Book Review – Weight of the Worlds by D.B. Greenhalgh

Featured

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?

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RATING

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!

SUMMARY

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.

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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.

SYMBOLISM ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.

–Affinity Numerology

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
  • Humility
  • Inner discipline and grit
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • 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!”
-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?”
-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.”
“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.”
-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.
-Weight of the Worlds, D.B. Greenhalgh-

CONCLUSION

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?

Join 345 other followers

Sincerely, Diyana at The Darilng Exposé

Book Review – Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart is book 1 of 20 in my 2021 reading challenge! Follow me on Goodreads here: <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!

OH MY LANTA

As I type, my mind is still whirring from the Epic ending of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. What a novel!

Brandon Sanderson does it again with an action-packed, mind-bending novel that just won’t quit- but this time with supervillians.

The time it took to finish this 409-page book was 10 hours and 5 minutes. And to be honest, my reading time would have been much less if I hadn’t been so busy when I started it.

Rating

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!

SUMMARY

Steelheart is book one of the Reckoners Series trilogy. From the moment I opened my *Libby app and swiped through the pages, I was in awe of how captivating it was from the first lines. Every single page in this book begged for more- and delivered quite well.
The main character is David, a clever but quirky 18-year-old young man who wants one thing and one thing only: To remember everything and forgive nothing. To remember the fateful day of his father’s passing, and to never forgive the Epic that was the cause of it- Steelheart himself.
In a world where people suddenly become superhumans and a wicked majority choose evil over good, David finds himself fighting for what is right- even if he is one of the only few to do so.
Unexpected and heart-tugging relationships (whether for the best or the worst) weave like a needle and thread throughout the entire story, creating a beautiful and catastrophic masterpiece.

PRAISE AND CRITIQUE

The dystopian universe you’re thrown into in this book is quite astounding- encapsulating any ideas of what normal life used to be. I personally enjoyed every character in the book and even found that their development was very smooth and believable. No uncalled-for jerks in charity or compassion, no sudden turn from friendly to full-on supervillain- although I’m not saying these themes aren’t in the book. Every foreshadow, every hint, is smooth and meaningful and I ate it up. And as expected, Sanderson’s identifiable world making trumps again with vocabulary and phrases that are unique to the book- none overbearing or silly.

My strongest critique would be on the claustrophobia of the action scenes. I’m not going to lie, the action scenes were amazing, but they felt a bit stuffy at times. This is especially because there were many back-to-back action scenes (more than I can count) that came and went so quickly it was hard to keep up. I felt like my eyes couldn’t move fast enough to create a cohesive image in my head. If this is also something you struggle with while reading, comment on your experiences down below!

Main characters – ProtagonisTS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

David: 18 years old. Male. Orphan. He saw Steelheart bleed- the most indestructible, heinous man to live, bled- and he vowed he would see it again. He joins the biggest rebel group known to the new world- the Reckoners- to kill off his and most of Newcago’s biggest enemy. His keen attention to detail is a great aid in their mission.

Megan: Age unknown. Female. She joined the Reckoners just before David and has an odd affinity towards him- often with distaste. She is handy with a handgun and keeps grenades in her top- all to David’s (tentative) fancy.

Prof: Age unknown. Leader of the Reckoners. Talented scientist and strategist of the group and keeps everyone in line. Not much else is known about him.

Cody: Age unknown. Male. One of the Reckoners. Scottish but Australian but Southern…? Cody is an interesting mate. He is a great weaponry man and usually is the humorous relief in the book.

Abraham: Age unknown. Male. One of the Reckoners. Calm and peaceful in any situation. Like to lug around huge and impressive guns. French Canadian.

Tia: Age unknown. Female. Tech expert and brain of the bunch. She gets the Reckoners into hard-to-reach places and accesses hard-to-find information.

Conclusion: I love each character, but I wish we had paid more attention to Abraham and Tia (even without backstories). I often forgot about them in the book and didn’t feel like I could fully appreciate them when they did get their chance.

MAIN CHARACTERS – ANTAGONISTS: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steelheart: Age unknown. Male. The main antagonist of the book and E.V.I.L. His favorite pastime is destroying buildings and instilling pungent fear in the general public with his deathly energy rays. Immune to bullets, fire, radiation, bombs, missiles, acid, drowning, etc.

