Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review and Giveaway: "Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker

Title: Age of Miracles
Karen Thompson Walker
Random House
Date Published:
June 26, 2012

**I have an extra copy of this hot-of-the-presses book to give away to a reader! Leave a comment below to enter, and be sure to include a way for me to contact you.  Extra entries for following on GFC or Bloglovin'.  Giveaway will close 11:59PM Pacific, Monday, July 2.**

How I Heard About It: This book has been all over the blogosphere and book world recently, getting rave reviews from Barnes and Noble and book-a-holics. I jumped at the chance to review for TLC Book Tours and was provided with an advanced readers' copy by the publisher.

Two Sentence Summary:  The life of adolescent protagonist Julia (and her family, and the whole world) becomes completely disrupted by breaking news that the rotation of the earth has begun to slow.  Days grow exponentially longer and the population becomes divided with fear of impending Armageddon, while Julia and her family deal with quieter disasters of survival: aging, relationships, and the lies we tell our loved ones out of necessity.

Things I Think:  For a novel that extends into the realm of science fiction, "The Age of Miracles" certainly occupies a different space than others recently published under such a banner.  Walker treats "The Slowing" as almost a backdrop to a more immediate story of a family disintegrating: the marriage of Julia's parents is under fire and Julia's grandfather becomes increasingly enmeshed in eccentric tactics of survivalism.  Julia experiences her first betrayal by too-cool classmate Hannah and finds herself falling inexplicably in love with the quiet, handsome skaterboarder that rides her bus.

Many reviewers have pointed out that this is more a "coming of age" story than a dystopian novel, and I would have to agree. While The Slowing and its many ecological ramifications (birds falling from the sky,  death of vegetation, the dangerous destruction of circadian rhythms) are ever-present, they serve as mostly a backdrop, throwing into stark relief the behaviors humans adopt when threatened.  And for all of this to be told from the perspective of an adolescent girl results in a brutally honest representation of how flawed the adults in her life have become. 

Walker writes beautiful prose, and its understated elegance really suits her subject matter.  The quiet, pensive nature of the narration parallels the concept of "slowing," or of lengthened time.  I did wonder, at times, if the voice was a bit too omniscient:  Julia's powers of deduction/observation seem almost superhuman for such a young person, which is equally compelling and frustrating for me.  Perspective is certainly a big discussion point that surrounds Walker's new novel, and I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on how it has been handled.

**Don't forget! Leave a comment to win a brand spankin' new copy!**

Thank you so much to TLC for inviting me to be a host on this tour.  There are still several stops left for "Age of Miracles," so to read further reviews be sure to check out the schedule!


A Novel Review- Laura Kay said...

I love coming of age stories! Thank-you for the great review. I know I read Salvation City and thought too it was more coming of age than dystopian novel as well. I haven't read too many 'dystopian' novels, so makes me wonder if that tends to be a common theme? Thanks for the giveaway!

Laura Kay

Amanda Cobb said...

This sounds intriguing! It's on my to-read list now even if I don't win your extra copy. :)

Amanda Cobb said...

I also follow you on GFC. ;)


Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I love the idea of this book and I'm interested to see what physical reactions the author describes as being caused by The Slowing.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

nfmgirl said...

Oh, this book was quickly added to my Wish List the first time I heard of it! Please count me in. Thanks so much!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com