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184 of 217 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few miracles short., May 4, 2012
This review is from: The Age of Miracles: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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 hints of science, and the places where the book speculated on the possible results of such an occurrence.

What we don't get, though, is a possible reason for this calamity. What we also don't get, ultimately, is a satisfactory ending. At its best, "Miracles" reads like some of Ray Bradbury's more melancholy works. (Not a bad thing--I'm a big Bradbury fan.) But what Bradbury brilliantly achieves in a short story, seems stretched here to fill an entire novel.

There are a number of blind leads (discovered planets, experimental foods, etc.) and even the title itself seems, in the end, a bit deceptive. I understand that it refers to age of the main character, but with a title like that you'd expect, perhaps, a more layered meaning.

"Age of Miracles" is an interesting read with some neat ideas, but if you're an avid sci-fi reader, it probably isn't for you.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 3, 2012 8:48:04 AM PDT
Rochelle says:
Have not read this book but am amazed that not one reviewer professional or reader has noticed the similarity to Life As We Know It by Susan Beth Pfeffer published in 2008. In this YA three book series, an asteroid knocks into the moon moving it closer to earth with catastrophic results.In the first book, the narrator, a high school girl, describes the first year of her family's struggle to survive this event in her small town in Pennsylvania. Sound a little familiar?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 9:20:12 AM PDT
Kerry Nietz says:
Thanks for the comment, Rochelle. I wasn't aware of the book series you mention, but I don't read alot of YA books. The premise of an ever slowing Earth is what initially attracted me to "Miracles". That is a bit different than what you describe, but I see the simularities as well. It is difficult to find a sci-fi novel where every element is unique, though. I'm reminded of another YA book, "Z for Zachariah", that also had a young female protagonist trying to survive a disaster. (Nuclear war, in that case.) That book has been around for decades...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 4:29:18 AM PDT
kacunnin says:
There's really very little similarity between Pfeffer's book and this one. The "slowing" of the earth in MIRACLES is really just a backdrop to a coming-of-age story; the science fiction element of the novel is minimal. Additionally, where Pfeffer's LIFE AS WE KNEW IT is all about survival during a global catastrophe, MIRACLES is about growing up. Pfeffer's story is about the struggle to survive; MIRACLES is about the unpredictability of life, and our inability to control the world that influences us. I actually see MIRACLES as closer in spirit to INTO THE FOREST (Jean Hegland), which is about two young girls who grow up against the backdrop of a mysterious plague -- they are left alone to find a new kind of life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 5:15:21 AM PDT
Kerry Nietz says:
Thanks for the clarification, Kathy. Appreciate it!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 9:35:15 AM PDT
Rochelle says:
Just finished Age of Miracles so now feel better about commenting. I agree with all the above comparisons to Life as we we Knew It. I now can say that the differences are what make it a much better book than Age of Miracles. It is ultimately unsatisfying,not enough detail about calamity,daily struggle for survival, and how narrator does eventually survive for the next ten years. Realize this is a YA book but her relationship with a boy she likes doesnt do it for me.
It is never shown how she finds a new kind of life in a way that is satisfying or expanded enough.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 9:56:39 AM PDT
Kerry Nietz says:
Interesting! Thanks for letting me know, Rochelle. I may have to check out that other series...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 1:53:22 PM PDT
This book reminded me of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, in that story, the heroine is surviving and growing up amidst World War 3.

What really bothered me about Miracle is that the heroine doesn't change. She's not really active in her life and while everything around her changes, she doesn't. For a coming of age story that's a problem.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 2:17:26 PM PDT
Kerry Nietz says:
Ooh, good point, Jennifer. And you're absolutely right. Aside from undergarments, she doesn't change much at all. Very passive personality, under circumstances that would make even the most passive of us explode. It is as if she is watching the whole thing on TV.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 8:02:26 AM PDT
Rochelle says:
Did u know they are making a movie of How I Live Now?
Due out in 2013. BTW I agree with u cometely regarding the main chatactor in Age of Miracles.

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 9:27:20 AM PDT
Diver4comm says:
I agree with Kerry that this book is a good read, but vaguely unsatisfying when held up to its end-of-days promise.

So much potential; interesting leads, solid writing, but superficial approach to the calamity and -- even as a coming of age story -- mixed levels of character development. The lesser characters' stories, unresolved, just seem to fall off the plot; the mysterious fallout of friendship, the intrigue of infidelity... all just seem to fade away like last week's Facebook status. Then again, perhaps this is appropriate for the attention span of a YA reader...
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