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Book Review | Eleven Station (2014) By Emily St. John Mandel

I’ve finally found the time to write a book review and it feels so good. It’s been months since I last felt inspired enough to write one. For some reason, reading’s felt like a chore and a bore, which is not something I’ve felt in a while. Has that ever happened to you?

That being said, I’m so glad I decided to purchase the book on my Kindle before a weekend getaway, as I didn’t have high expectations. It was on my to read list (pretty sure I came across it at a bookstore) because I’ve always been a fan of novels with dystopian elements.  

Station Eleven tells the story of an apocalyptic world a couple of decades from now, of which almost the entirety of the global population is wiped out. I don’t want to giveaway the details but rest assured we’re not looking at a Walking Dead situation.

The slow decay of civilisation is told through multiple characters bound by a tangible remnant of the former world (aka a book), and takes place both before and after the ‘collapse’, as it’s called. Our modern existence and all its luxuries and seemingly meaningless pursuits are placed in stark contrast of survival and loss. Big questions like aging and progeny take on a different meaning as characters traverse a chaotic world, all the while holding on to memories of the former.

All in all, character development was good, setting was realistic, and the author’s intent, clearly heard. It was definitely hard to put down, not only for its popular fiction elements, but how engrossed you inevitably become with the world that Mandel’s created. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading her other books in the near future, but I’m definitely open to it.

Complaints: there were a number of questions left unanswered for me. While this may be the author’s intent, I felt that this was not exactly the type of elevated reading where omission was an expressive tool in itself. Also, there were a couple of cheesy plot twists and characters that I personally did not care for (e.g. hero narrowly escapes death at the very last moment, cult figure borne from early childhood trauma, etc.)

If you decide to read the book, be sure to let me know your thoughts. I’d also love any recommendations you may have for other dystopian novels; please leave them in the comments below. 

Coming up: a review for the best book I've read probably in the last year. Keep your eyes peeled!