Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: "The Age of Miracles"

"The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker
First published in 2012
269 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5
(image source)

Julia was in sixth grade when "the slowing" started. She and her family and everyone else on the planet woke up one Saturday morning to learn that the earth's rotation had suddenly begun to slow, and the day grew by 56 minutes overnight.

There's no end in sight to the slowing -- and the number of hours in each day is constantly increasing, eventually rising to 30 and 50 and higher. That soon means daytime is not necessarily light and nighttime is not necessarily dark because the movements of the sun and moon don't always coincide with the 24-hour clock that most everyone is still trying to live by.

With the slowing, gravity becomes gradually stronger and many -- including Julia's mother -- experience debilitating gravity sickness. Weather, tides, crops, birds and whales and dogs and cats are affected. The most dependable thing about human life -- the rising of the sun in the morning hours and the setting of the sun in the evening hours -- is forever changed.

I was fascinated by the premise of this apocalyptic novel. How will the characters and the world at large cope with the lengthening days, and how long can they survive these new conditions before life is simply no longer sustainable on Earth?

The slowing has so many indirect effects -- Julia sees this in her friendships, her family life, her neighbors and how they all react to the world's drawn-out demise. This story of the earth's slowing rotation also includes secrets, lies and all the drama of middle school. Life goes on, even though no one has any idea how much longer they'll be alive.

"The Age of Miracles" was a quick and easy read, and I was hooked on the plot instantly. However, I felt the author fell a bit short in character development. Julia was ok, she was fine, but I didn't really care what happened to her -- I was really just curious to find out what happens to Earth. Still, I thought it was a good move to make Julia, our narrator, just a child when the slowing begins. Her innocence gives a much more dynamic perspective of the gradual end of the world than if she were an adult or even a teenager.

While this wasn't the best book I've read this year, I know I won't soon forget this novel about the day the earth slowed donw!

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting. I'm going to put it on my 'to read' list.


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