Nightwielder: Age unknown. Male. Steelheart’s right-hand man. He is a very powerful Epic who can turn the day into night and is behind the reason Newcago is in permanent nighttime. He is totally incorporeal, making him a difficult target.

Firefight: Age unknown. Male. Steelheart’s left-hand man. His power is intense heat and light, often honing a blinding light around his body at all times, often looking like a ball of fire. He can melt bullets as they come at him, making him a hard target to hit as well.

Conflux: Age unknown. Male. An Epic that is one tier below Steelheart’s close knit crew. He is a VERY powerful Epic who has enough strength to power the entire city of Newcago day and night- or night and night.

Conclusion: I LOVE the Epics and each little quirk you learn about them. They have very complex powers and weaknesses that keep you guessing constantly.

World building ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The world in Steelheart isn’t as foreign as we may think it to be with all of the superpowers and literal 180-degree change in the environment. It takes place in a dystopian Chicago. Because the world is under distress from the wicked Epics, the world has morphed quite a bit- physically and especially mentally. The people of Newcago, we read, are afraid of being out of line in the slightest lest a lower or higher Epic decides to put them in their place, mercilessly.

As the antagonists of the book, the Epics vary and come in all shapes and sizes. How fun!
Some have powers of electricity, others of fire, some can turn the day into night and others can see into the future. Every Epic does have a weakness, but they are very hard to pinpoint.

The Reckoners- the brave characters I pointed out above are the only few who would dare stand up to any Epic. It’s almost like hunting down a river snake in the river.
The Reckoners are a a very strong crew, although there only be a handful of them.

There is a lot of reference to weaponry in the book. A lot. I am not too familiar with it, but anyone who geeks over rifles and grenades would really love this book’s keen attention to detail. I didn’t doubt the authenticity of the weaponry at all and didn’t feel out of place in the storyline.

*Also, I would remind you again that the entire city is constantly at night and everything- yes everything- is covered in steel. Try imaging that while you read! It was difficult for me to imagine this at times, but when you really get the hang of it, the book is that much more rewarding.

Conclusion: I love the idea of Newcago, a dystopian city that is familiar yet foreign, but I had a hard time imagining where we really were while reading. I found myself imagining the city not covered in steel and not at nighttime every other chapter. This might not be Brandon Sanderson’s fault, but I for one was having a difficult time feeling completely immersed in the story because of this.

Theme ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The overarching theme of Steelheart is Good vs. Evil. David and the Reckoners are the good and the Epics, the evil. I would also add that the major theme of Good vs. Evil is built upon minor themes such as overcoming barriers and fighting for hope.

Conclusion: These age old themes don’t get old in Steelheart. It is portrayed very cleverly and is a refreshing take.

Quotes and examples

“I’ve seen Steelheart bleed. And I will see him bleed again.”

“She can shoot like a dream and she carries tiny grenades in her top, a bit of my addled mind thought. I think I might be in love.”

“I know, better than anyone else, that there are no heroes coming to save us. There are no good Epics. None of them protect us. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

“Don’t just act because you can; act because it’s the right thing to do. If you keep that in mind, you’ll be all right.”

“But even a ninety-year-old blind priest would stop and stare at this woman. If he weren’t blind, that is. Dumb metaphor, I thought. I’ll have to work on that one. I have trouble with metaphors.”

“What do you trust when your own thoughts and emotions seem to hate you?”

Conclusion

In conclusion, I HIGHLY recommend Steelheart. It has a strong fantasy vein but is quite realistic- and believable (that’s important in books like these).
The moment I picked up the book, I believe I read for about an hour nonstop. This is a true page-turner with plenty of gripping excitement and hilarious dialogue.

Other book suggestions

If you were drawn to gritty survival of those left behind by a catastrophic world, then you would love Gone by Michael Grant! However, if the superhero/power is more of your vibe, then Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman just might be your next favorite book.

I am SO excited to read the second book in the series, Firefight. I have another two weeks before Firefight is available to me on Libby, so until then, I’ll just have to obsess over it with other readers online.

Let me know what you thought of this review! If you’ve read the book, what did you like about the book and why? What did you not like? No spoilers, please!

Thank you and I hope you have a great week!

*Libby is an online reading application, for those of you who don’t know. This saved me during the pandemic! While most library’s are still closed or have very limited options, you can access any book that is in your library. How so, you ask? You only need a library card and you can access all of your favorite books online for free, if they are offered as an ebook! Libby is a 10/10 app for me and I highly recommend.