Thursday, July 21, 2011
Review: Darwin’s Children, by Natasha Larry
Life can get pretty complicated for any seventeen-year-old girl, but for a home-schooled telepathic black girl trying to survive in a prestigious private school in small-town Jonesborough, Tennessee, it can be maddening; especially when her telepathic father keeps eavesdropping on her thoughts!
Jaycie Lerner’s family isn’t the usual mom-dad-kid setup. Jaycie’s mom is MIA, but Allison, her personal live-in trainer, is more than a mom, with her own special abilities, like being able to lift cars and run incredibly fast. And Jaycie’s godfather John is more than persuasive; he can literally convince anyone to do anything.
As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Jaycie is on the outside looking in. The townsfolk love Jaycie’s pediatrician father, but she doesn’t fit in with normal kids, and she doesn’t really want to. Most of her free time is spent training to keep her telekinetic and telepathic powers under control. But there’s one thing she can’t control and that’s her feelings, especially when her best friend Matt is nearby. If only he knew what she was truly capable of...
Everything seems to be status quo for Jaycie until she receives a cryptic message from a stranger and meets a very unusual girl new to Jonesborough. Then all hell breaks loose! (From GoodReads)
The synopsis for Darwin’s Children was a real attention-getter for me. As you may expect from the title, the premise behind the abilities exhibited by Jaycie and her family is evolution. As humans evolve, they are able to access parts of the brain previously unused. According to Jaycie’s father, Mason, “Evolution is nature’s tool to ensure the survival of the species”. All supernatural beings (vampires, slayers, werewolves) and those with supernatural abilites (telepaths, empaths, telekenesis) are the result of evolution. Their world is all about the balance of good and evil.
Darwin’s Children has winsome characters that made me like them instantly. Jaycie was smart, brave and funny. She was also a little petulant and whiny, just like any good seventeen year old! She wants to have normal teenage experiences, but it’s almost impossible as a telepath. She can barely control her mind or her body. Every time she and her best friend Matt try to take their relationship to the next level, she is likely to shatter a window with her “vibrations”. Allison, Jaycie’s nanny/trainer is a 90 year-old woman, with the body of a 20 year-old. Mason and John, Jaycie’s father and godfather are the heads of their group. Mason is lovingly devoted to his daughter, but not above eavesdropping on her thoughts. John is a second father to Jaycie and spends his time devoted to finding and researching others like them. The character of Haylee was the wildcard for me. I just never could fully like her or trust her. Haylee is an outsider like Jaycie, with extra abilities of her own, but unwilling to open up to help from Jaycie. Haylee has some dark, dark secrets. I found her storyline really disturbing, hard to read.
Darwin’s Children is a layered, smart and complicated story. I really enjoyed the intelligence that was undoubtedly at work writing this book. Darwin’s Children was a book thoroughly unlike anything I’ve read before. Sure, I’ve read books about humans with super abilities, but none with so much thought, creativity and explanation behind the abilities. Although I have to admit, I got a bit lost in the explanations, especially at the end of the book. But I will definitely give the sequel a try.
You can learn more about Darwin’s Children at GoodReads.
*I received Darwin’s Children from the author, in exchange for an honest review. *