August 15, 2017

A.W. Hill & Nathanael Hill: "The Switch" (ARC Review)

Title: The Switch [on Amazon: the link will be live on Aug. 29 | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: A.W. Hill & Nathanael Hill [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Multiverse
Year: 2017
Age: 12+
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Rich, impassioned tale where science (real and potential) meets philosophy, adventure, danger, friendship and a touch of romance. Characters with authentic voices who get under your skin.
Cons: Might require a re-read in order to grasp all the concepts. Some of the alternate realities are not accounted for.
Will appeal to: Those who like to rack their brains. Those who are in for a great adventure with a number of twists (well...switches 😉) and a lot of soul.

Blurb: Jacobus is a fifteen year-old who believes - as many fifteen year-olds do - that his life could use improvement. School is a numbing routine, and his parents’ marriage seems to be imploding before his eyes. Lured by his best friend into a strange little house containing nothing but empty rooms and an oversized circuit breaker, he’ll discover that reality comes in a plural form, and that our choices create a continuous web of branching worlds, any of which is as ‘real’ as another. A solo odyssey becomes a duo, a trio, and then a quartet, as Jacobus befriends other interdimensional travelers along the way. THE SWITCH is the story of their journey home. The question is: if they get there, will it be the same place they left behind? (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased. It's just that they have so many (sometimes underrated) gems under their belt.

RARE FIND

As a reader, multiverse is one of the genres I'm most interested in. But it's so rare to find a book that - though still leaving you with questions - plays it right and at least tries to explain the gist of it, all while having you ride along with a great cast of characters. The Switch does just that. It relies on many theories - some of them I understand are scientific material - and they are great to read, if not all easy to grasp or always making total sense...but at its core, this book is a celebration of human curiousity and courage, genuine friendship, and a reminder that choices always bear a weight, no matter how many universes you visit. I would be tempted to say The Switch is also one of those books that close the gap between YA and MG - it's clean but not artfully so, some of its characters are slightly younger than your average YA, and it's the kind of adventure that plays like a videogame, with each "level" getting increasingly complicated. On the other hand, some of the concepts this story is built on and around are - as I said - not easy to grasp. I'll say that this one can be enjoyed by younger kids, but will be better savoured by teens and even adults...like me 😉. [...]

NORMAL, SPECIAL, NORMAL

A list of refreshing things about this book:
  1. The characters are not special snowflakes. The are, indeed, smart and valiant and full of heart, because without that, there would be no book. Literally, NO BOOK WHATSOEVER. But they're not "chosen ones". They get scared at times. They figure out things as they go on (though at least one of them is an experienced traveller, but even he doesn't have all the answers). They don't have shining armours (though one of them has a catcher's outfit 😁). The damsel is not in distress, though she gets indeed saved at one point - but she also holds her own and saves her companions when needed.
  2. The same characters talk like normal teens, though some of them might have notions that not every kid their age has. They also act like teens - or at least teens who have to deal with the exceptional circumstances they keep getting thrown into, which might tweak their "teen-ness" just a bit 😉. But they're always relatable and not the adult-in-the-making or superhero-in-disguise type, thank goodness.
  3. As I said, there is indeed an explanation for the multiverse, the switches (yes, there's more than one) and the whole I-who-travels business. It does pose a few questions in turn, but on the whole, it makes sense.
  4. This book is highly quotable, and it was a while since I found one. If you are interested in quotes, please read the last lines of this post.

THE DEVIL IN THE DETAIL

If you look closely, there are a few inconsistencies along the way, though some can probably be explained with the change of environment (that is, universe) - like Mose losing his street kid talk since his first switch. They are never addressed though, just like we only get a glimpse of the alternate universes, and the more twisted they are, the less backstory we get about how they came to be in the first place. Though a certain Nazi-like world doesn't need much brain-raking to figure out, especially these days 😨. Also, the gang is basically asked to risk their life at some point - or ONE of their parallel lives, but still - and I don't like that a tiny bit. And we don't get a solid explanation of how Jemma can be a traveller herself if she never toggled any switch. Other than this, and if you're ready to have your brain scrambled (LOL, don't get scared now), The Switch is a great story that I heartily recommend to young and old alike 👍.

For quotes from this book click here.
For more Multiverse books click here.

4 comments:

  1. I have read those books that are not YA, but not quite MG either, I guess we need a middle thing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! This one might be a little hard to get into because of the science and concepts, but it's a great and clean adventure with a message, so it's suitable.

      Delete
  2. I'm not a huge fan of multiverse but....a few things make this one seem interesting to me.

    The fact that there's a whole cast of characters - instead of it being *couple/romance* focused and that they aren't special snowflakes lol

    For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like time travel, multiverse requires a dose of suspension of disbelief - a HUGE dose sometimes. One either loves the concept or not. But this one has a strong friendship/adventure/coming-of-age angle, plus fleshed-out characters :).

      Delete

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