Sheena Lambert's Reviews > The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
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Feb 03, 2013

really liked it
Read in July, 2012

Most books I read a book serve as a form of escapism, a little welcome holiday from life.
But some books get inside your head, altering how you see your own life, even as you are reading them. Changing your perspective on the real world.
The Age of Miracles is one of those books. The Da Vinci COde had a little of the same effect - I never looked at his paintings in the same way again. But the Age of Miracles did it better. Without spoiling anything, I can say that the book begins with the mass-realisation that the earth's spin is slowing down. The phenomenon is termed The Slowing. I read the book in half a week, and found myself nervously watching the skies more than once over those few days. Was it me, or was the sunsetting very late? Did the moon look particularly orange and large, or did it always look like that at this time of year? Hmmmm.......
The premise behind the book is fantastic. A quarter of the way through, I was sure this would be a 5-star rating (only my second for a novel on Goodreads). The writing is great. The main character, being an 11-year-old girl, is the perfect heroine, insofar as the writer can never get TOO scientific, which suits the reader. There is enough science here to deal with, but it never gets annoyingly-complicated.
But I had one major gripe with the book. A third of the way through, I was waiting for the main plot to start. Two-thirds of the way through, I was still waiting. And at the end, it became apparent that there was to be no main story-line, apart from The Slowing, and how it effected everyone and everything over the course of a year. More of a memoir, than a novel.
Now, perhaps this was what the author intended. Maybe she thought that The Slowing was story enough in itself. And maybe she was right. I still was excited to get back to the book every night, and I enjoyed almost every part of it.
But there was the odd time where I felt a little patronised (for example, the effect on the tides was repeatedly explained, as if the reader mightn't have grasped it the first time) and most chapters began with a discription of some new effect The Slowing was having, all of which was interesting, but became a little repetitive. Had there been another narrative, a main storyline running through the book, I think The Miracle of Ages would have been a 5 star rating.
But even as it is, I would highly recommend it, especially to anyone with an interest in science or the environment. A great read.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn will certainly read it - sounds a little like 'The Earth hums in B flat' from what I remember - that mixture of scieence and coming of age - or maybe I'm thinking of something else. Best vcxoming of age books I've read are 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' and 'The summer of my German soldier'. thanks for recommendation! BTW just finished John Boyne's 'The Absolutist' - loved it, Evelyn

message 2: by Eske (new)

Eske Great review Sheena - another for "the queue"

Sheena Lambert Great, will add to the To Read list!! It's just getting longer...

Alicia Thank you for this review. I am almost halfway through the book right now and am finding myself a little unmotivated to continue on as, as you said, it is becoming a meer description of the changing times, but is lacking the grasping plot. I keep thinking that by the next turn of the page the book will pick up its pace and that something more drastic will occur, but at this point it seems like a somewhat bland retelling of an apocalypse. I wish I would feel more emotion from the character, that the melancholic atmosphere would subside. I am also frustrated, so far, that none of the characters are experiencing that typical 'end of the world' crisis and that the question, 'what will happen when the world completely stops turning?' hasn't been proposed.................... alright, well second half, here I come, I won't give up yet...

Sheena Lambert Hi Alicia! Don't give up, it is a good read overall, but I'm glad you felt the same as I did! I hate to be negative about books - just cos I didn't like something doesn't mean someone else might - I still think I would buy her second book, whenever it comes out. I look forward to hearing how you get on with the second half!
Sheena x

Alicia Thank you for the support! I will get back to you when I am done! :)

Louisa Phillips What's her 2nd book sheena?

Sheena Lambert I haven't heard of one yet. I meant I wld get it (if she wrote another) based on liking Age of M. Sx

Rhianna Great review! I also found myself watching the moving clouds in trepidation as I was reading...

message 10: by Kari (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kari So spot on with explaining the changes I the tides---I was like. YEAH---WE GET IT! THE TIDES ARE MESSED UP!!

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