Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Seven Experiments by Stephen Kanicki
Published by Black Rose Writing on October 10, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy, Thriller
Doctor Gary Miller is introduced to the world of self-help in the form of seven experiments. Each experiment is designed to focus Dr. Miller’s mind, so he can realize his dreams through the power of thought alone: conceive it, believe it, and achieve it. He’s dubious at first, but frustrations at work and a loveless marriage lead him down the rabbit hole. Much to his surprise, the experiments work. In fact, they work unbelievably well, and he soon discovers they can lead beyond the acquisition of material wealth. They can make him immortal, and God-like. However, Dr. Miller will learn getting what you want isn’t always a good thing. In fact, it can be quite maddening. Just be careful what you ask for.
I saw the cover and was drawn in; it was cool and different and looks like someone hiding behind themselves. The Seven Experiments was Sci-Fi and Fantasy category of Netgalley when I picked it up. I know that for sure because when I started reading, I thought I messed up and got something from a self-help section. Nope, it is definitely fiction and it does get to a point when it is a little bit sci-fi and a little bit of a mystery, eventually.
Gary has been married for 27 years; he is a professor and a pastor. Philosophy and religion go hand in hand for him. When we meet Gary, he and his friend Bob are having a theological discussion. We learn that Bob basically has most of the same training as Gary, but he has a beautiful wife, a big house, nice cars and the health that Gary covets. In their discussion, Bob lets Gary know that he too could have all of this in his life too if only he does seven experiments to change his way of thinking and how he lives his life.
For a while, the book seems more like a self-help guide to how to manifest the things you want in your life by the power of positive thinking. Gary is skeptical at first but as the experiments start working, he has more and more buy in to what Bob is offering. It starts to get really strange around experiment three and four and that is when the sci-fi fantasy starts to play into everything.
I will say that the mystery and ending did a lot to make the book better and I’m left wondering if the greater your initial faith, the better the seven experiments work for you. The conclusion of the book leaves the reader open to their own interpretation of what the experiments really are and why/how they worked.
I’m sorry to say that most of this book was not my jam. There are a few reasons for this, the biggest being I did not like Gary at all. I don’t think I’m supposed to like Gary but it is hard to read an entire book on a character that has little to no redeeming qualities. I didn’t like how he saw the woman he married and spent 27 years with or the thoughts he had about her. I didn’t care for the way he thought about his friend’s wife or some of his co-workers for that matter. Then when the experiments really started working my feelings for him just became worse. I think they were supposed to but again hard to enjoy reading about a character you just do not like.
There are also some philosophical and religious debates. While sometimes I find stuff like this intriguing, I think I do better with it in made up worlds where even the religions are made up as well. It is more difficult to be completely impartial when they encompass some religions I already know about.
Is this book for you? Well if you like philosophy, religion and debates on morality, I think it could be. If you love to hate someone you are reading about, this again could be all for you. For me, the premise is really interesting and I did like Gary’s wife; I just struggled with a lot of the content.
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