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lhr Audible Team
I love a good story, even more so, if it is artfully told.
Connie Willis is one of my favorite science fiction authors and most of her work resonates deeply with me. This book is probably not the best book, she ever wrote, the story is pretty harmless, but it is a good read nevertheless.
The plot is simply told. 2 young historians, Ned Henry and Verity, are sent to the Victorian Era to find the bishop's bird stump, which somehow seems to be important for the reconstruction of the Coventry Cathedral.
Unfortunately the presence of Ned and Verity changes critical events and the course of history is at risk to change for the worse. The harder they try, the worse it seems to get.
The story is quite funny at times. The glimpses at the Victorian Era and its peculiarities, the similarities to the Victorian novel '3 men in a boat', the strong and bizarre characters and of course the dog and the cat make the story quite charming and unique.
Neil Gaiman did not disappoint me, this is a great story. The only negative comment I could come up with, is that the story is way too short. It had the potential to grow into a real novel, but it basically is a short story.
The story starts as a harmless stroll down memory lane, when a guy returns to his home town after a funeral to revisit the places of his childhood. Everything comes back to him, when he gets to the farmhouse at the end of the lane.
He was a bookish seven year old, not really happy, but content with the way things were until all at once the suicide of an opal miner changed everything. The following events are a skillful mix of typical childhood phantasies and fears, the pain and anxiety of growing up and some real myth and horror. Lettie, an 11 year old girl, living at the end of the lane with her mother and grandmother becomes his friend and savior.
What a story. Heart breaking, powerful, thrilling and intelligently written. Best fiction I read in a while.
It is difficult to classify this book. It is science fiction, but it does not throw a lot of nonsensical science at you. Yes, there are something like Zombies in the story, but it is very different from something like "the walking dead".
I do not want to give away too much and this makes it very difficult to review the book. A lot of the fascination of the book is derived from the slow revelation of the terrible truth. Every time you think, it can't be that bad, it is getting worse.
It is the story of Melanie, an unusual young girl, growing up in an extremely bizarre environment. Most of the time, hand cuffed and strapped in a chair, she is locked up in a prison like facility and spends her time in class with some other kids or in her little cell. She is smart and learns very fast and she is fascinated to hear about a world outside of her personal experience, because she never left the confinement of the classroom and her little sleeping cubicle. The highlight of her life are the lessons with her favorite teacher Ms. Justineau, who is really nice and Melanie would do anything for her.
Life would not be so bad, if there were not the guards, who are cruel sometimes and Ms. Caldwell, a scientist, who does nasty things to the kids. Melanie does not really know, what is going on, but sometimes kids disappear and do not come back. And then, things really go crazy...
It is a great story, read it.