Review & Giveaway: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: June 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover | 288 pages
Rating: 4 of 5
We take for granted that the sun will rise each morning heralding the beginning of a new day. But what if it didn’t? What if the rotation of the earth began to slow? Days and nights would grow longer and longer. Our innate sense of time, cued by the sun, the moon, and the stars would no longer correspond to the 24 hour clock. The circadian rhythm of the planet would be thrown into disarray causing chaos. Could the planet and the life inhabiting it survive such conditions?
In The Age of Miracles, Julia and her family awake one morning to an announcement that just such an event has occurred. There had been a change, a slowing of the earth’s rotation, and it would continue slow down. Soon the governments of the world declared that all business would be run on 24-hour clock time regardless of whether it was day or night; but their decree of order could not stop the pending environmental disasters that were to come.
Julia narrates the story in the past tense and we experience the changes unfolding from her point of view as she looks back at that first year. While I consider this a science fiction novel because of the premise, it is not, as the description might imply, a dystopian novel. It is really more of coming of age story. There is not a lot of action, adventure, or heavy scientific or techie explanations. No one knows why the rotation is slowing so the technical aspects of how or why are not discussed. Instead, a large part of the book focuses on the angst of adolescence, boyfriends, girlfriends, parties, school, and so on, with the added difficulty of surviving in a changing and ever more hostile environment.
Through Julia’s eyes we watch the earth grow hotter and learn the ramifications of a suddenly warmer planet. Vegetation and wildlife begin to die off, power consumption surges and radiation levels in the atmosphere increase as the magnetic field deteriorates. Not everyone could cope with the changes. Some got sick. Some chose to go off of Clock Time and instead live with Real Time, attempting to adapt to the ever lengthening days.
I rarely say that a book could have been a little longer, but in The Age of Miracles there were a lot of interesting, relevant, topics that were touched upon but never fully explored. Perhaps that was the author’s intent. To make us think and discuss.
Overall this was a thought-provoking, enjoyable book that, while I felt was aimed at young adults, could be enjoyed by all ages.
About the Author
KAREN THOMPSON WALKER holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and is an editor of fiction and non-fiction at Simon & Schuster. The Age of Miracles is her first book.
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The publisher has generously offered a copy of The Age of Miracles to give away to one of my readers. If you would like to be entered in the drawing, fill out the form below by June 30th. I will choose one winner using random.org who will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond with a mailing address, US/Canada only.
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Source: Review copy.
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