Weight of the Worlds is book 6 of 20 in my 2021 reading challenge! Follow me on Goodreads at <https://www.goodreads.com/diyanalovesbooks\> and we can strengthen each other! Make sure to message me in case I miss the first notification! Let’s do this!
OKAY… The huge project I have to take on with this novel is insane. There is so much I want to touch on but so little time. Hold on while I just, 100, 97, 94, 91…
…I was NOT expecting this wild ride of a novel this early in the year. Weight of the Worlds is a sci-fi, fantasy novel great for teens and young adults that was so magnetic, I managed to read 80 pages in one day. During work. I work at a call center, by the way, so think about that.
D.B. Greenhalgh (in IPA that’s ‘Green•hall‘) is a newly published author with tons of experience and knowledge under his belt, making this debut novel a treat. I couldn’t be more excited to see where his career takes him.
The time it took to finish this 384 page book was 3 months according to Goodreads, but actually 1 month according to real time. I started March 11 and didn’t read it until May 1st… I got busy, okay?
Let’s start off with a rating. My rating of this book is: 4.5 ⭐
Below I will rate each category with stars next to the heading. This will give you a non-complicated idea of why I gave the book its overall rating.
Without further ado, let’s go!
Weight of the Worlds is a 5 book series. In comparison to my last book review, I was lucky enough to get a physical copy of a book I planned to review, gleefully placing me back in my comfort bubble of book glue, bent pages, and soft, soft covers. Although I love *Libby as my COVID/lazy friendly alternative, I will always love to hold my stories.
As enraptured as I am over the first novel, I think it’s positive to say that D.B. Greenhalgh’s debut novel was a great start to what I think will be an amazing next few years.
Like my fancy vocabulary? There’s plenty more where that came from Weight of the Worlds. There were so many words I didn’t know that I needed to pause, learn the definition, context, and grammatical use before moving on.
This intergalactic epic revolves around an intuitive and clever Atlas, a 14 year old boy who is surprisingly able to hold his own after being kidnapped by aliens just after his 14th birthday along with 14 other children his age. They were taken to fulfill a prophecy, obtain the Celestial Sphere, an extremely powerful tool of massive power, before anyone else does. However, can these young and inexperienced teens face the odds of fighting an entire universe to obtain the Celestial Sphere?
PRAISE AND CRITIQUE
Alright, so. The. Story. Line.
Weight of the Worlds blended so incredibly well. The story not only flowed, but ebbed and flowed, allowing some setbacks and casualties to what could have been a very familiar plotline.
With a plotline like this- young Philadelphians (Earthlings) with a mission to save the worlds in space- it’s easy to assume you know how it’s all going to play out. I thought I had a few predictions that would be easy to untangle as the story progressed, but boy, was I wrong. Greenhalgh really put some deep thought into this book series, and it shows.
There was plenty of unexpected plot development found in the book that progressed at a consistent pace.
I honestly can’t tell you if I ever felt a lag in the storyline. I was busy enough trying to catch up with the constant changes in drastic scenery.
One thing that I was very happy to see, was that instead of allowing the characters to get out of hairy situations unscathed, Greenhalgh almost always orchestrated an opportunity for our protagonists to suffer a setback. I really don’t like when authors write a story that is 2 dimensional- like an arrow that only goes straight. Weight of the Worlds really took you down some interesting roads that were not predictable in the slightest (at least, by my standards) but still interesting and unique, and come to find, desired.
I was pleased to find the dialogue plausible, with a balanced back and forth between characters. However, when you aren’t as focused as you could be while reading, the dialogue can seem choppy and sometimes robotic and unrelatable (for example, if you were doing calls while reading). A lot of phrases such as, “I cannot” and “Of course, sir.” were used, which didn’t always seem to fit the age and experience of the young characters or even the older characters.
Even so, when you really immerse yourself in the novel and read it in an environment that allows you to create your own world, the dialogue will be spectacular to experience. I highly recommend making the space and time this novel deserves to be truly enjoyed in.
And last but not least, lack of sappy romance. Yet another quality I really enjoyed about this novel. The fact that romance is not the main vein in what is obviously a YA novel is AMAZING TO ME. I love YA books that show that life isn’t always meaningful or full of life when it’s all about romance, all the time, in every circumstance. These characters are self- motivated and strong. I’ll talk more about this in the Themes: Social and Moral section below.
MAIN CHARACTERS – PROTAGONISTS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Atlas: 14 years old. Male. Philadelphian. Beta Squad leader. Last of the fifteen 14 year olds to be kidnapped and arrive on Titan. Will bite you if you fall out of line. Clever, insightful, and a natural leader. Likes to count down from 100 in threes when under stress.
Pallas: 14 years old. Female. Philadelphian. Keen and observant. She saw something in Atlas before anyone else did. Loyal. Doesn’t really have a favorite food and has extraordinarily beautiful curls.
