This was my second goodreads giveaway win.
Here is the thing about this book. I understand that when a book is independently published the writing may not be quite as edited as one published through a more traditional route, but I have read many independently published books and not had a problem with the writing. This however, was a different story. Or should I say a… different story. Just like the last sentence, there were so many oddly placed ellipses and emphasized words that it really affected my reading experience. I feel a bit harsh saying that, and I’m not claiming that the writing process is easy, but I feel like it is not possible that I was the only one who was bothered by this. It was so unnatural and did not really seem to make sense for what the characters were trying to say.
Speaking of which, the characters really bothered me as well. I never really got a sense for who they were and the way they acted seemed very inconsistent. For example, at one point in the story, Alina agrees with a statement saying that there is no point studying Biology “When you can just be alive.” However, just a little later on, she is completely engrossed in what seems to be something resembling a Biology lecture. In similar ways, William Warrick was very formal at times and at others not at all.
Grant’s character bothered me the most out of everyone’s, however. Not even because of the inconsistencies, but because of how genuinely rude and arrogant he was as a person. This would be alright if it was addressed, but anytime Grant said or did anything that seemed wrong, it was completely brushed aside, and in fact treated as if it was him growing up and becoming a “strong character.” Having convictions is all well and good, but there is a difference between confidence and arrogance.
Grant leaves home and joins a secret society, completely ignoring the fact that his mother would be worried about him after he disappears for over 24 hours. When he does return home, he doesn’t honestly seem that remorseful, and the problem is, his mother isn’t even all that upset about it. Yes, she is halfheartedly feigns disappointment for about 5 minutes, but she soon is happy to go with her son to the park, mall, or wherever else, no questions asked. She also automatically believes Grant’s allegations about where he was the day before because a stranger told her to “mother to mother,” despite the fact that she had no intention of doing so just a few minutes earlier. And the part that bothered me the most was that when she refused, in no uncertain terms, her son’s request to live in Cent, but after Grant callously stated that he was doing what he wanted and she “needed to respect his decision,” his mother just cried and told him how proud she was of him. I don’t know how anyone could possibly justify the amount of disrespect it takes for a son to ignore his mother, who has raised him alone, and is telling you that you can’t move out (a fairly reasonable response at 16), that you don’t care. I am 16, so I feel justified to say this is just wrong. Even more than that, this wasn’t condemned, but rather celebrated, and I simply could not understand why.
While Grant’s relationship with his mother was awful, I was also appalled by the way that he acted towards William Warrick and the other authority figures. On his first day in a secret society at the center of the earth, he just wanders down a hallway despite repeatedly being told not to and isn’t reprimanded for it all? He isn’t even doing it secretly, but openly disobeying as he is being told not to wander off. That doesn’t make sense to me.
That also leads into the implausibly of the whole thing. Is it really possible that in the over 100 years that William Warrick has lived he has never bothered to walk around and realize that one of the most important monuments in his society is just a replica, and the real one is kept in a building where he works all the time? And it isn’t exactly “safely hidden” there if anyone can just walk in is it? Also, the fact that the city is very literally inside the center of the earth is barely explained except to say that it is spinning fast, which hardly accounts for the lethal temperature and pressure differences. These are small things but they add up to a highly confusing narrative.
There are other things here, but I do not want to keep nitpicking because I know that nothing is perfect. Despite the fact that I didn’t personally enjoy this book there seem to be a lot of people who did.
Thank you to the author for the free copy through goodreads giveaways.