Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Genres:  Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: September 9th 2014

3 OUT OF 5 STARS

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

A story told from several different points of view set many years apart but all delicately intertwined with one another. It takes place before and after civilizations collapse due to a virus known as the Georgia Flu. The novel boasts a wide cast of characters from a travelling symphony, a stage actor, a paparazzo turned paramedic and weaves an intricate story about life and survival.

The opening chapters are definitely the strongest in the entire book. It hooks the reader immediately with drama, pandemic, and death. In general the parts before or just after the outbreak of Georgia Flu tend to be the high points of the novel. The parts twenty years or so after are interesting, but even in their most exciting moments seem a little flat.

There are parts of the book that are undeniably exciting.There are little reveals littered throughout the text that surprise you, but it still doesn’t shake the feeling that it’s all very mundane. The book does not feel like a book about the collapse of civilization it feels like a daily life drama. Things happen but it never feels like anything big is happening. There is no real definable climax, the book just starts and plows steadily towards the end.

There are quite a few interesting characters presented, but I felt robbed of the chance to truly bond with any of them. Kirsten certainly gets enough page-time but more interesting characters are left on the sidelines. It was brilliant how all the characters were somehow touched and tied together by Arthur Leander. The author has developed the relationships very well and connected everything rather flawlessly. The interest is not really in the character as people but how they’re connected to the world and the other characters around them.

The book definitely makes a case for the lasting power of art and why artists are important. The weaving of the stories and characters was masterful, but I didn’t really feel anything for any of those things individually. The writing was at times beautiful and at times painfully pretentious.

It’s brilliant as a whole and does have it’s moments, but it wasn’t as thrilling as it should have been.

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Read this if you’re a fan of: Matched

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