Darwin's Paradox Paperback – Jul 4 2007
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"A stunning example of good storytelling with an excellent setting and cast of characters."- Eric Joel Bresin, Tangent Online (re: Angel's Promises).
"Munteanu asserts her mastery of the sensual SF romantic thriller. An unforgettable read that's immensely alluring, surprising, and heart-throbbing."- Christine Francine Whitcher, Yet Another Book Review Site (re: Collision with Paradise).
"From the start, I was spellbound by Nina Munteanu's perceptive yet unobtrusive writing and the intriguing, breathtaking storyline. The book's gripping atmosphere always felt compellingly real."- Ha Nguyen, All About Romance (re: Collision with Paradise).
"Munteanu presents a very intelligent story, with fantastic world-building...an intriguing tale."- Leigh Rowling, Romantic Times (re: Collision with Paradise).
About the Author
Nina Munteanu is an environmental scientist and internationally published SF writer of short stories and several novels, including "Collision with Paradise" (Liquid Silver Books), nominated for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and "The Cypol" (eXtasy Books), nominated for the Ecata Reviewer's Choice Award. "Darwin's Paradox" is set in Canada's near future Ontario and Quebec.
Top Customer Reviews
In "Darwin's Paradox", Nina Munteanu (author of "Collision with Paradise", and "The Cypol") serves up a dually plotted story that's part novel, part philosophical treatise on the nature of mankind and its inexorable evolution, driven by both natural and man-made pressures. Julie Crane, the central character, is a woman with a complicated and violent past, who must deal with the life she left behind to protect the peaceful existence she enjoys with her family now. As the novel opens, the back story and contemporary plot line are unfolded concurrently, until they eventually collide, and Julie is faced with the struggle of her life against unknown political forces in Icaria-5, her previous home, from which she had to flee as an unfairly labeled murderer and deliberate spreader of Darwin's Disease. She's never sure of who her allies or enemies are as she struggles to free herself from old accusations . . . and neither is her innocent, 12 year old daughter, who naively stumbles into her mother's past.
Looking for a thinking person's novel? Give "Darwin's Paradox" a try.
I am now reading the prequel Angel of Chaos, and enjoying it immensely.
Thank you, Ms. Munteanu I can't wait for your other works to grace my book shelf!!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The main plotline revolves around Julie Crane. According to the history as written, she's the person who started the spread of Darwin's disease. It was meant to be a beneficial virus that would work in conjunction with humans to improve them. But it didn't quite work out that way, and millions died as a result. She was also accused of the murder of a government official, so she took off with her husband and child to live in the wilderness and avoid those who were after her. Unfortunately, she doesn't stay hidden forever, and she's eventually lured back to the city to address the virus' effect on the artificial intelligence entities that run everything. Unless she can kill the AI and the virus, it's thought that the city is doomed to destruction. But Julie has some other ideas and issues she needs to address, including trying to clear her name from all the false charges she's had against her.
Overall, I liked the book. I'm a pushover for a good near-earth cybernovel, and this falls into that realm. The only thing that bugged me was that it look quite awhile before you really understood what Darwin's disease was, why it was considered a failure, and how Julie figured into the mix. Had that been explained a bit more clearly to start, I think I would have spent less time questioning the plot and more time getting immersed in it. Still, having said all that, it's a great work for a first-time novelist (if Amazon's listings are correct). I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another one of Munteanu's books when and if it comes out...
The ideas explored in the novel are also very interesting-- utopian planning, scientific engineering gone wrong, the relationship between man and machine-- rich and fertile subjects. No less interesting for the fact that many have already explored these grounds. Again, the fact that Munteanu has thought these things through is very evident. The thinking is quite solid, and I was both interested in and entertained by her various themes.
The characters were less strong. I had particular issues with Julie, who too often seemed a cypher. She drove the plot. She acted, but I did not have the same belief in her motivations as a person as I did the other characters. I am not sure that I could put my finger on what precisely did not work, but she was in all ways just a little bit too much. Angel (Julie's daughter) is a much more notable success. She was one of the bright spots for me.
It may be that the characters suffered from the tension between the Big Ideas and the more traditional romantic thriller plot. I found Munteanu's voice most authentic talking through the big hard stuff. I was not so interested in the romantic and dramatic subplots, and found that they often felt a little bit thrown in on top. The book could have stood (and stood better, IMO) without most of them. I had the feeling that as readers we were not trusted to like the book for its world building alone. Too bad, since I certainly would have done.
In any case, a really interesting first novel. None of the flaws would be likely to keep me from reading a second. Three and a half stars.
Okay, and that would be Julie Crane, who we first see out in the wilds with her boyfriend Daniel and her preteen daughter Angel. Soon events conspire to lure Julie back to the city, where she's considered a murderess for having spread, 12 years before, the "Darwin" virus (she didn't), a perfect exemplar of the law of unintended consequences. This opening sequence, although beautifully written, somehow feels rather rushed. You may well think this is a sequel (it isn't), as past events are tossed off in a sentence or two, and you'll maybe go a little buggy trying to remember who all these people are--especially since you don't ever get to meet many of them.
But when the story gets going, and divides into multiple points of view, things jell into a neat noir thriller as Julie tries to keep her head above water, and outwit her minders (some of them want to use her; others want to abuse her).
The characters Julie meets in the city are compelling. They're all flawed, some more than others, and there are no clear heroes, no clear villians (even the worst of them have a redeeming quality or two).
Ms. Munteanu's a fine wordsmith, and keeps this part of the tale moving along beautifully, but when she segues on into the resolution she bogs down. You'll be amazed when, presumably after everything has been wrapped up, there are still 50 or so more pages before you. There should have been perhaps half that many. All in all, however, this is a fine novel and one I can recommend.
Full disclosure: The author, an "Amazon Friend," asked me to review this book, and I am happy to do so.
Darwin's Paradox is a fascinating look into the future where man ceases his attempt to subjugate nature, while embracing its ability to adapt.