Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
PJV Quickie: Station Eleven was recommended to me by a few friends and my local librarian and I have seen nothing but fabulous reviews. Unfortunately, while the premise was good and the writing was exceptional, the story still managed to fall flat for me.
A super-flu wipes out 99% of the worlds' population in a matter of weeks. Years later, pockets of humans live without electricity, antibiotics, or any 'modern' conveniences. "Before", Arthur Leander is an actor who dies in the middle of a performance of King Lear. "After", Kirsten Raymonde is part of a troupe of actors and musicians that travel between towns, playing music and performing Shakespeare's plays. Comprised of alternating scenes from "before" and "after", Station Eleven is both mundane and tragic, straddling the line between ordinary and otherworldly.
I really hate to say it, but even though Station Eleven was beautifully written, it just didn't work for me. I haven't read a "non-romance" book in several years, but coming off Andy Weir's The Martian, I figured I'd try another one and give Station Eleven a go. I think I need to dip back into the Romance pool, because apparently I need a Happily Ever After, or at least the promise of one, to really enjoy a story.
The writing in Station Eleven was wonderful, but I just didn't like the main character, Arthur Leander. So much of the story involves him and his life, and I just didn't find him to be a sympathetic character. At all. Honestly, he was kind of a self-centered jerk and that feeling of distaste stuck with me throughout most of the book.
I also had some difficulty keeping track of all the characters from both before and after. And while I found life "after" to be kind of interesting as a dystopian-type society, I really struggled with boredom in the "before" parts of the story -I can't disclose why without giving away spoilers, but let's just say that's not a good thing.
I will say that Ms. St. John Mandel paints a beautiful portrait with her words; I could absolutely envision the world "after", as well as certain elements that thread through both parts of the story. Her descriptions make me wish there was a companion graphic novel, because I think it would be spectacular.
I think fans of Erin Morganstern's The Night Circus will enjoy Station Eleven, although there are no magical or paranormal elements. I might also recommend Station Eleven to fans of The Handmaid's Tale or other Margaret Atwood books.