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Dark Theory (Dark Law, #1)

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A robot yearns to remember. A thief struggles to forget. A galaxy on the verge of collapse. On the fringe of a broken civilization, a robot awakens with no memories and only one directive: find his creator. But in the village of Korthe, Beetro finds only radioactive pestilence, famine, and Miree—a tormented thief with dreams of retiring after her final score. Meanwhile, the A robot yearns to remember. A thief struggles to forget. A galaxy on the verge of collapse. On the fringe of a broken civilization, a robot awakens with no memories and only one directive: find his creator. But in the village of Korthe, Beetro finds only radioactive pestilence, famine, and Miree—a tormented thief with dreams of retiring after her final score. Meanwhile, the fiefdom is plunged further into chaos when a new warlord seizes control, recasting serfs as refugees and leaving derelict robot peasants in his wake. With a shared interest in survival, Beetro and Miree team up to pull off an impossible castle heist: steal a single flake of dark matter, the world’s most valuable and mysterious ore. But as they trek through the feudal wasteland in search of answers, they realize the true extent of the chaos surrounding them: the stars are disappearing from the sky and the entire galaxy is unraveling. As he uncovers his origin, Beetro discovers he may be the key to the salvation of the cosmos—or its destruction. Time, space, and loyalty become relative as he learns the real reason he was created. A mind-bending science fiction epic with the bones of a fantasy traveling quest, Dark Theory unfolds through a journey of betrayal, identity, and unlikely friendships in a world of darkness set at the edge of space and time.


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A robot yearns to remember. A thief struggles to forget. A galaxy on the verge of collapse. On the fringe of a broken civilization, a robot awakens with no memories and only one directive: find his creator. But in the village of Korthe, Beetro finds only radioactive pestilence, famine, and Miree—a tormented thief with dreams of retiring after her final score. Meanwhile, the A robot yearns to remember. A thief struggles to forget. A galaxy on the verge of collapse. On the fringe of a broken civilization, a robot awakens with no memories and only one directive: find his creator. But in the village of Korthe, Beetro finds only radioactive pestilence, famine, and Miree—a tormented thief with dreams of retiring after her final score. Meanwhile, the fiefdom is plunged further into chaos when a new warlord seizes control, recasting serfs as refugees and leaving derelict robot peasants in his wake. With a shared interest in survival, Beetro and Miree team up to pull off an impossible castle heist: steal a single flake of dark matter, the world’s most valuable and mysterious ore. But as they trek through the feudal wasteland in search of answers, they realize the true extent of the chaos surrounding them: the stars are disappearing from the sky and the entire galaxy is unraveling. As he uncovers his origin, Beetro discovers he may be the key to the salvation of the cosmos—or its destruction. Time, space, and loyalty become relative as he learns the real reason he was created. A mind-bending science fiction epic with the bones of a fantasy traveling quest, Dark Theory unfolds through a journey of betrayal, identity, and unlikely friendships in a world of darkness set at the edge of space and time.

30 review for Dark Theory (Dark Law, #1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    4.5 Stars- This book blew my mind!! The author definitely knows how to write some damn good sci-fi! I loved these characters! We have a few different people and ish that play very important parts in the book. The way they come together and weave into each other’s lives is so cool! And, the most important part is that I followed along with the book just fine. I usually get confused but I pretty much knew every crazy thing that was going on. There are some gruesome parts but it’s still good. Miree 4.5 Stars- This book blew my mind!! The author definitely knows how to write some damn good sci-fi! I loved these characters! We have a few different people and ish that play very important parts in the book. The way they come together and weave into each other’s lives is so cool! And, the most important part is that I followed along with the book just fine. I usually get confused but I pretty much knew every crazy thing that was going on. There are some gruesome parts but it’s still good. Miree in particular is a very strong female character. You don’t always like her but eventually……. and the stuff she goes through will make you cringe. I love the all of them. The majority of them have issues in one way or another but they have some messed up circumstances! And the things that happen on the earth gives me the creeps as something crazy like that could really happen. Anyhoo, I loved it and look forward to the next books!! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot.... AMAZON REVIEW: https://www.amazon.com/review/R3MUOQC...

  2. 4 out of 5

    TXGAL1

    WHOA…stop the presses! Are you a fan of science fiction? If so, DARK THEORY by Wick Welker is a 5 star MUST READ adventure. Our story opens in the distant future with Lucindi and Miree scavenging through a pile of discards for anything of value to sell so that they can eat. Their immediate surroundings are dry, dusty and somewhat poisioned. Lucindi, a giver, and Miree, a taker, are partners for mutually beneficial reasons. Why are things the way they are? Can Lucindi and Miree individually affect WHOA…stop the presses! Are you a fan of science fiction? If so, DARK THEORY by Wick Welker is a 5 star MUST READ adventure. Our story opens in the distant future with Lucindi and Miree scavenging through a pile of discards for anything of value to sell so that they can eat. Their immediate surroundings are dry, dusty and somewhat poisioned. Lucindi, a giver, and Miree, a taker, are partners for mutually beneficial reasons. Why are things the way they are? Can Lucindi and Miree individually affect change? Will those they interact with be better for knowing them? What happens when they find a discarded robot? What is its purpose? DARK THEORY takes us on an accelerated journey to answer these and other questions that evolve. Some moments will be disturbing and graphic but each step on the journey will lead us to the penultimate and staggering surprise at the end of the scientific quest. It is mind-bending. My thanks to Wick Welker for my copy of his eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wick Welker

    4/17/22: Launch day! Available in ebook, paperback and beautiful hardback. Thanks! 4/15/22: Got a little Goodreads giveaway going on in preparation for launch. Sign up for a free ebook of Dark Theory. Launch day 4/17/22! 4/3/22: Putting the final touches for launch day coming 4/17/22! 2/20/21: I want to thank everyone who has read and reviewed Dark Theory ARC. I think the initial reception seems pretty positive. I'll be putting the finishing touches in the next 2 months and it will be available for eb 4/17/22: Launch day! Available in ebook, paperback and beautiful hardback. Thanks! 4/15/22: Got a little Goodreads giveaway going on in preparation for launch. Sign up for a free ebook of Dark Theory. Launch day 4/17/22! 4/3/22: Putting the final touches for launch day coming 4/17/22! 2/20/21: I want to thank everyone who has read and reviewed Dark Theory ARC. I think the initial reception seems pretty positive. I'll be putting the finishing touches in the next 2 months and it will be available for ebook, paperback and hardback on April 17, 2022. It's still available on NetGalley. Thanks! 10/19/21: Dark Theory is my 5th published novel and represents the best thing I've ever produced. It is epic sci fi but has the bones of a fantasy traveling adventure. ARC copies will be available soon on NetGalley and I'll be sending ARC ebook love notes to my favorite reviewers and Goodreads pals. (If you're my Goodreads friend and I don't reach out to you, just message me if you're interested in an ARC ebook copy). Because this is a pretty long book, the ARC time period is 6 months! I absolutely love this book and I hope ya'll do to. It has my favorite character I've ever written (and no, it's not Beetro).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Perez

