The cover of this book initially reminded me of Homeward Bound but though this story does focus on three animals’ adventures, it takes a much different approach!
Evolution by Charles Eades
Genre: Science Fiction
Reared in a laboratory and given extraordinary powers, three animals escape into the wild: a fire breathing dog, a mind reading raven, and a cat who can change his size and shape. Gifted with unusual intelligence alongside their abilities, the three try to understand why they were made like this, and to this end they travel to the big city to seek answers. But their creators are still out there, and the animals find themselves hunted by a powerful opponent who will stop at nothing to recapture them.
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So, not quite Homeward Bound 😉 These animals have supernatural abilities as a result of various lab experiments and have now broken out into the world. It’s still a story of survival but the threat of death hangs over every page (so not for children).
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this book! I’m not usually into sci-fi but the plot intrigued me and I wanted to check it out. It does get pretty dark and there’s lots of death, a bit too violent for my tastes, but there are strong messages moving through the book at the same time – providing lots of food for thought.
I know with a fire-breathing dog this next part will sound crazy, but I was struck by how realistic the story felt. Yes, the abilities were wildly inventive and I don’t expect any of this to actually take place (at least not any time soon) but the way the story progressed and the actions the characters took felt believable. I don’t want to go into details because that’ll spoil too much but it felt like it really embraced the sci-fi genre while still existing within the real world, which I guess the best sci-fi does!
I had a bit of difficulty with the main human character as she seemed much older than her years. I understand that with all the chaos that occurs in this book she would need to mature much faster than normal but it still felt awkward with how young she is. Plus there are several uncomfortable sexual connotations that are just not appropriate with a 13-year-old, and I could definitely do without those. The animals are all developed really well though. I was impressed that the grumpy, violent animal of the pack was female – I feel even in animal form that’s usually reserved for a male. I really liked all the animals and their different personalities, even if many of them are dangerous killers!
The book is separated into multiple parts and they are PACKED full. They all tell one story but it’s like there are several tiers to the final climax. It feels almost like a series was condensed into one book but it wasn’t rushed so I’m not sure how the author managed that! Not that I really need to pick a favourite section of the book, but there is a really cool scene near the end (still no spoilers!) that is so worth all the information you’re hit with.
Like most sci-fi books, this one also has a deeper meaning at its core. It ties in with the title and brings into discussion who should benefit from evolution, what its purpose is, and is it possible to control? Sometimes these themes can read as preachy but in this book it flowed well with the action of the story. There are differing perspectives provided and ultimately it’s up to the reader to decide who is right. But the best books are those that leave you with a question or two at the end!
This one’s making my list for fave sci-fi books! Check it out if you’re a fan of sci-fi (or even if you’re not)!
About the Author: Charles Eades has been writing stories since before he could walk. His interests include Doctor Who and Staffordshire bull terriers and he goes running when he isn’t writing, daydreaming, or annoying his siblings. He has published two novels, two short stories, and one play for schools, has released two other short stories to the charity Staffie Support of which he is a patron, and loves writing about himself in the third person (teehee). He’s also written, directed, and acted in a few short films, they weren’t exactly Oscar winners but were fun to make.
Author links: Website
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.