Goodreads: Science! The Elements of Dark Energy
Series: None so far
Tamsin Kuhn Trakroo is dedicated to destroying the Prometheus Institute, which she attends. Her late father, now a hologram in her glasses, demands revenge on the headmaster, the man he says killed him. But Tamsin has other worries on her mind, too. Her roommate Garyn has discovered a secret lab and a new energy source that could endanger her life. Is her father’s death linked to the lab?
Science! The Elements of Dark Energy has an intriguing premise–a teenage girl at a prestigious institute full of genius students and robot staff–speaks with her late father’s uploaded consciousness, now stored in her glasses. He wants her to destroy the very school she attends. However, I almost DNFed the book as soon as I began. The bland color palette and the artwork were not to my taste, and the random asides to provide science facts were off putting; I wanted a story, not a science lesson. Still, the volume is fairly short, so I struggled onward. In the end, Science! The Elements of Dark Energy does not distinguish itself from the myriad stories set in schools for prodigies and I actually liked it less than I have others, as I failed to connect emotionally with any of the characters.
I tend to like bright, colorful illustrations in my graphic novels, ones that seem upbeat, or perhaps dreamlike. Science! The Elements of Dark Energy, however, has a more subdued color palette that, combined with the detailed illustrations and the robots popping up periodically with science factoid speech bubbles, made the book feel simultaneously like a slog and a challenge. I was not initially sure I wanted to spend time trying to get through the story.
The story itself is not particularly original. Graphic novels set in special schools for geniuses or otherwise unusual students are common. Perhaps one could argue Science! The Elements of Dark Energy is unique in that the school is not for superheroes, but science geeks. However, I wanted something a little more than the old “special school holds a dark secret” plot line. It did not manage to feel fresh here.
The strong point of Science! The Elements of Dark Energy is its representation. Many strong women of color appear–including our smart and fearless protagonist–and the protagonist is into women. I think many readers will appreciate seeing characters of color depicted as knowledgeable about science. This will be especially appreciated as readers look for role models to encourage more students to become interested in STEM fields.
Science! The Elements of Dark Energy simply did not appeal to me with its bland color scheme, overly detailed illustrations, science fact insertions, and stale plot line. I wanted to be excited for science, but was mostly excited to finish the book.