    4/5 stars. Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest view. And the ARC is CHONKY! This was a massive feat and quite the journey. Dark Theory takes place in the far future, a very far future where our Earth has fallen into social, environmental, and astronomical disarray. A robot named Beetro awakes in a junkyard and is taken in by two women named Lucindi and Miree. At the same time, a young girl in the same town as our robot and his awakeners named Ribcage struggles to eat daily, bu 4/5 stars. Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest view. And the ARC is CHONKY! This was a massive feat and quite the journey. Dark Theory takes place in the far future, a very far future where our Earth has fallen into social, environmental, and astronomical disarray. A robot named Beetro awakes in a junkyard and is taken in by two women named Lucindi and Miree. At the same time, a young girl in the same town as our robot and his awakeners named Ribcage struggles to eat daily, but her timing-bending teleporting powers give her some aid. In another part of the world, Arym, a young man from a society that lives undergrown and are all clones of one man, wants to escape the confines of his daily life and live in the world above. Two things change everyone's lives: a power-crazed general trying to conquer what remains of the world and the fact that the galaxy, or possibly the entire universe, is going through some sort of flux making the Earth even less hospitable. Soon, that general comes and kills Lucindi, setting Beetro, Miree, and Ribcage off on their own journey to both recover Beetro's past and purpose and for Miree to make a mountain of coin. Meanwhile, Arym meets someone interesting who will change his view on the world forever. Wick Welker's Refraction was a gem of hard science fiction, however Dark Theory has become his next ambitious story. And it's not a gem, but a temple for physics and astronomy-based science fiction. Now, that temple isn't perfect. It's got some cracks and blemishes in some places, but overall that temple still stands massively and elegantly. I want to go ahead and this out of the way: the biggest problem with Dark Theory is that it needs some line edits. Now do remember that I have an ARC, hopefully Welker and/or a line editor has or is catching these errors and has or is fixing them before the final release date. There's a few misspelled words here and there; I can't remember everything but I remember one sentence said "Ribcage huge the horse" or something like that. I'm certain "huge" is supposed to be "hug". There's also one sentence where part of it has been tabbed down into the next paragraph. And also there needs to be some commas before the non-name identifiers (I don't know the proper word here) of characters. Like at the end when Ribcage says to Miree: "Well let's go get your castle your majesty," there should be a comma before "your majesty." I hope it doesn't sound like I'm nitpicking, because I'm not. They were errors I noticed and it doesn't ruin the story or its themes, but they're noticeable. Okay, that aside, let's talk about the characters and their arcs. Our four central characters go through A LOT, some more than others. This is something I really enjoyed about the book and things that I feel are missing from a lot of recent sci-fi and fantasy books. The journey. No, not necessarily the hero's journey, but the journey from one place to another, and maybe back again. I won't spoil the ending, but I felt like so much was done between it and the beginning. Miree is probably the character who goes through the most, and she is probably the character I have the most thoughts about. Truth be told, I felt very conflicted over Miree for a long time. For one, she starts out very unlikeable and very cruel to those around her, with one exception. Granted this cruelty in the beginning was only something she showed on the outside, her internal thoughts, although only a little less cruel, showed some vulnerability and nuance. Sometimes Miree got really grating. I don't think her anger and disloyalty to certain other characters was forced necessarily, but dear Lord did she need to dial it back sometimes or just be quiet for a time. Eventually, Miree does go through a rough patch that softens her some and we do eventually learn her past and it explains why she is--and dear God, her past and what she goes through is so dark and rough. By the end of everything, I think Miree went through the biggest transformation and while I can't say that I like her now, she is still the most interesting character. Beetro was equally as interesting. He tries to uncover his past and find who made him and why. Beetro's internal dilemmas on how to treat others, on whether to help someone or not, and his judgment of human character were fascinating to read. It's not necessarily a new trope or storyline within sci-fi, but Welker has an interesting take on it, especially with him often remembering Lucindi's kindness juxtaposed with Miree's harshness. Seeing his powers developed was really fun too. His kind heart was very nice too. I won't spoil what happens to him, but I was sad at his fate, but it appears there's hope for him. Arym started off being my favorite character. His discoveries in the world above and his meetings with Hawera were so interesting. The society of the Crib was very interesting and to see how he both fights against its imprint on him and accepts how some of it is still apart of him was a very nuanced take on him. I got a bit irritated when he and Arym had an awkward moment that hindered their relationship for a time. He eventually apologizes and they reconcile, but I'm just tired of that trope. I'm tired of the guy has an awkward with whatever girl he's attracted to for whatever reason and he mopes about her for some time. I've seen in it Adult and YA and manga and I'm just tired of it. Arym goes through his own growth pangs though they aren't as jaw dropping as Beetro's and Miree's. BUT! There is a revelation about him that's pretty interesting, one that relates to the rest of the Crib too. I loved Ribcage and I wanted more of her. She's still a developed character; it's eye-opening to see a bandit child who, despite being deadly, still had a child-like perspective of this post-apocalyptic world. She was such a fresh breath of air in comparison to the other characters. I felt so sorry for her, even at the moment she didn't know someone needed to be sorry for her. The writing itself is just as good as it was in Refraction. Welker knows how to weave in the scientific information into the prose and dialogue. I was lost on some things, but that's just because the science was beyond me. There are some fairly dark moments within the book, and Welker knew how to give the prose in those moments a sinister feeling and being quite descriptive in the more grittier parts. But there was one moment that made me cringe a little. At one point later in the book, after being shipwrecked, Miree is offered a jetpack to get away to go to Orion, the city of her destination. She gets mad and goes on a little mini rant about how the men who offered it her are implying they want her to sit back and and settle down like women who have babies. I was just like...what? When Miree's backstory is revealed later this rant kind of makes sense, but still none of the men were implying that. The only man who ever said anything slightly sexist to Miree was Galiaro, but even then he wasn't saying she should sit down and have kids. This mini rant felt a little forced and disingenuous. Again, with her later backstory it kind of makes sense, but it felt triggered by nothing relevant in the context of the scene. Like Refraction, Dark Theory is hard science fiction. Welker has done meticulous details on physics and astronomy and their subsequent effects on the environment. I'm not very good ay physics (barely passed it in high school) and I do have more an interest in astronomy, but don't really know much science about it, so I can't judge how accurate things are. However, you do get a feel for how important it is to the book's world and story. The end is very much a cliff hanger, but it appears that Welker will be continuing this series, so that'll be interesting to see. I appreciate Miree being bisexual (or at least sapphic) (view spoiler)[though I am a bit sad that a gay friend of Arym's dies. I'm not saying it's problematic, but I felt it could've been avoided or another character Arym cared about or was conflicted about could've died in his place (hide spoiler)] . The epilogues definitely stirred me up, so I'm excited for what comes next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Dark Theory (Dark Law, #1) by Wick Welker Wow and fantastic are the two words that come to my mind when I think of this book! There are layers upon layers to uncover in here. It deals with a small robot that is found by two women that savage scraps at a junkyard to trade for food. One wants to help the robot and the other wants to dismantle it for parts. The kind woman wins and they get the robot water and it starts up. This starts an amazing adventure! There are many civilizations on this world to Dark Theory (Dark Law, #1) by Wick Welker Wow and fantastic are the two words that come to my mind when I think of this book! There are layers upon layers to uncover in here. It deals with a small robot that is found by two women that savage scraps at a junkyard to trade for food. One wants to help the robot and the other wants to dismantle it for parts. The kind woman wins and they get the robot water and it starts up. This starts an amazing adventure! There are many civilizations on this world too. Very interesting worlds in themselves. One lives underground and all males. Another came from another world and stay hidden from current mankind. There is a religion that catches robots and people and makes them half and half. Also controlling them with chips in their brains. There are robots that are sentient and those that are not. It's a fascinating world! Most of the world is so radioactive that standing water is undrinkable. The plot is based around several key characters. Mostly around the robot, Beetro, from the junkyard. He can't remember anything before his reboot. He just has a drive to find his creator. Along the way the robot meets a wonderful cast including a little girl that can teleport short distances. There is also a General that is taking over the world and is cruel and heartless. He too is after the team. The story is unpredictable, suspenseful at times, violent at key moments, funny at times, but always intriguing and stretches my mind with time, space, dark matter, and theories! I loved everything about this book! I wouldn't change a thing! It was a long book but it flew by. I read it all in one day. I just couldn't stop myself! I can't wait for the next book! If you read one science fiction book this year, make it this one! I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me have a chance to read this awesome novel! The opinions are all my own!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.0 Stars This is an entertaining and imaginative piece of epic fiction. This is the kind of science fiction I love, but struggle to find within the genre. As someone who loves stories involving artificial intelligence, this one wae right up my alley. Beetro was an immediately likeable personality bringing a lot of mystery and fun to the narrative.  The tone of the story was a little more light and entertaining than I initially expected. The story is filled with a lot of amusing banter between the 4.0 Stars This is an entertaining and imaginative piece of epic fiction. This is the kind of science fiction I love, but struggle to find within the genre. As someone who loves stories involving artificial intelligence, this one wae right up my alley. Beetro was an immediately likeable personality bringing a lot of mystery and fun to the narrative.  The tone of the story was a little more light and entertaining than I initially expected. The story is filled with a lot of amusing banter between the main characters. The storytelling and prose and quite straightforward making this a surprisingly accessible piece of science fiction, despite the length. The narrative actually felt reminiscent of fantasy, which is not a criticism in this case. The regressed medieval setting would normally lend itself to a fantasy world and so it was enjoyable to find such a regressed world in this imagined future.  Needless to say, I really enjoyed the beginning of this new epic science fiction series and am now dying to read the next book.  I would highly recommend this series to new  and seasoned science fiction readers looking to get a lost in an immersive new story. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zitong Ren

