This book was not what I expected at all. I was expecting the main character Darwin to go on a great science fiction journey in a book full of adventures and discovery. It was not the case at all, and I feel like the synopsis misled my expectations.
My biggest issue with this book was the lack of intrigue through this book. The first 60% of the story consisted on following the main character Darwin, a 16 years old reserved teenage boy affected by a skin condition, vitiligo. We followed him through his every day’s routine at school, with some bullying, and at home, with his loving mother and his complicated relationship with his father. With almost nothing happening during the first 200 pages, it took around 60% of the book for the plot to finally move and by the time it happened, I already had all the clues to understand what would be the big plot twist of this book. The pace got a lot faster after that, but the intrigue still didn’t catch my interest unfortunately.
I often don't mind slow paced stories when it is more character driven, but here, I felt these characters, Darwin, his family, and his friends, lacked depth and development, and while I often felt bad and sad for the main character, I could not get attached to any of them.
The story was well written though, and was flowing nicely so this book was very easy and pleasant to read despite the lack of intrigue. I was however surprised by the lack of worldbuilding, and I think I would have enjoyed the story more if we could have some hints about when the story was set. I deduced that the story was happening in our time, but there wasn't any mention of smartphones in the first 75% of the book and some actions were made by the characters as if the story was happening during the 20th century.
What I enjoyed the most about this book was the topics covered by the author in this story, such as social inequality and discrimination.
“Some people don’t have access to the necessary resources that would help them prosper, even in a free-market system. […] Not everyone can go to college, some simply can’t afford it, and a history of oppression through generations hasn’t allowed them to break out of their socioeconomic status.”