Adventure (Teen), Fantasy (Teen), YA Fiction

Darwin’s Selection: Volume 1: A Whole New World by Christopher Slater

I received this novel from NetGalley as an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

One of the things I love about NetGalley is that it gives me the opportunity to read the latest work by celebrated authors as well as read some of the brilliant stuff that debut authors are coming up with. It really is a privilege to get a chance to read these books, and I have a lot of respect for authors who put themselves out there for everyone to see. I’ve earned a bit of a reputation for being very … frank in my opinions of certain novels. I’ve been called out for being mean and have been insulted because people find my reviews are too harsh or judgmental. As someone who has always wanted to write but has never been brave enough to put pen to paper, I just want to say that I truly do admire the effort that is put into creating a novel and releasing it to the public. However, I will always give my honest opinion. That is my duty as a reviewer: to state how I truly felt about the novel, no matter what. I hope that those who read my reviews as well as the authors whose books I read will understand that I am not trying to be malicious; this is my way of being critical and giving feedback. So… now that I’m done with my little schpeel, here is my review:

Anyone who has ever gone to college knows that it is an entirely different world there. For Darwin Woodman, this concept is taken to an extreme. As soon as she steps onto campus, something happens to Darwin, something that makes her aware that there are things she can see that no one else can – things that have their place in mythology and fairytales. Darwin doesn’t know what to think; her brilliant scientist parents have raised her to hold only science as the truth but now, everywhere around her, there are signs of fantastical things that cannot be explained by any natural laws. Can it be that the world around her is not what she has always believed? Or is the stress of college life causing Darwin to lose her mind?

While this may not have been this author’s first published work, it definitely does not read like the work of a professional. From the start, the writing style and the story itself fell apart. Everything was artificial and awkward, and I immediately disliked this book. Darwin has no real personality. The introduction that the author gives for her is childishly articulated, in a manner similar to the way my 12 year old sister would introduce a story. There is not an ounce of depth throughout the novel and every single character is shallow beyond belief. This book would be much more suitable for a child/pre-teen than for any teenager because the author has not reflected any aspect of the real world at all. Nuances and transitions do not exist in this novel, and its immature writing style did not allow me to continue to finish this novel. I had to stop at the halfway mark because I just really did not like how the author had conveyed this story. I don’t want you to think I only focused on the writing style itself; I actually gave the story itself a chance but found that it was lackluster. Overall, I was not happy with what I read. This book needs some major editing to iron out all details and give everything some much-needed depth. Also, it needs to stop sounding so artificial and immature. This story did not resonate with me at all and I would only recommend this novel if it has gone through some heavy editing and fixed all of these issues.


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