    My thanks to the author Wick Welker for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Oooo, this was absolutely solid. There are a lot of fabulous things in this incredibly long book, and it is an incredibly long book - where its length does not make it any less enjoyable. It features a broad yet highly fascinating cast of well-developed and fully realised characters. The world building in this was also very detailed and intricate and featured a lot of things that I genuinely enjoyed and that I beli My thanks to the author Wick Welker for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Oooo, this was absolutely solid. There are a lot of fabulous things in this incredibly long book, and it is an incredibly long book - where its length does not make it any less enjoyable. It features a broad yet highly fascinating cast of well-developed and fully realised characters. The world building in this was also very detailed and intricate and featured a lot of things that I genuinely enjoyed and that I believed were constructed very well. That being said, I didn’t find this book to be perfect, I do have a few slight criticisms that depending on the type of reader that you are, could be very minor, which they largely were for me, hence the full shining five stars. Now, I seriously had a blast of a time following each of these characters around, from Miree, to Beetro, to Ribcage. They were all unique individuals and had very distinct personas that clearly made them separate characters. It was very easy to tell who was speaking or whose POV it was from, due to the clearly differing nature and wide range of personalities that Welker has crafted here, and that is to be commended. Some characters, like Ribcage was both incredibly fun, but also frustratingly annoying to read about, and that’s a positive thing as there was so much soul and work put into each character that makes me as the reader experience a wide range of emotions with each character. Now, my one slight critique, which won’t be an issue for many is that during the middle portion I did think that it dragged slightly. There was a lot of travelling, which I understand is what this book is about, and that’s totally fair ¬— a lot did happen during the travelling, and I certainly had a good time, especially the parts involving the Reticulum. That being said, it was like a couple dozen pages bit long for me? Naturally, this is all subjective, but in my opinion, it some scenes didn’t add a heap to the overarching story, although I may be wrong and be corrected in future instalments Just generally regarding the plot, I did like it a lot. A heap happened in this novel, most of it highly enjoyable. Again, I did think it could have moved forward slightly faster during times, however I did think the start set up the rest of this story incredibly well, and there was quite a banger of an ending. I did like at how this was concluded while also clearly setting up the events of the next novel. I usually do prefer a more definite ending, yet certainly did not mind what occurred here at all. Welker’s prose and writing is actually quite nice. It can get technical at times with a lot space and science-y jargon, which is a preference thing. I didn’t mind it much, other readers might mind it more. Other than that, it does flow really well and is not all that present which I like. The worse thing for me when reading books for the story and not the prose is that when the writing is either so flowery you can’t help but notice it, or so dry that it is just terrible, and I thought that this book’s prose achieved a good balance between the two which I appreciated. Also, the worldbuilding in this was actually superb. There’s loads of detail and depth, whilst not being too much to remember. It was a, incredibly immersive world and there was a lot that made it different from other sci-fantasy novels, so that was great. There are such a wide array of cultures and identities in this world that I really enjoyed and cannot wait to explore more of. Ultimately, I really liked this and despite a few slight flaws I had with it, I would highly recommend it and thought that this was a killer tale. 9/10

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angell

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Buckle up bitches. Time for a 1 star review. There will be spoilers ahead so stop now if you actually want to read this dung pile. This book was terrible. The writing was god awful. This book was disingenuously placed in the queer sci-fi section on NetGalley. Miree's sexuality was handled horribly. She is in love with Luci and then you kill her off at the very beginning. She is fawning over this woman and then marginally grieving her death. After her death, there was no other mention of her sexu Buckle up bitches. Time for a 1 star review. There will be spoilers ahead so stop now if you actually want to read this dung pile. This book was terrible. The writing was god awful. This book was disingenuously placed in the queer sci-fi section on NetGalley. Miree's sexuality was handled horribly. She is in love with Luci and then you kill her off at the very beginning. She is fawning over this woman and then marginally grieving her death. After her death, there was no other mention of her sexuality UNTIL she met a man. Some fucking hero who tries to sacrifice himself to save her and then she is suddenly attracted to man? No mention whatsoever up till this point that she has ever had any feelings for men UNTIL one decides he needs to be a true gentleman, because obviously a true gentleman can turn her straight. If she was bi or pansexual sure, that's one thing. But she was introduced as a woman who loves women and it was never addressed otherwise until a "hero" came to save the "damsel in distress". She ACTIVELY hated men in this book and then one just comes in and sweeps her off her feet? Then we get to the bullshit that is Arym. Fucking. Arym. God I fucking hate him. His entire plot arc pissed me off to no end. When he met a woman for the first time he automatically decided that he needed to own her. That she was his. And that he was attracted to her. The fact that the author put the whole "he's a straight man, living a lonely life with only men. He wants to be with women but he is only able to be with men. (who were his genetic clone btw, but we'll get to that bullshit later.) And he feels so lonely with all these men who can find comfort (incestuous comfort I might add) into one another. But, woe is me, I can't have that. I, as a straight man, feel oppressed." EVEN THOUGH BEING STRAIGHT IS THE FUCKING DEFAULT. At this point, Ch 10ish. I checked out who the author was and it made 100% sense as to why he would write something so stupid. And now let's get to the Crib. I hated everything that happened with the Crib. Major plot hole: how in the hell did Arym's stupid ass not realize that they were fucking clones. He literally has to be stupid to not notice that 20,000 copies of himself, in various stages of aging are walking around. And that's not even addressing the fucking naming convention. Arstyl, Arym, Artum, etc. How do you expect anyone to keep up with 9 brand new character names in a single chapter where they all. look. the. same. Now to address the writing. God was it juvenile at some points. They just threw in SAT words to make it sound better I guess. The quality of writing continued to decline as the book progressed. The end felt phoned in. But let's really talk about how the women are treated in this book. Hawera, was a woman "sent around the mobius strip of time" to be the Eve of her people. Again. The way that Arym felt entitled to her was disgusting. The way he talks over her and the way he tries to force her to come with him and wouldn't stop until she slapped him? Disgusting. Miree was tortured the. entire. book. There so many scenes were she was tortured. Her eyeballs were burnt out. Her arm was chopped off. Her free will was taken from her. She was SA'd as a child. She gets wires woven through her skin and strung up. Just a no stop slew of violence against the woman, sapphic protagonist. Then there is Ribcage. The little street goblin who clearly shouldn't be handling a knife. She was constantly starved. Everyone in this stupid book was starved, but her especially. Having a visible ribcage was her brand. This book was horrible. I will never recommend this book to anyone. I will not be reading the sequel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Isabella

