I had an eBook copy of The Age of Miracles sitting on my Kinde for over a year, and I felt like I should really get to it and read it. When it was first published, it sounded OK, but I wasn’t immediately captured by the main theme of the story. I thought about it and gave in, thinking if I had an inkling, I should just go for it.
Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:
About The Book
‘The Age of Miracles’ by Karen Thompson Walker
WHAT IF our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours until day becomes night and night becomes day?
‘It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophies are always different – unimagined, unprepared for, unknown…’
What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her own life..?
One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.
I would describe The Age of Miracles as a more contemporary novel, and, although marketed as Adult Fiction, being written from a 12 year old girls perspective gives it a younger vibe, possibly being suited more for young adults.
Set in California, America, this novel tells a story about how the rotation of the earth begins to slow, making days longer; first in minutes, then stretching to hours, and the days. The events are told to the ready from the point of view of Julia, a 12 year old school girl who explains the slight and dramatic changes that happen due to ‘the Slowing’. The story line was quite predictable, the reader constantly knowing that the earth was slowing down, and that things were going to be changing. It’s a no brainer that this was going to affect gravity, how long daylight and nighttime hours were, and the growing of plants and crops for food. There was also the debate between ‘real time’ and ‘clock time’, where the government wanted everyone to continue to obey 24 time, even though days were getting longer, resulting in ‘white nights’ and ‘dark days’.
The plot was quite slow, apart from the Slowing, not much really happened in the way of a plot line. The only things to really mark the story was the changes to the earth, and that was merely just a statement compared to an actual event. To praise Walker, however, everything was very logical and a lot of research must’ve been done to accurately replicate something like this happening in a piece of fictitious literature. Due to the fact that the main point of the story was the Slowing, not a lot of characters were really introduced to the story, and when they were, they were quite plain. I think the author wanted to focus more on the Slowing than the character development. If I had to pick a favourite character, I would have to say Julia’s grandfather. He was very content with the whole situation and seemed like a nice, neutral character to be around during this ‘apocalyptic’ time on earth.
To be honest, all of the characters were quite limp and lifeless in my opinion. To me, they really lacked the anxiousness that I would feel if this was really happening as a real situation.
There wasn’t really a lot to guess in the story, apart from towards the end when Julia’s grandfather went missing. As I previously mentioned, I felt like everything was all very predictable, and attempts at big events, affairs and relationships were half hearted. My favourite part of the book was the only part that really resembled to formation of a romantic relationship, which was Seth and Julia on the roof watching out for a space ship to return to earth, only to find it doesn’t make it.
For me, I really didn’t connect with he style of writing, which is why I think even big events seemed to be quite limp and not very tense or exciting. The book didn’t strike any emotion into me, but it did make me think about what I would do in this particular situation; whether I would like to live by real time or clock time, and it definitely gives the reader something to think about whilst reading.
I would recommend The Age of Miracles to readers who are more interested in borderline fantastical reality novels, with an apocalyptic twist. I found this book was a more love-or-hate type of book. You will either fall in love with it, or you will find it very dry and boring.
My Rating: 3 Muffins out of 5
Where To Buy
If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):
Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)