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Review: The City of Mirrors

The City of Mirrors

The City of Mirrors
By Justin Cronin
Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345505002, May 2016, 624pp.

The Short of It:

There is a lot of pressure for the last book in a trilogy to be great and I feel that Cronin delivered with this one.

The Rest of It:

Long ago (2010), Cronin wrote The Passage and it was a huge hit. People hesitated to call it a “vampire” book because at the time, there were many vampire books out there for the taking. No, it was a little harder to describe.  Genetically modified creatures who happen to suck blood? Yes. That’s a better way to describe them. It was epic. Cronin created this desolate landscape and I loved it.

Then, book #2 came out, The Twelve. Although it certainly built upon the first book, which was mostly about the world going to hell in a hand basket, The Twelve focused on the effect of these “virals” on society as a whole.

This last installment,  is really very different. Cronin takes us back in time. The time before the virals roamed the earth. This surprised me. So much so, that there was one part of the book where I thought my Kindle malfunctioned and I was accidentally reading a different book. Nope, I was just reading about a viral before he was a viral but the back story was so well-developed that it almost felt like a different book to me.

It took me a long time to read this book because there was a tiny part of me that was very worried that it would not live up to the first two books but I worried for nothing. It was entertaining, thoughtfully told and I could tell that Cronin had a thing for some of his characters.

All in all, Cronin delivered and if you enjoy genre mashups of Science Fiction, Thrillers, Horror and the like, then you will enjoy this series.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Book of Aron

The Book of Aron

The Book of Aron
By Jim Shepard
Vintage, Paperback, 9781101872741, May 2016, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Based on true events, Shepard tells the story of a young boy and his family as they struggle to survive Germany’s occupation of the Warsaw Ghetto.

The Rest of It:

There are many books written about the Holocaust. Some are beautifully written and nearly all of them are pretty heavy in tone. This one is a little different. The story is told from a young boy’s point of view. A young boy who happens to be street smart and a bit of a wretch. Somehow, that makes the story he’s telling a little easier to digest.

Although not likable, Aron is a survivor and he comes in contact with many characters both young and old who directly impact him and his quality of life. Hunger, illness, lice outbreaks and the continued loss of personal property and loved ones, puts Aron on the street, and that is where he meets Dr. Janusz Korczak, a pediatrician , the true hero of this story.

As I said earlier, although fictionalized, the story is based on true events and when I turned that last page, I was eager to know more about Dr. Janusz Korczak (birthname Hersz Goldszmit). I think Shepard could have written the entire book about him.

All in all, The Book of Aron was a good book to discuss. The book club that I belong to had plenty to say about it. The pacing was a little slow in the beginning but it picked up about halfway through. I hesitate to say it but for a book with this subject matter, the tone felt lighter to me than most. It wasn’t particularly heavy until the end.

I’ve never read anything by Shepard before but now I am interested in reading his other book, Project X, about middle-school (another heavy topic),

Have you read The Book of Aron or Project X?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.