Reviews

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

kariann_reading_journey's review against another edition

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3.0

While this story had all of the elements necessary to be a hit for me, it unfortunately ended up falling a little flat. I’m not sure if it was the changing timelines, bouncing between characters, or feeling both too long and short at the same time but for some reason it didn’t resonate with me. I wanted to like it and enjoy it, but I often found my focus drifting throughout the story. The other problem I had was that I couldn’t connect to the characters. This also made it difficult for me to be invested in the story. Part of this was due to main plot points being skipped over like what happened in the year Kirsten can’t remember. Clearly there was a major shift from child to fighter but that development is completely skipped. For me, I feel I would’ve liked it better if it stuck with the post pandemic timeline rather than bouncing back and forth. There could’ve been a quick flashback to set the stage and then remained in the post pandemic world. Overall, it’s not a bad book by any means as seen by the number of glowing reviews, it’s just not for me.

joanwolf's review against another edition

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5.0

When I am asked for book recommendations, I always add this one to the list immediately. Even if post-apocalyptic fiction isn't your "thing", this book offers so much more than that. It offers a commentary on human experience and response to trauma and loss; it offers a suggestion that we are more than just a successful career and an expensive wardrobe; it offers a belief that despite differences we can all work together to thrive in or out of society; it offers hope.

This isn't your typical post-apocalyptic novel. Unlike other novels of the genre, it doesn't focus on the chaos and anarchy that ensues after calamity destroys civilization as we know it: while it does briefly touch on some of this theme, it focuses primarily on how society re-builds itself after it is destroyed. History has proven that this re-building is inevitable because humans are social creatures that thrive from creating societies. This novel traces several storylines that eventually link together, spanning decades to trace the years prior to the Event and then jumping to the days when people are dying by the millions, eventually jumping forward to twenty years after the Event. It goes from a society that we are familiar with, and transitions to the re-built civilization of a post-apocalyptic world, and one, I would argue, is more realistic and relatable than many of the other novels of this genre.

The novel causes us to question our lives and what we value the most in our own circumstances. It challenges the traditional idea in this genre that the chaos is the most interesting plotline, and instead look at what adds value to our existence. The motto of the novel is "Survival is Insufficient" (which is taken from an episode of Star Trek); this motto does not let the characters merely survive, feed themselves, build fires, protect themselves against robbers and vagabonds, rather it challenges the characters to find something they love and that they are passionate about, and encourages them to pursue these passions.

It's refreshing to read a book that puts a new spin on a familiar genre. Not only does this book accomplish that, but it also connects you to the characters in a strong way because you can easily put yourself in their shoes. You don't have to wildly imagine running away from zombies or being abducted by aliens, the tragedy in this novel is staunchly real, and therefore it calls the reader to think about their own life from a new perspective. Whether you like Shakespeare or not, I think we can all find something that adds value to our lives, something that we would say is better than mere survival.

the_sunken_library's review against another edition

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4.0

A high 3 to low 4.

This dystopian novel gave me big "The Road" vibes, but with significantly more hope than the infamous McCarthy novel, which I really did not enjoy.

The plot is intelligent and intricate if a little slow. A flu virus turns into a pandemic that results in a huge part of the world's population dying - this causes society to crumble as governments and military are wiped out, along with those tasked with keeping the lights on and the water clean. Glad I didn't read this during covid!

The novel kicks off on the night a famous actor called Arthur Leander dies on stage. The novel jumps backwards and forwards in time, with the storyline circling around those who knew Arthur intimately, worked with him or were there the night he died along with the modern world. It plots his career, friendships and multiple failed relationships and juxtaposes them against an America that is now lawless and empty. An America where a travelling symphony performing Shakespeare brings entertainment and relief to those who have survived and now live in a world with no electricity, no long distance travel and basic communication. A world with a prophet preaching dangerous rhetoric...

I enjoyed this a lot and it's incredibly well written, but I felt the finale felt a little flat.

jennyluwho's review against another edition

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5.0

Delicate is not often a word I associate with post apocalyptic novels, but I believe it fits here. Such care and attention was paid to the text and details. And the whimsy of a 10 copy publication shaping the new world will be on my mind for a while.

xliqx's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional reflective slow-paced

4.5

hevlav's review against another edition

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dark mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75

5feet_of_fury's review against another edition

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3.0

The main story was like The Walking Dead but without the zombies.

lucky_19's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

mrerickeith's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

jjmp1993's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional hopeful sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0