Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bookaholic's review of Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson

Reviewed by -- Bookaholic  
Book Review of --
Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson   
My overall star rating --- 3   

About the book:
In 1912, history was changed by the Miracle, when the old world of Europe was replaced by Darwinia, a strange land of nightmarish jungle and antedeluvian monsters. To some, the Miracle is an act of divine retribution; to others, it is an opportunity to carve out a new empire.
Leaving American now ruled by religious fundamentalism, young Guilford Law travels to Darwinia on a mission of discovery that will take him further than he can possibly a shattering revelation about mankind's destiny in the universe.
Book creation ratings:
Overall total, out of 30 -- 17
-- Story & characters -- 4
-- Cover & title -- 6
-- Editing & formatting -- 9
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
This book started with an interesting premise: Europe disappears and is replaced by a primeval and alien wilderness. Unfortunately, the story itself failed to grab me. It began like an explorer's journal from 1912, heavy on description of strange lifeforms, but dry and detached. We saw only a plodding journey upriver, followed by the expected mishaps, disasters, and deaths. There was a subplot with the main protagonist's wife, and another one with an American ner-do-well who seems to commune with spirits. These plots didn't seem engaging either. The story became interesting when the alien city appeared...but then all of a sudden we had the Demons. A whole new raft of weird concepts and terms were thrown at us. "Ontosphere"? "Turing packets"? Are the culprits some kind of cyberpunk-style berserk computers? I like galactic strangeness, but it should make some sort of sense. Instead, the denouement comes as a horror movie with demon possession, monsters, and, um, gun battles? Really? You can fight world-destroying demons with bullets??
This author has a way with prose, but my reaction to most of this was "I don't get it".    

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Science fiction        
Age recommendations -- 12. Suited for any age.        
Sex content rating -- No real sex scenes.        
Violence rating -- Moderate violence, not too graphic                                                        
** The author's links for **


Amazon author page



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