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Review: Station Eleven

Station Eleven
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in place of an honest review.

Straight off, without faffing around, I’ll confess that I loved this book. When I first heard about it, I thought, “ah, the world needs another trilogy chronicling a dystopian future.” Luckily this is just a single book, dense with wonderful characters, armed with a long list of positive reviews, so indeed it seems the world did need one more.

Emily St John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” nestles between the bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”, and the accessible glut of YA heroines battling corrupt regimes – you know the ones I mean. Like those other books, the world has crumbled, society has fallen, anarchy rules the land, and yes, a heroine is wandering the land, but that’s not the focus of “Station Eleven”. Instead, the story flits between the now (twenty years after a virulent flu decimated the world’s population) and the few years leading up to that fateful day, or Year Zero as the survivors call it.

The story cleverly weaves numerous flashbacks, all linked by a dubious level of coincidence, but still remaining believable at all times. The writing is sparse, more is left unsaid than said, and that suits the world being described. It’s a dangerous time: anarchy rules, killing is the only way to guarantee survival.

This is an excellent book, worthy of the praise it’s received, and highly recommended.

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By Colin Marks

#4 Amazon short story author. My work is also published by Smashwords. First YA novel due early 2012, to be followed by an adult thriller.