    Edit 18/04/22: just a heads up, this amazing book comes out today (the 18th for me but 17th for most of you) and I really recommend checking it out! This review has been in my drafts folder for exactly two weeks now. I need to edit these senseless notes into something vaguely resembling legibility as a thank you to Wick Welker for so kindly sending me an ARC of his doorstop of a book. Rating: 4 stars Let's just jump straight in to the review. I have written and deleted so many intros that I need to Edit 18/04/22: just a heads up, this amazing book comes out today (the 18th for me but 17th for most of you) and I really recommend checking it out! This review has been in my drafts folder for exactly two weeks now. I need to edit these senseless notes into something vaguely resembling legibility as a thank you to Wick Welker for so kindly sending me an ARC of his doorstop of a book. Rating: 4 stars Let's just jump straight in to the review. I have written and deleted so many intros that I need to just get over myself, stop over thinking and cut to the chase. Dark Theory is, as Wick first described it to me, "an epic science fiction kind of fantasy book." It has elements of hard science (yay!) which stood out as one of Welker's specialities in his sci fi debut, but also an underlining sci-fantasy narrative. When I first noticed this, I admit I was a little nervous for the overall outcome of the novel, as that is where Refraction (Wick's aforementioned sci fi debut) kind of fell apart for me. But Dark Theory goes from strength to strength. We'll start off with characters (most people are character readers so I find it is more helpful to most for me to write reviews based on them). Like Refraction, the author does good job of setting up one POV strongly before introducing another, so the reader can establish some sort of grounding in the world and cast before it is built upon. That being said, for me there was never a character specifically well written and worthy of particular note. Miree is more or less the main character of Dark Theory, and Wick really puts her through the wringer both before and during, and presumably after, the events of the novel. She comes from a mysterious background slowly unfolded throughout the story, which I found to come at a good pace, if a bit abrupt at the end. At times she does seem to reflect the "not like other girls" stereotype, but I think in this instance there were no "average" girls to compare her to, so it didn't actually bother me that much (which was a huge surprise for me). Miree is very goal motivated, and often does things in the spare of the moment to help her reach that goal without thinking how they will effect her later. And they do. They really do. Even though she was portrayed all the time as a tough guy, I never really totally believed it. I can't really pinpoint exactly why I thought this, but it came across to me like that whether it was intended or not. Then we have Beetro. He is a robot who has woken up remembering nothing except the name of his maker and the desire to find them. Now, I have to preface this by saying any robot/droid/android character is a tough sell for me because my favourites list consists of only two entries: Data from Star Trek and Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That list really hasn't changed for me in, well, ever (I tried counting the years but couldn't quite narrow it down). So any character I come across in that category is immediately compared to what some would argue as the greats, which is hardly fair. Because, you know, it's Star Trek and Hitchhiker's, two monoliths of the sci fi genre across all mediums. But so is too often my experience with these things. The first fantasy books I ever read were The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and they have never been beat for me (though perhaps equalled). So I am kind of used to the fact that no AI will ever really measure up to Data and Marvin, and don't expect it to, nor let it influence my reviews of like characters. But the comparison is always going to happen, isn't it. Anyway, about Beetro. I have in my notes from early on in the book that Beetro didn't really feel that robot-y, which was true, though it became less so as the novel went on. He was so lovely (I sound like a grandma; next thing I'm going to want to do is pinch his metallic cheeks) with his innocence towards the world, and this actually reminded me a bit of myself. I suppose that is why I am drawn to these kinds of characters so much. He just wanted to help people and is so dumbfounded when he is not able to, or when people reject his assistance. He tries to harden himself to the world after it hurts him, but inside he really has a kind heart that just wants to forgive everyone's wrong doings and reconcile. (Am I Beetro? I think I'm Beetro.) I also think that because we meet Beetro literally with a blank mind, the only experiences he has to learn and draw from are the events we read about in the book. It's kind of like we are watching him grow up before our eyes. But with this growth from (for all intents and purposes) his "birth", we see his innocence inevitably fade away, and I do feel Beetro lost a bit of his endearment during the ending sequence. Yet, I can see it was perhaps necessary in order to set up Dark Theory's sequels and the continuation of the Dark Law series (which I am particularly pumped for) I can really only talk about one more character without getting too spoilery (and even then it will be brief), and that is Arym. When I first was introduced to Arym and his people whose names all start with "A", I made a note, and I quote (haha it rhymes): "Nooooooo a whole race of people whose names start with the same letter. My worst nightmare" and for a while there it was a struggle. Arym, Arstyl, Aryller, Arwyl, Arryn, Artul... they all started with not one, but the same two letters. I got lost for a while. Quite lost. Fortunately some spoiler stuff happened so I wasn't confused for too long. There are other characters of note too, like Ribcage who had some great lines which were just my kind of humour, or Hawera, whose name looks (and sounds, if I am pronouncing it correctly) like it is of Māori or Polynesian origin. As for the plot, it starts out as a heist story that was set up and executed what I thought at the time as rather mediocrely, but I now think through the benefit of hindsight that this was perhaps intentional, as the story moves beyond it pretty swiftly. It then kind of turns into a fantasy travelling story and a sci fi dystopia smashed into one. The latter was helped by the presence of the Reticulum, which felt so much like the Borg from Star Trek that it brought a huge grin onto my face when I first read their description. (I'm not claiming that the Borg was Wick's definitive inspiration behind the Reticulum, but there was a Star Trek reference only 19 pages into Refraction, so...) Something I can say about Dark Theory is its cast of characters is quite small. That is a conscious choice made by the author, and it does work in this instance, but it also makes the world feel quite small due to the fact that the only named characters are the people we are following. I know this is comparing it to a giant, but for instance in Wheel of Time there are so many characters Jordan gives a name (2,782. Yep, that's right: close to three flippin' thousand). Some would say this is too many, but for me it makes the world seems so huge because we are getting a sentence or two about a person who has an entire life we can only guess about. The same thing happens in Tolkien's Legendarium. Part of the reason Middle-earth feels so big is because there are so many people in it, all with individual histories and families we only get a glimpse of. I think its limited character list lets down Dark Theory, which is the beginning of a series that is aiming to be epic in its scope. But I also understand it's very risky to jump in with 100+ named characters to a genre you only recently entered from a writing standpoint. Dark Theory would also do so well as an audiobook. I was trying to think about narrators, and the only one I could think of was Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. Fellow ARC receivers, just think about it. Michael with his deep rolling baritone of a voice playing up the innocence factor for Arym, kind of like his Olver voice, and then as the character learns more getting more and more serious in his tone. And then Kate, with the sarcastic and almost snarky voice she puts on for Shallan (and Min to some extent) for Miree. Ooh and her Lift voice for Ribcage. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but then again when do I not. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that Dark Theory lends itself so much to the audiobook medium (it could also do well as an audio drama, I just thought of that) and I think it is worthy of a Michael Kramer and Kate Reading performance. Now that is high praise coming from me, and I don't say that often. In fact, I don't think I've ever read a book I can say that for. Ok I have written about three different reviews for Dark Theory and have cut and pasted all the good parts to make this patchwork review. Now reading over it, I realise I have cut out most of the praise parts. I was told to be honest. Brutally if necessary. Yet there is this belief most of the book community hold that positive reviews aren't to be trusted. To some extent I agree. My Wheel of Time reviews should never be taken as fact, because that are just me gushing for pages on end. My Tolkien reviews are so nostalgia tinged that any actual critical thinking is negligible. But I found myself looking at my positive paragraphs in this review as unreliable, and not as helpful or useful as my critiquing ones. That's why I think I left that audiobook section in (and later edited the Beetro section lauding it some more), because even though objectively it is poorly written, it reflects my raw enjoyment of this story. To close, Dark Theory is one of those books where the Goodreads 5-star rating system has failed it, because even though I gave it only one more star than Refraction, (man, it's really not helping that Blake Crouch has books called Dark Matter and Recursion, and Welker has Refraction and now Dark Theory) it doesn't come close to reflecting the massive increase in quality between Wick's sci fi debut and his second entry into the genre. His skill, while already more than prevalent in Refraction, has grown exponentially with Dark Theory, that I cannot wait for his next book, within the Dark Law series or not. Because if the trend continues (and at this stage I think it shall) we may be looking at a potential five-star read on our hands here. P.S. Oh, almost forgot, talk about a beautiful cover!!! 23/11/21: Let me get my thoughts together and I'll be back! RTC

  10. 5 out of 5

    ivanareadsalot

    I’d like to first start off by saying “thank you” to NetGalley and Wick Welker for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Science fiction is not a genre I typically read, but I found a lot of Wick Welker’s Dark Theory (Dark Law, #1) compelling and wonderful to imagine. The world building is terrific and peopled with a bevy of characters I found engaging and entertaining. The science actually made me feel a bit nostalgic, and reminded me of a much earlier time in my life when I’d like to first start off by saying “thank you” to NetGalley and Wick Welker for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Science fiction is not a genre I typically read, but I found a lot of Wick Welker’s Dark Theory (Dark Law, #1) compelling and wonderful to imagine. The world building is terrific and peopled with a bevy of characters I found engaging and entertaining. The science actually made me feel a bit nostalgic, and reminded me of a much earlier time in my life when my understanding of physics was infantile at best, and I’d imagined DARPA scientists creating mad robots within their secret lair, like in comic books. Suffice it to say, the memory of that time, of youthful ponder and wonder at the vastness of the universe, emerging tech and spacefaring, that feeling was what guided me through this book’s science and the dynamics of Welker’s world. I found the nostalgia weirdly grounding, which helped me to not be overwhelmed when everything came to a head. I loved most of the characters! Especially Beetro, Ribcage and Piot! These three were especially vibrant and awesome and I enjoyed them immensely. I absolutely hated Miree. And no I don’t give a fk about her circumstances because 700 pages of her being a snarling asshole isn’t going to make me sympathize with her woe is me super sad secret backstory. Like I would have rather read 50 chapters dedicated to Qithara and the plight of the Thekora, before and after the Alcheans showed up. Beetro gets my props for asking the real questions about the cost of Alchean supremacy. I really hope WW will continue on this thread throughout the series because it gave me pause, as a woman of colour, and endeared me to Beetro even more for his thinking about the subjugation of the Thekora. The story is a bit lengthy but not particularly strenuous. The journey felt light in the first half but then everything is sort of chucked at you in the last quarter and it got a bit challenging to process. The reward is there, though, if you go about it patiently. Anyway, I thought this was great beginning to what will surely be a pretty intense and wild series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Efka

    "Dark Theory" is a big book. Both in volume and in ambition. And, having a chance to familiarize myself with it after receiving an advanced reader copy – well, I‘m glad it did not disappoint me - au contraire! Key points of what I liked: • A sort of genre-fusion. This whole story has a vibe of a fantasy land. It‘s easy to dismiss it as happening on Earth and instead think of it as being set in some fictional land or at least in a galaxy, far, far away. Still, that feeling of a fantasy is just an o "Dark Theory" is a big book. Both in volume and in ambition. And, having a chance to familiarize myself with it after receiving an advanced reader copy – well, I‘m glad it did not disappoint me - au contraire! Key points of what I liked: • A sort of genre-fusion. This whole story has a vibe of a fantasy land. It‘s easy to dismiss it as happening on Earth and instead think of it as being set in some fictional land or at least in a galaxy, far, far away. Still, that feeling of a fantasy is just an outer shell for a quite hard sci-fi series. I have to admit, there‘s not many books that come into my mind that were written by fusing sci-fi with fantasy, but in this case it did and it did good. • The characters. I really loved them – they are complex, well-written and evolving. It‘s easy to hate them in the beginning of the book, and even more easy to cheer and root for them towards the end. And I even had to admit that „I was wrong“ about a couple of them – they aren‘t so crazy or selfish or assholes as I thought after the introduction. There were a couple of secondary characters that could have been developed more, but, since it is only the first part of a trilogy, I have a feeling that they will get a chance to bask in the spotlight. And, well, let‘s be honest – secondary characters are secondary, they don‘t get that much action as the lead characters do. Though personally I love when even sidekicks get a glimpse of fame or, sometimes, even a couple of chapters of POV. • I love when my hard sci fi is really hard. In the book acknowledgements, there‘s a „thank you“ for Liu Cixin for inspiration in astrophysics and dimensionality. And while I can‘t say that this book is similar to any of Liu‘s (and I would know, as I‘ve read almost all of them), the slight vibration of being inspired by him is between the pages all the time. I‘ve wrote above, that it is an ambitious book – and that‘s why it is. Writing a good sci-fi about gravity and photons and lower/higher dimensions is much harder than just a simple space western, with no disrespect for space westerns and their authors. • The general story. Not much to say here, I just simply liked how the whole story did develop and what I‘ve been told. Now a couple of things I liked less: • Pacing. I had a bit of difficulty to fully immerse myself in the book. The first 1/3 seemed a bit too slow and too comprehensive for me. I get that it was done mostly in order to create vibrant characters and world, but it had been too much of battery scavenging and desert-pacing and at some point I‘ve started losing concentration. Still, after the certain threshold in the story the pacing evened out, so it‘s not that bad it could have been. • Stylistic errors. I‘m not talking about missed commas or mistyping a word, though these also do happen. The errors I‘m talking about is an excessive overuse of the same pronouns. Basically, every pronoun for a character is only „he/she“ or the name. And while I think it‘s ok to use only he/she or the name if there aren‘t many pronouns in the text, this is a different case. For example, there‘s a part in the book, where „Beetro“ had been repeated seven times in eight lines – lines, not even sentences. So, that‘s definitely either some room for improvement, or a question of an experienced editor, who‘s not afraid to cut a few lines and use some synonyms for a better flow of the story. Besides that, nothing more to criticize this book for. A very strong 4* rating, and I will definitely be looking forward to continuing the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brittany (Britt's Book Blurbs)

