endeavours. Aside from the bullying Jake is subjected to from both fellow students and some teachers for his unclass status, Jake is happiest than he's ever been in his life. But at the age of fifteen, the Emperor – a boy the same age as Jake – comes to tour the IIC. The two boys become fast friends, bonding over science, and then the Emperor departs, he commands Jake to become part of his retinue, forcing Jake to be ripped from his home a second time. Thus begins the novel's central love affair, and the turbulent emotional struggle that Jake wrestles with for the rest of the book – can he be happy continually being relocated at the Emperor's will, whenever the Emperor pleases? Can Jake accept being the Emperor's pet physicist and later, lover, even knowing that his life is no longer his own to control? Is the lure of an Imperial lab and free reign of the Emperor's body enough to keep Jake satisfied being a virtual prisoner for the rest of his life? Or does his own concern for the unclass of the Empire, and the vitriolic environment of political manoeuvring mean that he'll make mistakes so grave that they will endanger his happy relationship? Or worse, his own life... or the Emperor's? The clinical way Jake narrates his memoires fits a life where the only education he's had was in the sciences. It makes sense for a highly articulate and educated man looking back on a highly articulate childhood. But while Jake thinks like a man, he still lashes out like a boy, and Fighting Gravity takes Jake through the rollercoaster of predicaments that are the consequence of Jake's own immaturity. The poignant tragedy of the story is not that Jake suffers for his verbal slips, but that he had no adult figure in his life to help him understand the stresses of puberty and hormones, the truths and pains of growing up, or how to navigate the political battlefield into which he is thrust. Professors, yes. Parents, no. Jake was treated as an adult from the age of eight, and nobody seems to see the child floundering for acceptance and understanding underneath the highly competent physicist. But above all else, the greatest success of Fighting Gravity lies in the fact that homosexual relationships are a simple given in this future. The Emperor may sleep with a woman or a man, as he chooses – the scandal comes not from the gender of the Emperor's partner, but with his class. In normalizing same-sex relationships this way, Petersen offers an inclusive future where the great social injustices centre on poverty, colonialism, Imperialism and the issues of treating subjects like chess pieces and chattle, and the war to have sexual equality was long ago won when the world was solidified into one nation, and religion was quashed. My only concern with the book is relatively minor – I would have liked to see more social responsibility in Jake, see him try to save the little sister left behind, to use his new position in the Empire to better the lives of those people he used to number among. But in the end, even his lack of action on the part of the poor emphasizes that Jake's emotional maturity has suffered for his education, and that he is only a selfish, confused boy content with being content, just happy being happy. Fighting Gravity is sweet, slow love story; a fantasy life for science geeks rounded out by the preciousness of an honest attraction and a careful courtship, and stuffed with the thrill of illicit encounters, and the horror of a world where serious social missteps come with serious consequences.
J_Teekell More than 1 year ago
What impressed me initially about this book was the dialogue and the pacing of the story. I am a stickler for both. Snobby, really. What made me fall in love with this book was the relationship between the two leads. Both characters are so skillfully and yet effortlessly drawn that I couldn't help but be completely immersed. I no longer work at the company, so I can tell you I was sneaking this book at work, during my first month there, because the story was more real to me than the risk of losing my job. In a time where a book's concept or first chapters seem to trump its execution 95% of the time, I can promise you that with this little gem? You will be in good hands.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JeffPfaller More than 1 year ago
Leah Petersen’s debut novel from Dragon Moon Press, Fighting Gravity is a phenomenal love story set against an epic sci-fi universe where interplanetary travel, ground-breaking scientific innovations and opulent riches are commonplace. Oh, and that love story? It’s a gay love story. The nice thing about her book is that it focuses on those elements, in that order. In fact, I wouldn’t even say the fact that the two main characters are both men is the third most important element she’s woven into this rich story. Class stratification, coming of age and realizing potential are all part of the journey of Jacob Dawes, a too-intelligent-for-his-station kid plucked from the slums of Earth to attend an exclusive academy for the Empire’s best and brightest. Sexuality is merely a detail. It’s refreshing to read about a world where who someone chooses to love doesn’t matter, but rather focuses on why and how Jacob’s character comes to fall for Emperor himself. And it’s the twists and turns, the imperfections and the messiness, of that relationship that’s the strength of the novel. Jacob and Pete are different people, but the magnetism binding them together forces those rough, jutting edges to rub against each other. It truly is a love story about a real relationship. While Fighting Gravity is set in a sci-fi universe, it’s not about the tech or the fancy do-hickey that blasts plasma into antimatter. Rather, it provides a rich backdrop for the characters to populate. Her depictions of things new and wondrous to Jacob are appropriately breathtaking, but not once does this futuristic world get in the way of the flow of the story. The world of Fighting Gravity feels like a place that exists somewhere down the road, and Petersen is merely returning from a trip to a future, our future, and has chosen to tell us about it through this story of love.