Review: Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was so excited to read Station Eleven. So excited. But this book let me down. It was completely anti-climactic, nothing felt at stake, no one seemed strongly motivated. I thought this book spent far too much time in the ‘present’ and spent far too little time in the post-apocalyptic setting. I was interested in the civilization in the airport, and in the Symphony’s traveling, but there was really little else I liked about this book. At times it’s beautifully written, at times it’s utterly confusing. At about 45% through it, I was looking forward to the ending just simply so I could move on to my next read. The characters weren’t engaging, the plot wasn’t engaging, the book wasn’t engaging. It’s getting 3 stars because the writing had lyrical and poignant moments, but overall, I was quite underwhelmed and disappointed.

I don’t heartily recommend Station Eleven.

Dates read: January 2-6, 2022

I have a soft spot in my heart for post-apocalyptic novels. A good percentage of my all-time favorites (The Road, The Gate to Women’s Country, On the Beach, and Alas, Babylon) are post-apocalyptic. But I’m very picky. Steampunk, dystopian, and young adult post-apocalyptic books don’t do it for me. I liked The Hunger Games series when I read it as, well, a young adult, but it and its fast-paced action-packed like aren’t my cup of tea anymore. So that leaves me with a pretty limited number of books.

Enter Station Eleven. As soon as I read the synopsis, I thought it would be THE book. My best read of 2022, one that combines literary themes and derelict buildings like nothing before.

Spoiler alert – it wasn’t. Have you ever opened a pack of cookies, so excited to eat them that your mouth is watering? Then, when you put one in your mouth, its soggy and stale? That’s what reading Station Eleven felt like to me. The characters were dry; the plot thin. I finished it and sat with the closed book for a second, as is my custom, and all I could think was really? That’s it? Sixty-five percent of the book took place in contemporary times. Where’s my post-apocalyptic fix?

And, my last pet peeve about this book and I’ll shut up, why in the world were they so worried about getting tattoos for people they killed? Especially when the main character says her brother died from an infection? That bit felt like the author just wanted her characters to appear edgy.

Okay, I’ve said my complete peace on Station Eleven. What did you think, love it or nah? Have you watched the show (is it even out yet)? Should I watch the show? Seems like it may translate better to a TV program anyway.

Til next time,

-Emjay

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