    Thanks to NetGalley, Wick Welker, & Independent Book Publishers Association for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. As the beginning of what looks like it could be an epic series, I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Theory . These characters are complex and evolve to tell a gripping story of friendship and fighting back against all odds. Don't worry; there are plenty of underdogs to choose from here. This dystopian world is harsh, and only the strong Thanks to NetGalley, Wick Welker, & Independent Book Publishers Association for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. As the beginning of what looks like it could be an epic series, I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Theory . These characters are complex and evolve to tell a gripping story of friendship and fighting back against all odds. Don't worry; there are plenty of underdogs to choose from here. This dystopian world is harsh, and only the strong survive - there's very little opportunity for anyone to thrive. "Mankind has proven that they cannot wisely wield the technology they develop and that's the era in which we now live. May as well be the stone ages." Not for the faint at heart; many of the torture/experimentation scenes are incredibly gruesome and explicit. Not a fan of gore, I did a fair bit of skimming here, but they did not detract from the overall experience. Dark Theory takes you on a profound journey, with a good balance between worldbuilding and active plot. The science is prominent but not overwhelming, the characters are realistic and unique, and this dystopian vision of a future Earth is terrifying. Though I'm not even sure how many books are planned in this series, I'm very much looking forward to another instalment. "Why did it take the end of the world for her to finally start getting her emotional shit together?" Review originally posted here on Britt's Book Blurbs. Blog | Bookstagram | Reddit | Twitter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Khalid Abdul-Mumin

    This is a work of excellent 'Hard Sci-fi', set in a post apocalyptic far future with elements of fantasy. It tackles intriguing issues of astrophysical phenomena, AI, etc while weaving an interesting plot. The first two thirds was a bit slow (would have rated five stars if not for that) building up to a great finish that left me really excited and looking forward to the next book in the series. The world building is fantastic and I have to say top notch, this being the second book by the author I This is a work of excellent 'Hard Sci-fi', set in a post apocalyptic far future with elements of fantasy. It tackles intriguing issues of astrophysical phenomena, AI, etc while weaving an interesting plot. The first two thirds was a bit slow (would have rated five stars if not for that) building up to a great finish that left me really excited and looking forward to the next book in the series. The world building is fantastic and I have to say top notch, this being the second book by the author I've read. The first one is titled 'Refraction' and was quite enjoyable too. Will definitely take a look at the rest of the authors' offerings, he remains one of the best indie writers I've come across. I highly recommend this to readers that like their science fiction with a dash of fantasy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    I've gotten a good way into this book, but unfortunately it's a little too dark and intense for me at this time, which is a shame because I enjoyed parts of it quite a bit, and I wanted to find out what happens. I may come back to it later when I feel like I can handle it. Thanks to NetGalley and the author for providing me with a copy of this book. I've gotten a good way into this book, but unfortunately it's a little too dark and intense for me at this time, which is a shame because I enjoyed parts of it quite a bit, and I wanted to find out what happens. I may come back to it later when I feel like I can handle it. Thanks to NetGalley and the author for providing me with a copy of this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Phew, quite the Sci-Fi blockbuster at 800 pages. A real roller-coaster ride through some of the most popular astrophysics buzzwords of our era - Dark Energy, dark matter, quantum entanglement, black holes, time-lines, all threatening the existence of not just the earth but the universe! Surprisingly, the scale of the action on earth is confined to no more than a few hundred kilometres, and with a principal cast of no more than a dozen or so characters. A good idea I think, as the character buildi Phew, quite the Sci-Fi blockbuster at 800 pages. A real roller-coaster ride through some of the most popular astrophysics buzzwords of our era - Dark Energy, dark matter, quantum entanglement, black holes, time-lines, all threatening the existence of not just the earth but the universe! Surprisingly, the scale of the action on earth is confined to no more than a few hundred kilometres, and with a principal cast of no more than a dozen or so characters. A good idea I think, as the character building and the empathy you build (for some, at least) is easier with the small number. The scenery suggests a post apocalyptic future Earth but it turns out to be far more complicated than that. There are villains and hazards galore too, for the small team to handle, individually or as a group. It has plenty of exciting moments, pain and tragedy, and twists that I didn’t see coming. I could see some resemblance to the Chinese SciFi The Three-Body Problem (the author also mentions as inspiration), which I read recently with its frequent use of popular, and heavy duty, SciFi concepts. I think this may be an issue for some readers and even I, an avid popular science reader, found the science orientated explanations pretty heavy in places, as I did in The Three Body Problem. Maybe I come with too much baggage too as I couldn’t resist querying in my mind how far some of the concepts were taken to explain the problems the world faces. Though I appreciate, as when dealing with magic systems in fantasy, that a reader of fiction should try to suspend critical facilities and go with the author’s imagination. There are also one or two Deus ex Machina moments, for me (e.g. a rather too convenient escape route from a city) but given the density of science concepts and the action rich plot that’s pretty good in 800 pages. So, for me, engrossing and highly imaginative. It didn’t seem like 800 pages, and didn’t drag one bit. Not a perfect match to my taste, as sometimes the mind (and world) bending science concepts threatened to overwhelm the importance of very well constructed characters, including a good AI character. And this doesn’t seem to be the end. A lot of story arcs are resolved but there’s more to be done, it seems, in a likely follow up. Tough to rate given it’s wide plot range; 5* for imagination and overall concepts, and very good characterisations. 4* for the rather dense science content which I found pushed a bit too much to the forefront of the plot, and 3.5* for it’s occasional use in explaining some physical events (tides!) - sorry, my Physics education is hard to ignore! Maybe 4-4.5* overall. A strongly recommended choice for the reader of Science-rich SciFi who appreciates epic style storylines. As I mentioned, similar in style to The Three-Body Problem but with far better characterisations. I think this author is still warming up, and there’ll be more epic SciFi to come. An ARC, with an honest review. I don’t know the author other than being a GR friend with some similar reading tastes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessi (Novel Heartbeat)

    DNF @ 35% / 274 pages I tried. I really did. This was one of my most anticipated 2022 releases, so I'm pretty bummed to let it go. But I straight up am not enjoying it. It was a chore to read, actually. I've been slogging through this book for 3 weeks now because it's so tedious, and I've lost all desire to pick it back up again. It feels like I've been reading it for FOREVER and after realizing I was barely a third of the way through, I just couldn't do it anymore. The writing grated on my nerves DNF @ 35% / 274 pages I tried. I really did. This was one of my most anticipated 2022 releases, so I'm pretty bummed to let it go. But I straight up am not enjoying it. It was a chore to read, actually. I've been slogging through this book for 3 weeks now because it's so tedious, and I've lost all desire to pick it back up again. It feels like I've been reading it for FOREVER and after realizing I was barely a third of the way through, I just couldn't do it anymore. The writing grated on my nerves. It was dry and pretentious, and even when things were happening I was bored. The characters were flat and I couldn't connect to them at all. The only reason I made it as far as I did was because the premise is super cool. The world was really unique! Like I said, super bummed. It had such fantastic potential and could have been a winner for me if it had better writing and characters. The Crib was pretty cool - an achillean society with zero women whatsoever living underground - [spoiler]until I found out that they're all clones of the same person so are basically fucking themselves oof. Awkward.[/spoiler] I think this will be a winner for a lot of Adult SFF fans, but it didn't work for me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Benjamin

    This book is a magnificent sci fi epic, a brilliantly described bright visual universe with a whole cast of believable unique characters .It is witty ,fast moving and incredibly inventive I really loved it from start to finish Reading the book filled my head with images ideas and pictures rather like playing a beautiful ethereal video game ,one where you never got stuck trying to complete a task but constantly moved forward in a seamless effortless fashion .A dream of a book the inventiveness wa This book is a magnificent sci fi epic, a brilliantly described bright visual universe with a whole cast of believable unique characters .It is witty ,fast moving and incredibly inventive I really loved it from start to finish Reading the book filled my head with images ideas and pictures rather like playing a beautiful ethereal video game ,one where you never got stuck trying to complete a task but constantly moved forward in a seamless effortless fashion .A dream of a book the inventiveness was continuous ,you never felt overwhelmed by the intertwined story lines which effortlessly wove round each other in a clear and eminently readable fashion I fell in love with the robot character immediately as I did with the child characters in the beginning of the story and was sucked into this alternative reality immediately and fully I can see this book as a tv series or film and would be very surprised if its rights hasn’t already been grabbed .it is rare to read a novel so incredibly visual as this book which sparkles with its originality and potential I found the book highly amusing in places when the wit and quality of the writing and the circumstances the group of characters find themselves in are amusing even bordering on slapstick at one moment to move futilely onto some rather horrific scenes of torture that are horrendous and at the same time exciting I’d strongly recommend this novel which I’m delighted to discover has a planned sequel to sci fi lovers of all ages .Young adults will like it Im sure as much as I have I read an early electronic copy non NetGalley Uk and have published this review on there in full