Homer: 14 years old. Male. Philadelphian. Goofy and loveable. Fiery red hair and lanky to boot. A good friend to pretty much anyone and is a loyal friend. Ajax’s certified gym buddy.
Arete/Reedy: 14 years old. Female. Philadelphian. Moral and logical. Extremely adept to patience and thoughtful behavior. Not a huge fan of Atlas, but tolerates him. Loves to feel strong.
Ajax: 14 years old. Male. Philadelphian. Strong and sturdy. Close friends with Reedy, as they knew each other before any of this craziness happened. Homer’s certified gym coach. Voice of reason at times.
Oliver: 14 years old. Male. Philadelphian. Alpha Squad leader. Has a bit of a temper. His
lackeys friends are extremely loyal to him and strongly support his destiny to save the universe. Knew Pallas somewhat before all of this craziness happened.
Pheobe: 14 years old. Female. Philadelphian. Pretty annoying, but knows it all. Gets along with… some of the crew. Honestly, kind of the brains of the operation.
Conclusion: Our protagonists are quirky and lively characters. They were once again, not 2 dimensional at all. It was fun to hear their thoughts and unique standpoints (especially Reedy’s) within important situations that were brought up. They are well-rounded characters.
As Atlas is the main character of the series, I find it important that he was such an extremely personable main character. I enjoyed the internal dialogue from him and the slow progression you see in his mindset throughout the story, and yet, he always remained familiar to who he has always been. The other characters were also really fun to see “grow up”. The relatable and not-so-relatable burdens placed on them that stretched and grew them in new ways were cool to experience and reflect on.
An example of these burdens is feeling responsible for the safety or even salvation of others (a caretaker, to a parent, to a teacher, to a boss, and even a friend).
MAIN CHARACTERS – ANTAGONISTS ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Olympians: In this Galaxy, the Olympians are at war with the Vitrians, the Thebans, the Titans, and much more, pronouncing violence on anyone that will succumb to their oppression or show them where the Celestial Sphere is.
Styx: ??? years old. Female. The Olympian assassin charged to destroy the fifteen prophesied Philadelphians and prevent the anyone else from obtaining the Celestial Sphere, and ultimate power.
Apollos: ??? years old. Male. A perverse slave owner and seriously, the worst guy ever.
The Celestial Sphere: This may be somewhat of an odd choice of the highly sought after, omnipotent object everyone is seeking after in this novel, but I feel like this Sphere was actually the motivation behind too much anger, hatred, bloodshed, and broken relationships. Just read the book, you’ll see what I mean.
Conclusion: The antagonists in this book were so gross, I couldn’t stand it and loved it. Whenever any one of them was involved in a scene, I just knew I was going to be internally screaming and shouting my favorite characters on. That’s some good writing.
D.B. Greenhalgh did an impeccable job creating despairingly, despicable adversaries.
I wish there was a little more relativity in the antagonists, like their backstories (at least, one backstory)- their ‘sentient human’ side, basically. I do acknowledge, though, that this is only book 1 of 5. There is plenty more to learn about these bad guys.
The 14 Years: Without giving away too much, I will say that the numbers of these children is very interesting to me. According to Affinity Numerology, the number 14 can mean the following:
With a 14 birth date number (the life path number of a numerology chart), it means the events and circumstances of the person’s life tends to have a preponderance of changing life circumstances — travel, meeting new people, and being exposed to new ideas.
Each of the 15 14 year olds definitely finds themselves in a very important, very life changing circumstance that carries a ton of weight.
The Olympians, Titans, Thebans, etc.: There is definitely a lot of Greek mythology references in Weight of the Worlds that I believe mythology fans will really love to discover. The relations between these planets and aliens is fun to think about, especially when you throw in the names of the characters as well, like Styx, Apollo, and even Atlas.
Alpha, Beta, Gamma: I want to explain this one so bad, but just look up the meanings of these three Greek letters and the mystery shall be unveiled to you over time~
I know that there is so much more I’m missing, considering how much research D.B. Greenhalgh seems to have made for this series. So, keep an eye out and feel free to reach out to me what you find!!
THEMES: SOCIAL AND MORAL ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
There are a plenty of moral and social themes in Weight of the Worlds.
Amongst a majority of the characters, Reedy outstandingly portrayed the characteristics of feminism and social justice, self mastery, and speaking up for ones self. She was almost an incarnate for some of these themes.
There were so many times when the characters would just stop and have a moral discussion with one another that I myself had been pondering, bringing me to awe and wonder how well D.B. Greenhalgh knew these subjects himself. I also love how he portrayed these fictitious14 year olds were as intelligent. They taught me some things that probably wouldn’t have penetrated my bear trap-like-brain in any other way.
