I have mixed reactions to this book. And, full disclosure, I know Kimi, being part of a few different circles that she also inhabits in Tucson. Anyway: for a novel it took me a while to get through it. The first 2/3 or it or so were not motivating meI have mixed reactions to this book. And, full disclosure, I know Kimi, being part of a few different circles that she also inhabits in Tucson. Anyway: for a novel it took me a while to get through it. The first 2/3 or it or so were not motivating me to keep turning the pages, although it wasn't terrible. And then it started to pick up as plot points started happening more often and I was able to stay focused. Of course this may be because of other things that have nothing to do with the book, like the total garbage fire that is the real world right now, or my general lack of attention span these days.
At any rate, I found the book interesting in that the scenario it depicts is a valid attempt at sketching out some kind of continuing future after the fall of industrial civilization that isn't horribly gruesome and dark. But, it kind of is a little too feel-good. Maybe it would do better marketed as a YA novel? But for me the ending just kind of wrapped up a bit too nicely and happily.
Also, it felt somewhat mathematical in how every major character (view spoiler)[had to experience loss and grief over one friend or family member at about the same time in the storyline (Beatrix loses Flash, Carson loses Felix, and Rosie loses her abuela, among others). (hide spoiler)] It's almost like there was some formula or algorithm being followed. These kinds of visible strings leading up from the puppets to the puppeteer always kind of bother me. Furthermore, speaking of characters, I never really felt like I had to worry about any of the major ones. And none of them really changed much. They had obstacles to surmount, but I never believed that the stakes were that high for any of them. (Perhaps that's just my own anhedonia talking.)
I don't know. it was a fine first novel. And there needs to be more of this kind of story: the optimistic end-of-the-world story. Other antecedents I know of are Always Coming Home by Ursula Le Guin, and maybe Ecotopia, and... I'm not sure what else. There needs to be more explorations of the niche. Because we need to have visions to be inspired by these days. But, I would like fiction to also function as better literature, too, beyond inspirational parables....more