  18. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When i saw the synopsis i was intrigued by this book And for the first two chapters it was okay i liked Beetro, and Lucindi was a cool character as well But i did not like the way this book decided to go. Killing Lucindi off and then have Miree deal with her death like i did not like that at all Also everyone seemed to hate everyone else and i feel like it did not work. I really did not like the characters Arym was not it either. I did not like the clones part at all and how incest happens I was When i saw the synopsis i was intrigued by this book And for the first two chapters it was okay i liked Beetro, and Lucindi was a cool character as well But i did not like the way this book decided to go. Killing Lucindi off and then have Miree deal with her death like i did not like that at all Also everyone seemed to hate everyone else and i feel like it did not work. I really did not like the characters Arym was not it either. I did not like the clones part at all and how incest happens I was honestly confused the majority of the time and did not pick up what was going on i did not like this at all it was definitely not my cup of tea at all. I really did try with this one but it did not give what was suppose to give and i felt let down

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Higgins

    There is always some hesitancy whenever I contemplate reading a book over 500 pages in length. So needless to say, I waffled a bit before requesting the ARC for the 814-page scifi novel kicking off a new series; however, I am glad that I did. Dark Theory has a large cast of unique characters made up of robots, children, members of an underground separatist cult, unwilling participants in robot hybridization, time travelers, and silicon-based aliens. At its core, Dark Theory reads like a fantasy q There is always some hesitancy whenever I contemplate reading a book over 500 pages in length. So needless to say, I waffled a bit before requesting the ARC for the 814-page scifi novel kicking off a new series; however, I am glad that I did. Dark Theory has a large cast of unique characters made up of robots, children, members of an underground separatist cult, unwilling participants in robot hybridization, time travelers, and silicon-based aliens. At its core, Dark Theory reads like a fantasy quest story that happens to have an advanced robot. As the story progresses, the science fiction elements become more and more prominent as the world between Korth, Orion, and the Fifth Kingdom unfolds before you. The author did a wonderful job of developing a cast of primary and secondary characters that you feel a connection with. I found myself tearing up at the death of a secondary character, and I'm still mad about their passing not going to lie. Now what kept this at a 4 star read for me? At 814 pages, it is intimidatingly long for folks to jump into. While reading, I found quite a bit of redundant exposition that could have cut down that page count to something that would appeal to a larger audience. Every time a new party member was added, we would get the same explanation over and over again which I found a bit frustrating. I found myself regularly skimming these conversations once I recognized that nothing new was being revealed, All told, finessing these conversations could have saved some pages in the overall count. All in all, this was an enjoyable and imaginative world and I look forward to the sequel whenever it drops. *I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kaffeeklatsch and Books

    This is a multi-POV grimdark sci-fi with different alien races and robots. The book was too long and there was a lot that could've been edited out without losing the quality of the story. I didn't care for any of the main characters. I usually enjoy morally grey characters, but these were just too shallow. I especially disliked Miree. A lot of Arym's POV felt like Red Rising to be honest and it took me over 40% to get to the goal/problem that needs to be solved. For me this was too long to get to This is a multi-POV grimdark sci-fi with different alien races and robots. The book was too long and there was a lot that could've been edited out without losing the quality of the story. I didn't care for any of the main characters. I usually enjoy morally grey characters, but these were just too shallow. I especially disliked Miree. A lot of Arym's POV felt like Red Rising to be honest and it took me over 40% to get to the goal/problem that needs to be solved. For me this was too long to get to the point. While this had some parts I didn't enjoy, I can see the potential that the author has and I'd read more in the future. Thanks Netgalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angustia⋆Cósmica

    Holy sh*t this was a BIG BOY of a book. I am EXHAUSTED. But also excited to have pushed myself to reading something longer than 200+ pages. And this was a great book to do so. The world building is INSANE, yet somehow explained in such ways that even I could follow along without stumbling on the way. Going from hating to loving characters is always such a wild ride, too. Being able to feel hope while planets are being flung all willy-nilly over the galaxy is quite the feat, so if you've got a stron Holy sh*t this was a BIG BOY of a book. I am EXHAUSTED. But also excited to have pushed myself to reading something longer than 200+ pages. And this was a great book to do so. The world building is INSANE, yet somehow explained in such ways that even I could follow along without stumbling on the way. Going from hating to loving characters is always such a wild ride, too. Being able to feel hope while planets are being flung all willy-nilly over the galaxy is quite the feat, so if you've got a strong stomach then read this bad boy. Also if you love adorable robots, this is your book. Just be careful who you get attached to.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ziggy Nixon

    4 1/2 stars*. An absolutely grand epic that spans multiple genres as it starts off as as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, hidden away inside an enigma that eventually becomes a conundrum of intergalactic scale (with apologies to fans of Winston Churchill for the blatant re-write there). And I can't even begin to think of a descriptive - via quotes or even my own poor attempts at formulation - to sufficiently describe how this complex yet absolutely engaging story progresses ever more frantically 4 1/2 stars*. An absolutely grand epic that spans multiple genres as it starts off as as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, hidden away inside an enigma that eventually becomes a conundrum of intergalactic scale (with apologies to fans of Winston Churchill for the blatant re-write there). And I can't even begin to think of a descriptive - via quotes or even my own poor attempts at formulation - to sufficiently describe how this complex yet absolutely engaging story progresses ever more frantically towards its simply spell-binding conclusion! As I commented only mere weeks ago when I read my first Wick Welker book "Refraction" (if you haven't yet, please go read that book!), I found this story to also be thoroughly spell-binding and again almost undefineable. Yes, "Dark Theory" is definitely scifi but is spiked to the limit with hints of dark fantasy, grimdark and, again, even YA hints and flavorings. But as before, Welker has put together a tale that kept me spell-bound and distracted from the real world since the moment I opened it some days ago. This is definitely a young writer to "watch" as closely as a restraining order will allow as his prose continues to prove to be sublimely delicious and the myriad of characters that he brings into your mind, heart and soul will stagger you deeply! The pacing of "Dark Theory" is somewhat more challenging than the previous book, noting I really don't see how it could have possibly been different. This to me just reflects the complexity of the story around it. I called this aspect in discussions with other colleagues "Shannarian" as it reminded me of the tales I devoured many, many years ago when Terry Brooks' classics were first released (I almost called it "Tolkienesque" but that would imply that I actually enjoy his works... ok, stop gasping, there are some of us out there). Yes, our heroes must travel quite a bit and team up with a wide assortment of characters - both good and bad - in order to reach their final destinations and destinies! And to say that along the way there is some reluctance, deception and even betrayal is an understatement! But the combination of almost folkloric legendry mixed with a wild cross of other even dystopian elements - from robotics to cyborgs and even aliens - was about as unique as anything I've come across in my reading for quite some time. And again, throwing in what I can call only peripherally understood science - after all, we are travelling at any given point through any one of three dimensions! not counting other parallel, um, dimensions!- only added to the still as yet not sufficiently explained mystery of just what the hell is happening in this - or any - Universe! The jumping and sliding and zipping around will leave you dizzy for sure! Not to be negative in terms of my own reaction in any way, but I could see that this book might alienate some readers. It is not an easy nor "light" read, that I can confirm. You're going to need your wits about you and have some patience moving along with the cast, who can be, let's be honest, infuriating in their own ways and not only due to chemical, mechanical or other interferences! Just trying to keep track of the motivations of all the characters and what they each contribute to the overall framework of this tale is not easy to decipher. I say this at this point having only just noticed TODAY that this book is labelled as "Part 1" of what is part of series where I have not as yet researched into its possible length nor the expected release of the next tome. That's also a relief in many ways because I still have so many questions left open about all that we've witnessed, that not even TWO epilogues could sufficiently cover in this first offer. There is a lot left to decipher about, well, everything. But count me in to be one of the first in line for the 2nd chapter as soon as its ready! Great stuff, enjoy! *I was provided a pre-sale ARC copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. Plus Beetro said he'd dissolve my bones if I didn't play nice!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jael Dixon

