One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve.
Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
Station Eleven isn’t my usual sort of read. I’ve been reading strictly YA for too long, so when I saw this book with its familiar post-apocalyptic theme but Adult fiction as apposed to Teen, I thought ‘yes, this is what I need’. And I can tell you I’m so happy I read it.
It follows the lives of five people who are all connected in some way, and it jumps back and forth in time cleverly revealing the twists and events that connect them. The time jumping threw me off a little when I had a break from reading and then came back a little confused where and when I was, but overall its well done. The characters are so real and I was kind of stunned, I’ve now realised how over the top and simplistic a lot of the characters in YA can be. The people in Station Eleven were real and beautiful and complex, and he world they lived in was just as beautifully crafted. I loved the Travelling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors, travelling from settlement to settlement performing music and Shakespeare? What’s not to love? And the line that summed it all up so perfectly: “Survival is insufficient.”. (yes its from Star Trek) I love that line, the beauty of that group of people travelling around when the entire world has collapsed, why? Because life is about more than just surviving. Seriously, this book has been swimming around my head days after I finished. Its one of those books that just stays with you.
This book kept me well and truly gripped throughout, the mystery element of piecing all these peoples lives together was exciting. Plus, the writing was absolutely stunning, such brilliant imagery and just wow.
However it did kind of lack the action I’m used to in post-apocalyptic. That sort of action would probably have been out of place as this book is much more realistic, but I was kind of waiting for it to pick up and get super tense, which it didn’t.
I also felt the ending was kind of anti-climatic, which is why this book got a four instead of a five star rating. I was kind of expecting all these people to come together and realise their connection and for their to be a larger confrontation between everyone and this mysterious Prophet guy. I was only half satisfied with the ending, it was good yeah but just less than I was hoping for.
I would definitely recommend this book to pretty much everyone, especially if you love the whole post apocalyptic scene and want try dipping outside the YA genre a little. And I will definitely be reading more by this author!