Review by Dartemis -- One If by Carol B Allen

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Dartemis
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Review by Dartemis -- One If by Carol B Allen

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[Following is a volunteer review of "One If" by Carol B Allen.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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In a parallel world, the planet of Spyridon has succumbed to climate change. With there being hardly any land left to live on, those that remained had to evolve to survive. What came from this natural selection were two new species: the Upperworlders - avian humanoids who live in the clouds above and merfolk-like-beings that inhibit the seas below - the Underworlders. Tension has always been high between the two species ever since the last civil war between the clans. When the Upperworld’s water supply is poisoned, the Underworlders seem likely to be the culprits. However, instead of retaliating, the Sky King decides to enlist an unlikely race from another world to help them find a solution to their problem.

Enter Parker Kittridge, a science student from New York City, who finds herself transported into this other world. She isn’t alone, however, as multiple other humans have been summoned to help fix the Upperworld’s problem. In One If, by Carol B Allen, can this ragtag group of heroes help find a solution, or will they be dragged into another war they didn’t sign up for?

One If was such a disappointment for me. It has an interesting concept for sure, but the main problem that this book has is that everything feels so forced just to make it work. One of the biggest offenders has to be given the choice if the main cast of characters wishes to help or not. They have the option to be sent back to their homes, but they choose to stay. Now that wouldn’t be a problem if the events leading up to that choice influenced the characters to want to help. However, the issue there is no lead up whatsoever. One second they are complaining about wanting to go back home, then for some reason, they want to help when given the choice, and then a few pages later, they want to go home again. That is what the whole book is like, and it is very frustrating. Everyone feels like a robot just doing what they are programmed to do to move the story forward.

If there is one positive I can give this book is the world itself. The world of Spyridon was interesting to me on how each species evolved to be able to survive in it. However, the way this book explained some of that evolution was a bit of a mess. It felt like when the author couldn’t give a rational explanation to the science behind Spyridon, they just said magic and left it at that. In hindsight, it just felt like lazy writing.

Overall, One If is a book that had an interesting concept, but with horrible execution. If it didn’t feel so rushed, I think it could have been enjoyable. However, for me, it wasn’t. For that reason, I’ll give it a 2 out of 4 stars. The only reason it doesn’t get a one is that it had minor grammar and spelling errors, nothing too huge that makes it completely unread, with no profanity either. Because of this, I believe this book will be well suited to pre-teens who would enjoy something a bit more grown-up, but nothing too extreme.

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One If
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