    Despite forewarnings from earlier reviewers, I was woefully unprepared for the scale of this book. It’s massive and filled with just about every plot point that I, a lowly reviewer, could conceive of. I appreciate Welker’s commitment to putting so many words together in one place. That means there’s a lot to keep track of, and I admittedly lost my way through the plot a few times. Dark Theory has shades of Peter F. Hamilton and a less light-hearted Terry Pratchett. A committed reader who’s looki Despite forewarnings from earlier reviewers, I was woefully unprepared for the scale of this book. It’s massive and filled with just about every plot point that I, a lowly reviewer, could conceive of. I appreciate Welker’s commitment to putting so many words together in one place. That means there’s a lot to keep track of, and I admittedly lost my way through the plot a few times. Dark Theory has shades of Peter F. Hamilton and a less light-hearted Terry Pratchett. A committed reader who’s looking for a melding of far-future, post-apocalyptic sci-fi with a sprinkling of fantasy settings, aliens, and time travel thrown in will really appreciate a book like this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    DC Allen

    The author's best book so far. Great world building. Great characters. Great mythology. Cool maps. Very dark, as the title suggests The author's best book so far. Great world building. Great characters. Great mythology. Cool maps. Very dark, as the title suggests

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pedro Santos

    First, I have to say this: "Wow, what a ride!" I originally picked up this book mostly because of the name and the cover (which is simple, but beautiful). And am I glad I did. While the book is clearly sci-fi, I loved that the author filled it with enough "fantasy-vibes", especially at the beginning, that was able to hold my attention until the plot started moving at full steam. The characters are intriguing and hold a lot of personality, but the thing that surprised me the most was how they change First, I have to say this: "Wow, what a ride!" I originally picked up this book mostly because of the name and the cover (which is simple, but beautiful). And am I glad I did. While the book is clearly sci-fi, I loved that the author filled it with enough "fantasy-vibes", especially at the beginning, that was able to hold my attention until the plot started moving at full steam. The characters are intriguing and hold a lot of personality, but the thing that surprised me the most was how they changed with the story. I swear I had the characters "all figured out" around 20% of the book. And then the author surprised me with twists and turns that I didn't see coming and mixed everything up, making me, as a reader, rethink what I knew about the world and characters, but about the plot itself as well. The author didn't shy from doing his best to flesh out the characters. I will not say much about the plot since, for me, it all worked out because I went completely blind to this. That being said, if you are a fan of more grounded Science Fiction that keeps you on your toes, this is the book for you. Thank you Wick Welker for this amazing journey and I can't wait to see what you have in store for the sequel! I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me have an ARC of this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Persychan

    I read this as an ARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 1 star. I’m not usually one to give such harsh reviews, but not only I didn’t like this book at all I think it has some objective problems both in the writing and in how some themes are handled. Let’s start with the things that I liked: ►The setting was quite interesting, that while fully sci-fi, or well, post-apocalyptic after a more technological advanced classic sci-fi, felt almost fantasy at times and I like it. ►Ribcage was a I read this as an ARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 1 star. I’m not usually one to give such harsh reviews, but not only I didn’t like this book at all I think it has some objective problems both in the writing and in how some themes are handled. Let’s start with the things that I liked: ►The setting was quite interesting, that while fully sci-fi, or well, post-apocalyptic after a more technological advanced classic sci-fi, felt almost fantasy at times and I like it. ►Ribcage was a cool character. Gremlin kid with powers is always amazing. ►There were a lot of cool concepts, probably too many to be all explored with some level of detail but they’re still cool. What I didn’t like. I will not go into details in the case, you want to read it, but for me was a nightmare and after dragging myself for the first half of the book (400 pages of barely something), I decided to drop it. But here is a list of SOME of my problems with the book in random order because I already spent too much time on this. ►The writing is bizarre, in some parts the author proves to be able to write quite well and with a certain complexity and ability to describe, in others, there is no description at all. I still have no idea about how Miree looks or what is most of the people in this world wearing, except for dirt? Some paragraphs go in the details about X thing happening and then you have a “and then they marched for a week and arrived.” to summarize the rest of the event. I had the impression that the author wrote the parts he was interested in / liked and then connected them halfheartedly. The beginning is one of the most affected parts and I struggled to overcome the first chapters, especially the dialogues are simplistic and flat and you can’t distingue who is talking half the time. It’s all tell and no show. ►SO MANY DEUX EX MACHINA. And so many dialogues for lore exposition/lore drop. ► The characters are some of the least characterized ones I read in a lot of time, they aren’t even just stereotypes, they’re just there and you can easily summarise them with one or two words. I remember thinking after taking half a day's pause, “Ah, yeah, this is the angry woman protagonist and this is the man one.” and that’s all I have to say after about 400 pages about them. Also, nobody likes nobody else and while this might be a narrative choice, because “they come from a gritty and dark and angsty and terrible post-apocalyptic world where you have to kill or be killed”, it makes it difficult to care about anyone or to make any travelling section (and there is so much going around in this book) not being a sluggish fest. ►This book was listed in the LGBTQ + category of NetGalley, but despite one of the protagonists, Miree, being bi/pan (and if you want to count them, there're the incestuous clones that seem to have a preference for the male gender, except our POV clone that is the poor lonely special heterosexual) it’s anything but queer. The woman who is Miree's initial love interest is killed in the first 3 chapters and except for a couple of very vague and mundane attraction phrases, and the fact that her death accelerates a plan she already had in mind, there is well little about it and all it’s forgotten at the appearance of the male LI. In general, the aforementioned texture has the feeling of being an afterthought. It's not queerbaiting, but is it like the adjacent? XD “Are you a boy or a girl?” “I’m a man” (said the robot just rebooted that didn’t even know his name) ► Especially for being a sci-fi, he is painfully biological determinist, to the point that a character who until now has only seen clones of himself (and has never noticed it, but these are details), at the sight of a woman, who he doesn't know what she is, is instinctively drawn to her looks, her breasts and overwhelmed by a desire to protect her. And this is only the most striking case. ►That entire POV was painful to read because Arym is the scifi version of the "nice guy" and his behaviour towards Hawera is awful (but not in a “this is grey and morally ambiguous character” but in a “why should I care about this mediocre man” kind of way.) So yeah, to summarise, I would like to have the hours spent on this book back.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Frasier Armitage

    Epic doesn’t seem like a big enough word for Dark Theory. This book has EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. And now I’ve said it, I’m concerned that ‘everything’ might be an understatement. To put it simply, Dark Theory is the most perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy I’ve experienced. Reading this book felt like I’d entered a universe where Marvel Studios had hired Tolkien and Asimov to co-write their next big-budget all-star action-comedy romp. This is Stephen Hawking’s ‘Narnia.’ It’s Einstein’s Epic doesn’t seem like a big enough word for Dark Theory. This book has EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. And now I’ve said it, I’m concerned that ‘everything’ might be an understatement. To put it simply, Dark Theory is the most perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy I’ve experienced. Reading this book felt like I’d entered a universe where Marvel Studios had hired Tolkien and Asimov to co-write their next big-budget all-star action-comedy romp. This is Stephen Hawking’s ‘Narnia.’ It’s Einstein’s ‘Game of Thrones. ‘ It’s the ‘Fellowship Of The Ring’ on steroids, except, in place of the ring, you’ve got a self-aware existentially-challenged thermal-energy-shooting robot. Instead of sorcerers, there are astrophysicists. Forget hobbits, here we have beggar children who can somehow disappear and reappear as if they’re superpowered. And cast in the role of orcs, you’ll find Borg-like, mind-controlled drones with super-advanced weapons to contend with. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Seriously. I haven’t even mentioned time travel, clones, or an interdimensional super-race of beings. If you’re thinking that this all sounds like a lot for just one book, then you’re right. It is. So how does it all fit together? In a word: Brilliantly. If you like sci-fi or fantasy, there’s something here for you. It’s a book that’s written for the nerds, and it feels refreshing to see so much of what makes the genre soar all together in one place. It’s a glorious mixtape of your favourite hits, but somehow manages to feel new and exciting. The book staggers multiple points of view. If there’s a protagonist in all this, it’s Beetro, a robot with his memory wiped, who wakes up in a junkyard and begins searching for his identity. Where other robocentric books of recent times have opted to explore similar themes on a small scale, such as Simon Stephenson’s ‘Set My Heart To Five’ or Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Klara And The Sun,’ Wick Welker has taken the opposite approach. In Dark Theory, bigger is better. And I’m not just talking about page length. From the characters’ journeys, to the ideas it juggles, to the sheer scale of imagination on display, it all amounts to something that’s in equal parts mind-boggling, thrilling, and absurd. It makes the scope of something like Star Trek seem reserved. The intrigue and tone captured in the first few pages are sustained through the entirety of the book. Skip a page at your peril, because this moves at such a pace that missing a paragraph could easily leave you scratching your head. But all the plotting and the story pays off in a serious way when it comes to the climax, and, crucially, the book never leaves the characters behind. They’re unique, flawed, hilarious, and wonderful, despite the hellish torments they face as they traverse the dying world of a distant-future-Earth. As the title suggests, the book leans into science in a big way, but the technical details on display never feel inaccessible. At its heart, Dark Theory is a touching character study of what makes us human, spanning the role of friendship and the price of redemption. And did I mention it has a crazy amount of action? Some of the scenes are not for the faint-hearted, but they’re all necessary as characters struggle towards their goals. Am I allowed to say that it’s kind of a masterpiece? Because I’m sure that masterpieces aren’t supposed to be this funny. If you want a book that will suck you into a universe you can truly get lost in, it’s this one. Dark Theory justifies its scope by stretching into a bold start to a new science-fantasy series, but also digs deep into some heady and important themes. And it’s fun. Oh so very much fun. It’s the perfect escape for any fan of sci-fi or fantasy, and absolute iron-clad proof that these genres don’t have to exist in isolation, but can blend together beautifully to form something fresh and delicious. Dark Theory isn’t satisfied with just being epic. It’s epic squared. And it’s all the better for it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lee Hulme

