Thank you to Netgalley and Curiosity Quills Press for an early edition of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The Switch by A.W. Hill and Nathaneal Hill is about a switch; a switch that when used will allow the user to travel into different versions of their own universe. The young protagonist in the story, Jacobus Rose, is unhappy with his teenage life. He wants things to change. With the help of his friend, Connor, they flick a switch and begin their search for a new life. Little do they know how difficult and dangerous this will be. Meeting with more friends and banding together to form a motley crew, the reader follows Jacobus and his friends as they try to get back to their original lives, away from the chaos they find themselves in.
I really wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to like this book and I am shocked I did not. I searched other people’s reviews and they are largely positive so I have no idea why I am one of the minority there. I thought the premise of the novel was intriguing and despite not being a fan of sci-fi, I thought I would read this and review. Unfortunately, my experience with this novel has proved that I am probably never going to be interested in sci-fi so I apologise to any sci-fi fans out there.
First of all, the writing divided me. On one hand, the authors are experts at setting the scene. Their descriptions were unique and artful all at once. I could see each universe vividly with no gaps in my knowledge. The post-apocalyptic universes that Jacobus and his friends find themselves stuck in were the best described and I actually wish the whole book could have been set in those interesting universes. However, the authors are not always artful. They fail in their writing in some parts. Some of the scientific ‘mumbo-jumbo’ was far too convoluted. I understand if you are a sci-fi fan and are used to reading about alternate realities, traveling, multiverses, etc, but as someone choosing this as one of their rare sci-fi picks, I felt lost and excluded from the conversation. I had to stop several times and go back a few pages to figure out what on earth was being said. I still think I missed quite a lot. I feel that things could have been simplified as I felt there was quite a bit of repetition and some questions asked or answers given seemed misplaced and as if they were not necessary.
I did find a few positives to this novel.
1.The plot is so unique. The flick of a switch can transport you to a completely different universe, where you may never have been born or could have been born into a different family or different time. It’s very interesting. I have never heard of anything similar and that is what pulled me in. I would definitely give the book 5 stars for individuality.
2. The characters are great. There are 4-5 members of the motley crew and each have an interesting back story and have a unique bond with each other. All of the characters are likeable and you want to get to know them further, and the reader roots for these characters to find their way back to their original world. There is a small bit of romance as well as great bonding movements throughout which is something I like to see in a young adult novel. It was definitely a redeeming factor in a disappointing novel (in my opinion).
Okay so the part you have all been waiting for, why is this so disappointing? I just feel it is so convoluted in places. Not only do you have to read a couple of pages of multiverse or alternate reality talk and still have to go back and read it again to fully understand, but also the characters switch to so many different universes that you do not actually get a moment to enjoy and appreciate the places the authors are creating. The ‘hive’ post-apocalyptic world could have been discussed for half of the novel and it would have still packed the punch that the authors were looking for but you get a few chapters in this universe and then you are onto another one. Some of the universes were a snooze-fest and I am not going to lie, I used this book a lot as a ‘I am struggling to sleep, this will do the trick’ and you know you are not happy with the book when you cannot keep your eyes open reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I was reading page after page in some parts and was so involved in it but then it would take a boring turn and I’d be gone again.
I do not really have much more that I can say about the novel. Whilst reading it, I was dreading the review process because I did not know what to say or how I could say it. I am actually disappointed in my own review as I just feel I could shrug my shoulders at the book. So I am very sorry for a shoddy review but it definitely reflects my feelings.
My next review will definitely be more interesting (and well-written) as I am going to dive back into the genres that I love and can ramble on for days about!
Thank you again to Netgalley and Curiosity Quills for the early copy and I am sorry it did not work out.
I give this book a generous 2 stars based on the fact I liked the characters and the idea.