Planesrunner (Everness #1)
by Ian McDonald

Jo Fletcher Books (Jan 2013)
Hardback, 371 pages
Young Adult, Science Fiction

There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one among billions of parallel earths. When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse—the Infundibulum—the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, the might of ten planets—some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth—at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.

To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate that his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter, Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness. Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!


Everett is a pretty normal teenager, well as normal as a genius teen can get. His life is mix of school, friends and spending time with his newly separated Dad, Tejandra. He waiting for his Dad to go to a physics lecture (yes a teenager interested in quantum physics) when his Dad is abducted off the street right before his eyes. The police don’t believe him, his mother doesn’t believe him but Everett knows what he saw. Just when he thought that things couldn’t get weirder he discovers an app sent by his father to his tablet which he calls Dr Quantum (which I thought was adorable!). This isn’t just any app, its the Infundibulum. This app is basically a map of all the parallel universes. Both Everett and his father are believers in multiple universe theory (think of Fringe, Star Trek, Sliding Doors) and it looks like his father has developed a map that gives the coordinates of hundreds and hundreds of alternative realities. Everett isn’t sure where his father is but knows he has been kidnapped for this extremely rare and valuable piece of technology.

With the help from one of his father’s colleagues and the clues he left behind Everett, finds out that his father has discovered a way to contact the other universes. Tejandra had discovered a way to contact the Plenitude of Known Worlds which is a an organisation of planes, or universes that are in contact with each other. Not just satisfied with contacting these other universes the team developed the Heisenberg Gate which allowed travel between the other worlds. Its clear to Everett that whoever has the map of the universes in the form of the Infundibulum has the ultimate power over all the others. His father leaves him one more clue in a video and Everett starts to develop a theory of where he has been taken. One thing he soon discovers is that whoever is behind his father’s kidnap knows he holds the power of the universes, The Infundibulum, and they want it back.

Everett follows his father’s clues and ends up on E3, the universe where the evil Charlotte Villiers has taken his father to make him build anther Infundibulum. E3 is a wonderfully constructed, vibrant world where airships rule the sky. Luck is on Everett’s side when he makes friend with Sen, the young pilot of the airship Everness and its not long before he becomes one of the crew and part of the family. With the help of Captain Sixsmith and the crew of the Everness, Everett makes a plan to rescue his father. Nothing is ever easy as Charlotte Villiers is determined to thwart his plans in order to get the Infundibulum and pursues Everett and Sen through the streets and skies of this alternative London.

McDonald is just as much of a genius as his characters Everett and Tejandra but his skill is world building rather than physics. He creates an alternative London that is so richly detailed you can easily picture it. The description of the Everness is so clear its almost as though you could walk outside, look up to the sky and see it floating there. The alternative language was a great added touch and made the world even more believable. Everett was well written and perfect mix of everyday teenager and super brainy nerd. The interplay between his fraught mother was very funny although only a small part of the story was dedicated to Everett at home which was a bit disappointing. The interplay between Sen and Everett was touching and even more so between Everett and Captain Sixsmith.

I really enjoyed reading Planesrunner and Everett makes for a likeable and believable hero. While the story is aimed a the younger YA reader there was enough complexity in the plot to make it enjoyable for the older reader. I didn’t guess what was going to happen and the story ends with quite a cliff hanger so I am really looking forward to the release of the next book.  I hope I don’t have to wait too long!


Planesrunner is a great start to the Everness series and all down to the richly detailed, exotic world(s) that McDonald creates for his characters to live in. Everett is a very likeable character who is smart, resourceful and determined to save his Dad. I enjoyed every page of Everett’s journey,  the crew of the Everness and the alternative London that McDonald created. Planesrunner is aimed at the younger YA reader but still has plot with enough twists and turns to keep the older YA or adult reader interested from start to finish.


Website | Goodreads


  1. Planesrunner
  2. Be My Enemy




A displaced Canadian living in the UK who when not reading is often found trawling through GoodReads looking for something to read or buying another book on Amazon. [Melanie no longer reviews for the site.]


kara-karina March 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I absolutely loved this book, and especially the slang Ian created. Really can’t wait to read book #2! :)


Melanie March 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Me too! When is book 2 out? do you know?


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