I have to say, I certainly enjoyed this book, however, I think my expectations were set a little too high. Prior to picking this one up, I had heard so many people rave about it. A post-apocalyptic novel about a travelling group of performers, this book discusses the resilience of the human spirit and the aspects of life are the most important when we lose everything. With that kind of description, can you blame me for expecting this book to move me in a deeply profound way?
Although I did enjoy and appreciate this novel, the story, and its characters, I really think the expectations for this one were impossible to meet. That being said, it’s definitely one of my favourite post-apocalyptic reads, and I’m not really a huge fan of the genre. The fact that I enjoyed this one certainly says something about its quality!
I think the main reason I didn’t give this one a higher rating was because it was a bit slow. Honestly, I felt the book dragged until the last third where we get to meet the group of people who made a life for themselves in an airport. Station Eleven is not a hugely plot-based novel, and it’s not action-packed or anything like that. Instead, we get glimpses into characters’ lives before and after the flu that sent the world into its post-apocalyptic state. I found the flu plot to be extremely interesting, as I am a sucker for pandemic-themed movies. I also loved how the book would jump between the past and the present, so we weren’t stuck walking throughout a devastated world for the whole story. That’s one of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of the genre – there’s an awful lot of walking 😛
Another aspect of the story that I really liked was seeing the connections unfold between the different characters. Throughout the novel, many of the characters’ lives and stories seem separate or disjointed from one another, however, little connections are revealed, whether it is someone in the post-apocalyptic world finding the possession of someone from the past, or people meeting somewhere along the way. I thought Mandel tied the characters together in a very masterful and subtle way.
Station Eleven is a novel that I would certainly recommend to everyone who is interested in the premise. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing this one turned into a movie. I don’t regret reading it, and in fact, the more I talk about it, the more I kind of want to boost the rating! However, I cannot help the fact that I was a little bit bored at times. Just don’t let the hype get to you and you’ll definitely enjoy this one!
To learn more about Emily St. John Mandel and her work, you can visit her website here –> http://www.emilymandel.com/