Saturday, February 25, 2012

PREVIEW: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

I was recently sent an advance review copy of the book The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker from Random House of Canada.

The novel concerns a young woman, Julia, and her life as it relates to the new earthly phenomenon "the slowing".  It seems the earth has stopped rotating as fast as it once did and is now constantly slowing, creating longer and longer days and more and more problems for the planet's inhabitants.

The events surround "the slowing" unfold and the author keeps giving little hints as to what's to come, almost at the end of every chapter.  This felt a little forced to me, every chapter would end with a line like "We didn't understand all the symptoms then, but we soon would...." and then you'd have to turn the page and start reading the next chapter right away.  While this device was perhaps a bit overused, it did work and it really did keep me turning the pages.

Julia as a character doesn't seem fully fleshed out, but her life in combination with the world events are what keeps you going. Julia as a character is a great eye into the events surrounding "the slowing" and her child's eye view reminded me of say Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.

The end of the book feels a bit rushed, I was shocked to find I only had about 10 pages left at the point in the story I was at, but also as "the slowing" continues, physical events get overly complex and it ended up working for me, rather than have a 12 year old girl explain the theory of the earth's magnetic pull, these technical details are largely skipped over, especially as the book diverges more from scientific fact into imagined possibilities.  That being said, the story never seems bogged down with details which I appreciated.  I was kind of worried an "Armageddon" type scenario would unfold with Ben Affleck going to the moon but despite a difficult task, the author ends the book well and on a satisfying note.

The Age of Miracles is released on June 26, 2012 and will be the perfect summer read, while at the same time making you think, feel, and appreciate your electricity. 

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