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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

6 / 30 books. 20% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

9 / 51 states. 18% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

8 / 50 books. 16% done!

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13 / 50 books. 26% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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25 / 50 books. 50% done!

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22 / 52 books. 42% done!

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18 / 40 books. 45% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

13 / 40 books. 33% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

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3 / 25 books. 12% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

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12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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12 / 100 books. 12% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

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27 / 104 books. 26% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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26 / 52 books. 50% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 165 books. 16% done!
Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Luminous Station Eleven A Unique Post-Apocalyptic Must-Read

(Image from author's website)

On an otherwise ordinary winter's night in Toronto, Canada, a famous actor dies onstage during a performance of King Lear.  Jeevan Chaudhary, a papparazzo turned EMT, rushes from his seat in the audience to pump the man's heart back into action.  He fails, while Kristen Raymonde, an 8-year-old actress, looks on in horror.  The night is memorable not just for the actor's death, but because it's the night a devastating flu epidemic begins to spread with deadly speed.  The carnage is only beginning.  

Fifteen years later, Kristen is traveling the ruined, post-apocalyptic world with a band of actors and musicians.  For them, life isn't just about survival, it's about preserving the art and music that once flourished all around them.  It's about sharing beauty, spreading joy even in desperate circumstances.  Risking their own safety, the Traveling Symphony performs concerts and plays in makeshift settlements all around the Great Lakes region.  While the area is mostly safe, danger always lurks around the corner in this strange, new land.

As the Traveling Symphony encounters a chilling menace, the tale sweeps back and forth in time, filling in the back stories of the main players.  As their pasts and presents intertwine, it's their relationships that sustain them, their bravery that saves them, and their desire for a life beyond mere survival that elevates them.

It's tough to describe the plot of Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel's award-winning novel.  It's even harder to explain its luminous, elegiac beauty.  To say it's unique, different from other post-apocalyptic stories, just doesn't seem quite adequate.  It's true, though.  Most dystopians rely heavily on dramatic plot surprises to keep the reader turning pages—Station Eleven leans on its characters.  They're complex enough, interesting enough, to command the reader's attention all on their own.  It's the discovery of who the characters are at heart, plus finding the clever twists of fate that connect them that makes this novel such a pleasure to read.  I wish I could capture the magic of this book in words, but I just can't.  Luckily, there's an easy (and enjoyable) solution—Read Station Eleven for yourself. 

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder invectives), violence, depictions of illegal drug use, and mild sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Station Eleven from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  

Second Madman's Daughter Novel Brings New Twist to the Series

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Her Dark Curiosity, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, The Madman's Daughter.  As always, I recommend reading series in order.)

Months after escaping the island of horrors created by her father, the infamous Dr. Moreau, Juliet is back in London.  The 17-year-old has been taken in by an old family friend, giving her the stability to remake her life.  As much as she longs to forget her dark legacy altogether, Juliet finds that at least some of its pieces have followed her back to England.  Edward Prince, now known as Dr. Jakyll, makes a disturbing appearance, as does his alter ego, a vengeful beast.  It can't be coincidence that Juliet's acquaintances are falling victim to a murderer who appears to claw them to death.  As if this weren't enough to deal with, Juliet's barely managing to keep her own inner beast under control.  Her father's corrective serum is becoming less effective every day.  If she can't recreate it for herself, her own animal instinct will surely take over.

As Juliet's world devolves into chaos and violence, she must figure out how to save not just herself, but also all the people she loves most.

Just like The Madman's Daughter spun a classic horror novel (The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells) in a new direction, so does Her Dark Curiosity, the second installment in Megan Shepherd's popular Gothic trilogy.  Weaving elements of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde into the narrative gives the story another layer of intrigue.  Atmospheric and eerie, the tale is both chilling and exciting.  Juliet continues to annoy with her fickleness, especially when it comes to romance.  Love triangles are almost always irritating—this one is no exception.  All in all, though, I enjoyed Her Dark Curiosity.  The twist at the end pushes the series in a new direction, which convinced me to give the final book a chance even though I haven't been as impressed with the first two as I'd hoped to be.

(Readalikes:  The Madman's Daughter and A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence/gore, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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