    This is book 1 of I don’t know how many in the Dark Law series, and it looks like we have an epic fantasy quest that had babies with a sci-fi space opera - so I’m instantly interested, of course! Ingredients? We’ve got the galaxy slowly whirling towards destruction; everything around our protagonists chaotic and messy and dirty; a new warlord crushing the fiefdom in his fists; and everyone suffering. We’ve got the young rogue, Miree, seeking one last heist off of which to live out the rest of her This is book 1 of I don’t know how many in the Dark Law series, and it looks like we have an epic fantasy quest that had babies with a sci-fi space opera - so I’m instantly interested, of course! Ingredients? We’ve got the galaxy slowly whirling towards destruction; everything around our protagonists chaotic and messy and dirty; a new warlord crushing the fiefdom in his fists; and everyone suffering. We’ve got the young rogue, Miree, seeking one last heist off of which to live out the rest of her days on a pile of gold, hiding from the world. We’ve got the robot, Beetro, following Prime Directive: Find Creator, but with no memory of who that is - or of anything else, for that matter. So, obviously, these two meet and eventually decide to pull off the best heist ever (steal a sliver of the most valuable matter in the world). But all this, of course, is just the foreground. In the background is an unraveling galaxy, with only Beetro and his Very Special Powers able to prevent it - or quietly nudge it off the cliff and walk away. So like I said: epic fantasy space opera, featuring queer people, and I am totally here for it! First up - the prologue is great. No notes. Nice job. Sadly, our protagonists don’t make the most promising start. Miree is a grouch. She wants to make her score and retire from the world, because she hates everyone (except her scrapper friend, Lucindi). To eat, they need scrap, and if they can get a fusion core out of a scrapped robot that’ll sell for a lot. Unfortunately, she gets a living, self-aware robot instead. And those don’t sell at all. Beetro is very sweet, very cute. With no memory except “find Galiaro”, he’s curious about everything, and his questions annoy Miree no end. Her scrapper friend, Lucindi, likes him though, and he winds up tagging along, happily helping them out for nothing in return. And if your brain, like mine, has gone “well that’s suspicious as anything”, then you have some great surprises coming your way. Lucindi is much more relaxed and welcoming. She doesn’t shut herself off from the world, and she shares the little they have with the street rats and the town drunk. She used to be a street kid after all. Life in Korthe is hard and getting harder. Living will soon become impossible. They live in a cave they dug out of a mound of dirt, planting bushes at its mouth for camouflage. Miree grouches about Lucindi sharing with the street kids (one of whom is named Ribcage), but Lucindi does it anyway. I want to note some things here about the content. We are told that Lucindi is dark in colour. Miree? Her colour isn’t mentioned. Ditto other characters throughout. So we’re faced with the all-too-common ‘default white’ scenario, which is a shame. Especially when the gender-essentialism rears its head from an old white guy… While I’m on this, there’s also a fair bit of ableist language in the character dialogue, so be aware of that. I don’t think any of these things are a conscious bias on the part of the author, though I think he could learn to do better. So I settled it in my head by highlighting certain passages, adding a middle finger emoji as a note, then moving on. And I'll also give a content warning that the book contains violence which includes imprisonment, murder and torture. It's never a huge section, but it does crop up a few times. It's a big book (see above, re: epic fantasy space opera), with unexpected hints of magic and queerness (really, it's SO rare to find, and here it is, written well and everything!). If you like epic fantasy and space opera, robots and world-ending catastrophe, terrible science and street rats with knives - then this is a book for you! And I look forward to the sequel.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Folk-Williams

    Wick Welker’s Dark Theory (the first volume of a series called Dark Law) poses basic questions about what it means to be human in a far-future poisoned world. The story begins in a junkyard where people have to scavenge the means of survival. Two young women, the generous-hearted Lucindi and the hardened and cynical Miree, discover a broken robot. Largely due to Lucindi’s kind concern, they dig out the bot and revive him rather than break him apart for his valuable components. Self-aware, short i Wick Welker’s Dark Theory (the first volume of a series called Dark Law) poses basic questions about what it means to be human in a far-future poisoned world. The story begins in a junkyard where people have to scavenge the means of survival. Two young women, the generous-hearted Lucindi and the hardened and cynical Miree, discover a broken robot. Largely due to Lucindi’s kind concern, they dig out the bot and revive him rather than break him apart for his valuable components. Self-aware, short in stature and made of a mysterious blue metal, he remembers only his name, Beetro, and his mission, to find Galiaro, who, he thinks, must be his maker. Welker creates a moving portrait of human decency and kindness in these opening pages, but those qualities are quickly threatened by the brutal reality of the power-hungry General Deluvius and his massive invading army. Whether or not these characters can survive in a crushing world where they constantly question who they are is a beautifully wrought theme of Dark Theory. This is a strong start to a fascinating series. Beetro and his companions set out to find Galiaro on a journey that could come straight out of a fantasy novel. They have to cross plains full of radiation-poisoned water, navigate forests of trees that kill humans, confront a menacing cyborg group called the Reticulum, climb precipitous mountains, and cross a dangerous sea on their way to the city of Orion. ........ Throughout their journeys the main characters face hard moral choices: to aid strangers or to fight them, to share knowledge and possessions or to hide them, to use power to help others or to attack them. And each main character has an arc, usually through a lot of pain, emotional or physical, to learn how to survive in a collapsing world without losing all humanity. It is Beetro who has to face the greatest challenges. As he tries to regain his memory, he learns he may not be the decent, caring person he seems to be but rather a dangerous and power-hungry force for evil. This seems preposterous to him, but he does have these strange dreams of a vast army turning to him for guidance. Welker draws you in to find out how Beetro and the others will respond to the violent tests of their humanity. Dark Theory is full of intriguing science fictional explanations of impossible phenomena and lots of advanced technology, but the story blends in lots of many elements of fantasy. Welker makes that work quite well, but the way he has structured the book takes us through some repetitive scenes and stretches everything out just a bit too much. At over 800 pages, the novel brought out my editorial mind. Surely, you could cut this, combine those, shorten the whole thing and only improve a very good story. So it can feel like a slog at times, and that’s unfortunate because I really like this book, with its quirky characters, wild science and bristling landscapes. I just thought a serious trimming down would have improved the whole thing. Read the full review at SciFi Mind.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Metaphorosis

    3.5 stars, Metaphorosis Reviews Summary At the dusk of the world, two trash scavengers find a functional robot. That discovery sets off a complex journey across lands and cultures to find a way to escape the end of everything. Review There’s a host of interesting ideas in this book. Probably too many, in fact. They never feel very fully explored. There’s obviously more to see in future volumes – some of the intriguing cultures mentioned barely get a look in here, but clearly will later in the serie 3.5 stars, Metaphorosis Reviews Summary At the dusk of the world, two trash scavengers find a functional robot. That discovery sets off a complex journey across lands and cultures to find a way to escape the end of everything. Review There’s a host of interesting ideas in this book. Probably too many, in fact. They never feel very fully explored. There’s obviously more to see in future volumes – some of the intriguing cultures mentioned barely get a look in here, but clearly will later in the series – but I found myself wishing that there was less to see and more to focus on. The problem is somewhat exacerbated by a moderately large cast of characters. There, however, Welker does a good job of keeping them straight for despite a dizzying array of permutations and settings. Despite being far, far in the future, gender roles seem to have reverted to those of the late 1900s – not just in one culture, but broadly. There are strong female characters, but they’re clearly operating largely in patriarchal societies. To be fair, there are some indications that there may be other societies in future volumes. Perhaps because we’re rushed so fast through so many situations, there are a number of weak points and downright gaps that aren’t well papered over. A valuable robot in an impoverished, desperate society gets few looks and no attempts to take it. A sizeable army approaches without anyone really noticing. Some (re)inventions appear to come out of the blue, very conveniently. The robot is extremely human in his (yes, his) emotions and introspection. A miner in an isolated community somehow has context and even terminology for a host of surprise discoveries, including advanced science. Keeping in mind that this is an ARC, the book needed substantial proofreading, including some consistent errors that made me worry a bit what the final, polished product may look like. While the prose is broadly smooth, there are some semantic errors that caused me concern. I did like some of the moments of humor that helped leaven a pretty long book. Overall, I liked the accoutrements, but found the overall story too thin and patchy, with too many weak points, too many convenient saves, and too little patience. I think the book would have benefited from several more rounds of editing, and a little more narrative discipline. Promising, but not quite ready. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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