Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Grim Future

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch


This is an apocalyptic/futuristic/dystopian novel where much of the Earth's population has been decimated by a form of the flu called 'the eleventh plague'.  I suppose there were ten others but that's hard to confirm as the plague is rarely mentioned in the book after the first chapter.  A better book title would have been The Remains of the the Plague.

Stephen and his family are scavengers, roaming the land and searching for things that could be used for bartering.  His grandfather is a cruel taskmaster but when he dies, Stephen is left with his weak-willed father, which isn't much of an improvement.  Father and son's first independent act is to free a woman and young boy who have with enslaved-with disastrous results.  Now, Stephen is on the run and his father is in a coma.

Stephen stumbles into a utopia-a community that has sealed itself off from the world.  They take Stephen and his father into their homes.  They care for Stephen's father and send Stephen to school, but Stephen's distrust of humanity runs too deep.  Can he trust them?  Does he want to?

I liked this book.....but didn't love it.  It was good...but not great.  I liked the character of Stephen but I never got the feeling he could be real.  He was so distant and remote that it was hard to relate to him.  The cover and blurb sounded and looked much more exciting than what actually lurked inside the covers, which is always disappointing.  The ideas were more exciting that the actual plot itself.  And, while the love interest made a nice diversion, it was also ultimately unsatisfying and pushes the book into PG13 status.

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