I also LOVED how so many characters were women. Strong women. The Thebans, the Philadelphians, to the antagonistic assassin… So much knowledge, so much strength, so much purity, and more was shown through the women of this novel. It was great to see those strong examples of women who were sure of themselves. Or women who were just incredibly intellectual. Even the damsels in distress weren’t distressing! It was all very refreshing.
I could scan and scan and scan this book for more social and moral themes, but since that would require me to scour every chapter, I’ll leave you with a short list instead:
- Gender equality
- What is good and what is evil
- The value of life and people
- Loving those who you oppose or disagree with/acceptance of differences
- Inner discipline and grit
- Racial equality
- The value of knowledge and consistent growth
Just to name a few…
GALAXY BUILDING ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This truly felt like a galaxy was being built around me. The worlds Greenhalgh created and wove into one another were unique, to say the least, however, familiar enough to enjoy. From farmlands to advanced tech buildings, to lavish homes and gritty undergrounds, this novel has it all.
I was happy with the interesting touches here and there of sentient (alien) cultures, planets, characteristics, and foods. The details were just enough and placed just right to taste like a balanced meal. From slimy green oatmeal, to physical traits that appear (or disappear) when a certain emotion is felt, was just so cool! I really loved those little details. Not only were they great to observe as a writer, myself, but it made me feel like I was also apart of this crazy galaxy 9,000 lightyears away.
There were also some satisfying action scenes with heavy duty and clear imagery with educational weaponry. I know what melee means, now. And as for alien weaponry, those were explained well, too, so when something went down, it was easy to imagine.
The textures, color schemes, and imagery were very unique and very tied to this series. I don’t recall ever coming across a world with imagery such as this. It sticks to your mind and serves as a perfect backdrop to the characters mulling and acting about in the forefront of your mind. Some planets were absolutely beautiful.
I was also a fan of the humor that lightened up the mood well and shed some light on a blanketed and moderately serious story.
QUOTES AND EXAMPLES
“The Academy?” Atlas asked with his mouth full. “That’s another thing you keep saying that I hope the translator gets wrong. I’m abducted from my home and taken 9,000 light-years away from my family and then I’m forced to attend a snooty school? That’s just my luck!”Tweet
-Weight of the Worlds, D.B. Greenhalgh-
“I never said I was better than you. I said we were not equal… I love you, Reedy. Is not that better?”Tweet
-Weight of the Worlds, D.B. Greenhalgh-
“There you two are.” Homer came barreling up to them. “You have to be my partner, Atlas. I’m going to be murdered if I have to spar with any of the other boys.”Tweet
“But you’re so much taller than me.’
“Yeah, but I’m weak. Like, so…so weak.”
“We’re fourteen years old,” said Atlas. “Compared to Titans, we’re all weak.”
-Weight of the Worlds, D.B. Greenhalgh-
Zhehera lifted his chin again. “All who fall into such circumstances as ours bear a heavy burden. That mine is unique from yours does not diminish the weight of either.”Tweet
-Weight of the Worlds, D.B. Greenhalgh-
Atlas tried to stand up. His stomach heaved violently and he almost lost his breakfast. The only thing worse than swallowing that green stuff is having to swallow it again, he thought.Tweet
-Weight of the Worlds, D.B. Greenhalgh-
I thoroughly enjoyed D.B. Greenhalgh’s debut novel through and through. It really felt like a journey I was on, with wild turns and revealing clarity. Even as a 23 year old, I learned a lot. I can’t imagine what it would teach the younger generations as well.
And the vocabulary is just, amazing in this novel. It’s great for YA who want to expand their minds and build their vocabulary. The way that Greenhalgh used the words in this book to create the specific story he did, is nothing short of inspiring. I found myself whisked away in a galaxy far, far away, that I frankly would have liked to experience myself. Well, except for the assassin part.
I loved the imagery in this so much and how the story flowed so incredibly well.
I’m sure I’m sounding a bit repetitive, but for a debut novel, this is SO worth it. So worth the read, and SO worth a signed copy of. And as far as I’m concerned, you can only buy a signed copy of the book here and only here at D.B. Greenhalgh’s website.
Just as a word of caution, if you are a parent or teacher reading this review and are considering sharing this, just be aware that there is some mild language in the novel as well as mild graphic violence and themes (none shown too often).
OTHER BOOK SUGGESTIONS
Ender’s Game was definitely a common thought I had while reading Weight of the Worlds. Although, the only common themes they have are those of child protagonists with a mission and intergalactic space travel.
Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures by Stephen Fry is a quirky, fun take on Greek mythology tales that we all know and love. (Aren’t you glad I didn’t recommend Percy Jackson?)
Thank you SO MUCH for reading all the way through. It was really fun to look back and break down what I digested from Weight of the Worlds. As always, please support the author by giving them a follow, and buying/renting their book! You can find D.B. Greenhalgh’s website here.
I can’t wait for book number two in the series to come out! What are you most looking forward to in Weight of the Worlds?
Sincerely, Diyana at The Darilng Exposé