Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven is a bestselling book that also has a Netflix series by the same name, which I have not seen . Not sure if the book is a best seller because of the Netflix series or because of the currently relevant subject matter: a world nearly wiped out by a fast-killing pandemic .

My grade : C+.

I love post-apocalyptic stories. This one left me feeling unsatisfied. It felt unevenly done , like two books spliced together. Some chapters had good action and decent writing. Others were so boring that I skipped ahead. It’s not your typically written pandemic novel.

The book jumps around between long pre-pandemic storylines, more recent past events and short forays into what’s happening in the present. I found the pre-pandemic parts too long and not very interesting. But everyone’s taste is different.

There were some things that bothered me . Like why after over 20 years they had made such small progress in figuring out how to get power and fuel . And why people didn’t do something sooner about the “bad guy”. And a few other details about pandemic survival that just seemed vague.

The part that left me feeling flat was the writing itself. It’s just not that good. I’m not sure if the author was trying to make it seem very depressing and emotionless, but it was . I found out it hard to care about the characters .

Her lack of sentence structure forced me to re-read multiple long , comma-connected sentences to try to find the point.

I haven’t read any other reviews except one here on WordPress that prompted me to read the book. I’m wondering if anyone else had trouble with the writing style .

Either way, I feel like anyone can publish a pandemic book right now and it will sell . Just look at the very long list on Amazon .

One interesting thing is that this book was written in 2014. But we’ve had many years of books written predicting that a pandemic will wipe out humanity and collapse our economy. Stephen King wrote The Stand in 1978, still one of the best apocalyptic pandemic novels.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this book and pandemic stories in the comments!

4 comments

  1. Sorry, dear friend. In order to read all the books that I already have planned to read, Father is going to have to let me live until I am 126, or let me keep reading in Heaven! 😂

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