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Review: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

from the back of the book

For Kivrin, preparing for on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity’s history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone.  For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be retrieved.  But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her.  In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin – barely of age herself – finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history’s darkest hours.

Five years in the writing by one of science fiction’s most honored authors, Doomsday Boos is a storytelling triumph.  Connie Willis draws upon her understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering, and the indomitable will of the human spirit.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I got it: Bought

This is the second book I’ve read by Connie Willis. To Say Nothing of the Dog was the first and it was absolutely fantastic.  I still loved this one, but for a different reason.  The story sets out with an ominous tone, and the paranoid feeling that something bad is going to happen never really lets up. While it sounds bad, it’s actually a good thing because Willis has a way of getting you to care about her characters early on in the story, and I know it worked on me because I was fretting about what could happen to the characters. That, to me, is one measure of a really great story.  If I find myself adding commentary about the characters in my head (“No, no don’t do that!”, “Yes!”, “Oh drats”), then I know the author and the story has won me over.

And what a story.  There’s mystery, plot twists, drama, and humor.  I love the snappy remarks, and the witty banter between the characters. There were a number of slow points in the story, but not enough to make me want to quit reading altogether. I found it to be one of those books that feel like they’re long and are just going to go on forever.  Trust me.  Stick with it because the last 100 pages or so fly by and are just amazing.  I’m really glad that I read it.