Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum is a sci-fi time travel novel centred around the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
1986: Anna Berkova, an esteemed nuclear scientist, is asleep in her bed when she suddenly time travels to the exact moment of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Somehow, she has travelled to the future where she meets her estranged daughter Manya, shot in the chest, begging Anna to save her daughter Raisa.
Philadelphia in the 1960s: adopted Manya, now called Molly, lives with her grandparents. Recently, Molly started writing a comic book series titled Atomic Anna. It’s her dream for it to be published. But her life takes a turn when she meets and falls in love with Viktor, a charming but toxic man.
Philadelphia in the 1980s: Raisa is a self-taught math prodigy living with her grandparents. She’s a bit of a loner until she meets her neighbour Daniel. Raisa grew up reading Atomic Anna, and oddly, new editions have been cropping up and seem to be asking for her help.
Review of Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum
This sci-fi novel follows the lives of these three women. The plot’s pace is even, although the timeline skips around quite a bit.
Atomic Anna tackles the phrase “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” It explores the risks of producing nuclear weapons. It asks whether it’s possible for a weapon to be created but not used and who controls it.
I am happy I read this, as science fiction is not a genre I read often. And I am far from a science buff, but the author did a great job explaining everything in simple terms.
So, I would recommend Atomic Anna if you want a story that blends sci-fi, historical fiction, and thriller.
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy to review.
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