I’d like to start off this review by saying that this is a very well-researched book. I’m not much of a scientist, but our main characters are highly intelligent high schoolers who love physics, programming, and chemistry and are pretty brilliant. At first, this seems like it might be an alienating factor for the reader, but after I warmed up to the characters, I got the impression that this high level of intelligence is as much of a burden as a blessing as these children begin to explore a new world that goes against all of the laws of science.
These very factual tidbits from real science were used to give our characters strong inner voices and really did serve to make them into memorable individuals. Every character introduced in this book has his or her own quirks, way of speaking, and a distinct inner voice that really serves to make the characters stand out from one another. Unique characters are important to any story.
The idea of time/space travel we’re introduced to is a little hard to grasp at first, because we learn more about this new world at the same rate our main characters do, so you aren’t just dropped into this new universe with no idea what’s going on or how things work.
The inventions created in this book (which still qualifies as science fiction) are truly ingenious, have a solid background in science, are believable and acceptable to the human mind, and give the impression of things that could become necessary in the actual future (if only someone were truly capable of inventing them.)
Though the story starts off a little slow (which might be to my lessening attention span, but who truly knows?), it does have a way of keep pulling you back to finish it as the exploration of new worlds and the future is written by Ellis in an inescapable way. In the face of that, I can only give three and a half stars to a book that I liked, but didn’t drown me in tears, break my heart, or leave me with some sort of reading trauma at the end. A good book, but not a heartbreaker.
One of the things I have to have a little laugh about is getting to the end of the story and going, “Where’s the rest of it?” In my journey to promote indie authors without shelling out too much cash, I sometimes roam the free downloads for Amazon’s Kindle. This looked interesting and had pretty good reviews already so I went ahead and downloaded it, not noticing that it was a book series. So when I came to the end of the story without getting a conclusion, I was quite surprised. Of course, I really want to find out how this story ends so I will definitely be finishing the Derivatives of Displacement series.
Some memorable quotes from the book:
- “Abbey stayed away from Greenhill kids at the mall. They just always looked unpredictable–like they weren’t afraid of their parents, or principals, or even policemen.”
- “You can kill yourself trying to change the future…”
- “Occam’s razor: The correct answer is the simplest.”
- “I am not thinking about my current situation. I have decided this is not happening.”
- “In a computer program, as soon as you change one variable, you have to recompile the whole program. We might be recompiling right now.”
- “A lot of witches never had children. Knowing the future is apparently an effective form of birth control.”
- “She was aware–had always been aware– that some of the greatest scientific minds in the world had to have gone on hunches and hubris.”