Monday, February 1, 2021

The Book of MThe Book of M by Peng Shepherd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first half of this novel successfully gripped me hard and never let go.

It's part Walking Dead dystopian survival, part mysterious fantasy surrounding the loss of so many people's shadows (with their memories), and part massively grounded lit-SF.

And it worked, too, making my mind revolve around and around the malady, the consequences of so many people suddenly losing their shadows, and what it would mean to come across rumors of two far off communities... one in DC and the other in New Orleans, ending in some kind of showdown. You know, kinda like the Stand, only less religious. Indeed, M is what it's all about. And M doesn't stand for mamma or Mechagodzilla.

So why, if I really loved where the book started and continued, didn't I give it a full five stars?

Because, for all the later war stuff and genuinely interesting Mad Max feel, I never got that invested in the violence. I was invested early on, and then I was only playing catch-up.

That isn't to say that the end wasn't cool. It was quite different from what you might expect, considering the late middle part, and it made up for quite a bit. But honestly, I think this would have been a superior novel without the big showdown. It took away from the emotional core that was already there.

That being said, I REALLY liked what was brilliant about this novel. I also have a soft spot in my heart for shadows and memory magic. :)



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