212 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The miracle is life itself
Karen Thompson Walker's THE AGE OF MIRACLES is an extraordinary novel about a young girl struggling with the inevitable changes in her life. Eleven-year-old Julia is going through the same things all of us do as we grow up - her parents are confusing and contradictory, her best friend seems to have forgotten she's alive, and the boy she's had a crush on since forever is...
Published on April 26, 2012 by kacunnin
182 of 215 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few miracles short.
As someone who reads a lot of speculative fiction, I have to say that "Age of Miracles" was just okay for me. The writing was solid, the voice good, the characters were likable, and you genuinely wondered how it was all going to turn out in the end.
The premise--an ever-slowing Earth--was excellent. One I've not seen portrayed before. I really appreciated the...
Published on May 4, 2012 by Kerry Nietz
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker,
This review is from: The Age of Miracles: A Novel (Hardcover)
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The Age of Miracles
Karen Thompson Walker
Trade Paperback ARC
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: June 26, 2012
Amazon.com Vine ARC
The Age of Miracles, the debut novel by Karen Thompson Walker, is, in my opinion, a significant and important contribution to literature. And, not because of the publishing tug-of-war that preceded it, but in spite of it. Before its publication the book received a lot of attention when a bidding war for the rights broke out between rival publishing houses. However, the details concerning the purchase are not what make it such an important work of fiction. For me, it's the extraordinary story itself that steals the show. Not only does the author possess an amazing writing style, a unique flair for descriptive imagery, and a faultless command of the language but she tells a gripping and engrossing story of world-changing events as they occur. Ms. Walker is a talented writer with a gift for creating succinct and evocative prose, a skill that benefits both the story and every reader fortunate enough to encounter it. What impresses me the most is the masterfully concise and poetic phrasing which, coming from a first-time author, I find remarkably mature. (While I was reading this book I caught myself time and again wishing I could write like that.)
Some might call The Age of Miracles a coming-of-age story and on the surface they'd be right. It is, in fact, the most melancholy teenage transformation I think I've ever read. That's because Ms. Walker's prose mainlines us straight into the head and heart of the teenage protagonist and we experience and empathize with every agonizing moment of her transition. But this is not a simple "becoming" tale. It is an evolution of age under complex and exceedingly trying times. The theme of maturation is intensified and made more poignant when it occurs during an epic natural disaster. Unusual changes in the environment, a sense of future survival, the unraveling of civilization and a family in rift serve to compound the main character's transition into adulthood. But the most compelling theme is that of the subtle changes that affect mankind as the length of days and nights become distorted as a result of that disaster.
A powerful earthquake has slightly shifted the earth off its axis causing the rotation of the planet to slow. On the surface, this is not the apocalyptic event it might seem. At first, things appear fairly normal. But scientists have discovered that the world clock is now six minutes longer then it was yesterday. A few days later it is 12 minutes longer, then 24, until an exponential and unpredictable change in the length of each day occurs. Then birds begin to die, plants shrivel, and trees dry-rot and, when the world's food sources become jeopardized by the climate shift, a world-wide panic builds. What truly affects the population though is not the massive earthquake or the dwindling growing season but the physical and psychological effects of the increasing length of days without night and nights without day. Forty-eight hours elapse without night. Darkness returns and lasts sixty hours. It becomes too dangerous to go outdoors during the daylight hours and those that do suffer quickly from radiation burns. Through all the hardships and panic facing the planet one teenage girl must learn to find her place in a world on the brink of destruction. The Age of Miracles then is not only a coming-of-age story in the midst of calamity but a superb example of the subtle effects a natural disaster can have on the human psyche.
The Age of Miracles also contains two very distinct levels of pacing which I believe merit mentioning. First, the changes each character experiences and those that physically occur to the planet begin slowly, building exponentially as the story develops. While the alterations are significant they occur at a naturally fluid pace within the narrative. Though they depict unusual circumstances the catastrophic events are so well-written that they "feel" real, which, in afterthought, is alarming in its plausibility. The second level of pacing involves the reading flow of the book. The Age of Miracles is a fast read. So much so that I finished it cover to cover in one sitting. In my experience, a quick read usually means one of four things. Either the author has an exceptional grasp of the language; or clearly and concisely conveys every concept, character, and setting; or wastes no words; or has written such an engrossing and compelling story that the reader just can't put it down. In rare instances a story will meet two of my "fast-read" criteria. The Age of Miracles qualifies for all four.
This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year and I give it high marks in every category. It contains evolving settings, a unique and creative plot, empathetic and interesting characters, a beautiful mix of cadence and pace, prose that's both poetic and touching, mastery of language, and an emotional kick you'll feel down in the depths of your soul. For these, and many other reasons, The Age of Miracles deserves to become a break-out sensation. I, for one, hope that it does and believe that it will.
If you're going to read only one book this year - make sure this is the one. (If you're going to read one-hundred books this year - this is still the one.)
Recommended for young adult readers, fans of coming-of-age stories, apocalyptic events, strong character portrayals, descriptive and concise language, and those looking to be entertained by a wonderfully written, fast-paced story.
5 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok,
This book was intelligent and depressing. Literally no miracle happens. I didn't expect an ending that would change the whole story but the only reason I read it until the end was because I forced myself. It wasn't easy for me to come back to this book time and time again because it made me so upset. Anyways, go for it if you want. Have a good day.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story about the length of a day expanding from ...,
Great story about the length of a day expanding from our traditional 24 hour cycle and the affect that has on the earth and society. Interesting concept that illustrates how one small change in something that we don't even THINK about can alter so much. if you even remotely like Sci-Fi, you will love this book. It was a fascinating read.
3.0 out of 5 stars The story was fine, but I didn't really care for the topic,
Not my usual genre (dystopic fiction bordering on sci-fi), but well-written). The story was fine, but I didn't really care for the topic. Someone who likes this genre will probably like the book better than I did.
5.0 out of 5 stars sweet, heartbreaking story about the importance of love in ...,
A lovely, sweet, heartbreaking story about the importance of love in the face of the end of our world as we know it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it!,
This book follows Julia, a girl in 6th grade who is trying to navigate life as being the odd girl out (something I was way too familiar with) while also dealing with the sudden slowing of the earth which has a huge impact on everyday life. It was an easy and enjoyable read. The ending felt a bit abrupt but I think it's because I could have kept reading about her life and the struggles of this phenomenon.
2.0 out of 5 stars Long on details, short on physics,
I ended up skimming after about 50%. It started out pretty interesting and then just fell apart. Even skimming, I'm pretty sure I didn't miss much. I hate sf without science.
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak ending,
Very interesting idea, very well-written, except the ending was very weak and seemed the author just got bored with her story and didn't know where to take it. I liked it but very disappointed when I got to the end.
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring story. One dimensional characters.,
Maybe I expected too much from this novel. I chose to read based on the rave reviews. I found this book to be so boring, but I kept reading thinking something had to happen sooner or later. The characters themselves were one dimensional and uninspiring. One of the worst books I have read in quite some time.
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing,
This book dealt so realistically with a subject that was fiction. It was intriguing and makes a reader wonder what they would do in such an event I couldn't stop reading because i needed to know what other consequences the "slowing" would have on the characters.
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The Age of Miracles: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker (Hardcover - June 26, 2012)
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