Tag Archives: Pandemic

Review: Station Eleven

Station Eleven

Station Eleven
By Emily St. John Mandel
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780385353304, September 2014, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

Civilization ends and begins and through it all there is music and Shakespeare.

The Rest of It:

I’m not sure I can even sum this book up! This is a crazy good book but not in your typical sense of what crazy good is. It spans decades and begins with the death of an actor while he’s onstage during a production of King Lear. Through flashbacks, we get to know Arthur Leander, his loves, his personalities and all the relationships he’s touched in-between. His death on-stage is witnessed by many, including a child actor named Kristen, who later is part of the Traveling Symphony roaming what is left of civilization after a pandemic. The man who comes to his aid, and fails, also appears later in the story and is one of the first to figure out that the “flu” that everyone is coming down with, is not your average bug.

This story will haunt you. The visuals of a landscape changed by illness are chilling. I don’t want to scare anyone away from it so I will say this, it’s not your typical ‘end of the world’ scenario. You can read, even in the dead of night and not have nightmares but just the idea of art and music existing in such a wrecked and broken world is enough to blow your mind. Plus, the use of time is handled very well. I am not a huge fan of jumping back and forth in time to tell a story but the before and after in this one works to really give you an idea of just how much has changed.

Is there hope? Is it too bleak of a story? No. I think that the continuation of art in and of itself is a sign of something good. I’ve not read anything by this author before and I understand she has a few other books out. I will definitely check them out since I enjoyed this one so much.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Here and Now

The Here and Now
The Here and Now
By Ann Brashares
(Delacorte Press, Hardcover, 9780385736800, April 8, 2014, 256pp.)

The Short of It:

Every now and then, I reach for something just because I know it will be a quick, fun read. The Here and Now, was that book.

The Rest of It:

Prenna James, born into a world riddled by plague, leaves the 2080’s with her mother and a group of time travelers in order to escape what the world has become. They travel to the present day, where she must mingle with other teens, assimilate, or risk losing everything.

This was a super quick read and if you like time travel, reading this will be a nice way to spend the afternoon. It felt very YA, and I believe it is categorized as such but I still enjoyed it. Some of the story was a little predictable and convenient, but overall it was what it promised to be. I would have liked more of the 2080’s, to get a real feel for what she was escaping from but that is the fatalist in me talking. I love a world riddled by catastrophe so of course I wanted to spend a little more time there.

I could see my daughter reading this and she is only ten so that should give you an idea of the reading level. Overall, simple, quick, fun.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.