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...to the excellent quality of the reviews that have already been written here about Age Of Miracles. Like others have commented, YA is not my usual genre, and if this book had not been marketed as speculative fiction, I would surely have missed it.
I'm very glad that I did not. Seeing the changing world through young Julia's eyes is quite remarkable, and the author maintains a rhythm and a style (throughout nearly all of the book) that is both consistent and powerful. "Of course," I eventually thought, "this is exactly the way it would happen. People would continue to live their lives, fall in love, argue with family members, interact with their pets, make plans, have dreams of the future." This simple and pure quality is what distinguishes The Age of Miracles from other dystopian fiction I have read, and it takes the voice of a child on the brink of adulthood to convey it.
I also agree, however, that the ending is abrupt, and damages the otherwise smooth flow of the novel. I'm not sure what else there was to say, but the transition of years could have been more artful, and I am surprised that her editors did not insist on it.
While this is not always the case, I am quite certain that I would not have enjoyed this book as much in print. Emily Janice Card takes on a challenging task and does it flawlessly. She is apparently in synch with the author's intentions and does not distort the characters with her own interpretations. I sometimes think that the worst readers sit down with a book, completely unfamiliar with it and its intentions, signal for the mike to go live, and start to read. Clearly, Ms. Card understood this book before she began, and it is a masterful performance.
To those of you who are undecided about spending a credit for this book, I urge you to do so. I seldom just sit and listen to a book, preferring to let the book accompany me as I do dishes, clean house, or paint. I sat and listened to this book until it was finished. I will not forget it soon.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
There's been buzz about this book for quite a while now, and I have anxiously awaited it's arrival. While other books in similar situations recently have been a disappointment, this book deserves the recognition it's quickly garnered.
Our story is told by Julia, an 11 year old only child of a doctor and part-time teacher. She is enjoying a happy, typical childhood in Southern California, until the fateful Saturday that the news goes public; the rotation of the earth is slowing.
As both days and nights continue to grow in length over time, and the 24 hour clock looses all meaning in relation to the days and nights, the entire landscape of Julia's childhood and anticipated future begin to change. Some of these changes are easily anticipated, while others come as more of a surprise.
The book is told in past tense; allowing you to wonder as you progress through her story where Julia is now, and who we, her anticipated audience, are to be. The other benefit of the past tense is that while the story is being framed from the point of view of an 11 year old child, there is a subtle undercurrent of adult regret in the telling, as the older Julia tells us of that terrible first year of "the slowing". There is also something adult in Julia's growing discomfort of clocks; ticking away time she fears they no longer have, propelling them into a future she doesn't think she wants. The narration, performed by Emily Janice Card (yes, Orson Scott Card's daughter) also added greatly to the tone of the book, mixing child-like storytelling with tones of quiet nostalgia adults will recognize and respond to.
The author was very true to her point of view; at one point I found myself frustrated that we still hadn't really heard much about the economic fallout of the situation, until I realized; through the lens of an 11 year old girl, the focus will fall onto other matters. Once embraced, that fact seems to give the story it's authenticity.
At 9 hours in length, this book is not long; but as 11 year old Julia acknowledges, "Sometimes the saddest stories take the fewest words."
A well written, well read, sad and touching story.
36 of 39 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It's a sad story but easy to go through. Kinda leaves you with bittersweet flavour in the end. I was left with sort of a big Why?! but overall i enjoyed it and the narrator is really good!