Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: Evolve by Chad Grills

by Chad Grills
YA Dystopian
258 pages

"99.9% of all species go extinct, how will you spend your life?" –Asher Rune 

There are some technological breakthroughs so disruptive that their inventors must remain anonymous. When the identities of two such inventors are uncovered, they’re murdered, but their only son manages to survive. 

Ten years later, Americans lounge in comfort while humanity declines. Technological growth has outpaced evolution, and dangerous new forms of disease and terrorism ravage the globe. Extinction level threats are approaching, but most of humanity is happily addicted to their social streams, Edutains, and personalized prescriptions called Specials. 

On the morning of National C&C Day, sixteen year old Micah Greene is terrified. In just hours, he’ll be forced into a twenty year contract for college and a career, the military, or basic income duty. Micah’s last chance at freedom lies in qualifying as “dark talent” before C&C Day begins. If he does, he’ll be eligible for a mysterious new type of college created by notorious technology billionaire, Asher Rune. 

But everything isn’t as it seems, and being labeled dark talent might not be a path to freedom… it might be a death sentence.


This book was a real treat to read. This dystopian, set in the not so far future, takes a unique twist on society while shoving in tons of intrigue and tension.

The entire thing starts with the main character, Micah, as a little boy. I'll admit I found the writing a bit choppy and simplistic at the start, but hoping it might just have to do with the fact that the character was so young (and the writing was simply reflecting this), continued on. After those first lines, I was hooked and didn't want to put the book down. The writing drew me in and flowed so smoothly that it was no problem to get caught up in Micah's world.

Micah is a very sympathetic young man, whose difficult circumstances guarantee a pull at the heart-strings, and especially when it becomes clear he isn't the type to give in, offers the perfect character to cheer for. His fighting nature is there, but not always clear as day. It's balanced with self-doubt at times as well as a little uncertainty, giving him a very realistic personality. His reactions are understandable, and even when things start to run out of control, he manages to keep somewhat of a level head. He's a great hero through and through.

The other characters in the book are just as interesting as Micah. His two best friends each have their own ticks and the friendship between them isn't something that comes instantly. The growth by working together and learning more about each other strengths and weaknesses made their bond that much more inspiring.

As to tension--this book is packed! It starts off with a grabbing scene and doesn't let go until the very last page. Unlike many stories, the suspense isn't only based on dangerous situations, but the author manages to even make the special tests the characters have to pass so tense that I was dying to know how Micah and his friends would solve their problems. So bonus points to that! There were a few moments toward the end where the story would suddenly flip away from Micah to another character's point of view, which bothered me considering it was only from Micah's stand point up until these pages and the change in perspective wasn't 'announced' by a break of any kind. But this by no means ruined any part of the plot or story.

As is the case with dystopian literature, Evolve takes a critical look at society and conveys a strong message by showing what these 'problems' could lead to. I found the topic very up to date, especially since it targeted the heart of a discussion I've been having with my own teen during the last weeks.

Summed up, this is a great read. The characters are well done, the pace keeps a reader locked in until the last page, and the story has a great twist, which keeps the reader thinking long after the book is laid down. I highly recommend this not only to the YA audience but believe adults will thoroughly enjoy it too.

And here he is. . .

In a past life, I was in the Military. I deployed to Iraq, Egypt, and provided security for the 56th Presidential Inauguration.
After the military, I taught myself UX/UI design and started building and launching apps. My first photo sharing app got a cease and desist letter, and we shut it down. Next, I explored and learned about tech by launching a variety of products including FYIMetric (legal SaaS) and WedMe (lead generation for wedding services). After learning which industries I didn't want to be involved in, I became obsessed with education reform. From there, I launched two educational apps: College Majors and Education Magazine, both of which were featured by Apple. 
Now I'm the editor of the Life Learning publication on Medium and working on a stealth project that will transform "education."

Find out more. . .

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