Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
I am a huge fan of stories that deal with the end of the world. Station Eleven does a very interesting take on it as well, with a deadly flu that wipes out about 99% of the world’s population in nearly 48 hours. It follows the lives of a few different people before and after the collapse and how the “end of the world” had a pretty huge impact on a lot of them. Their ages vary, which means each have different memories of the world before the collapse.
The characters it follows are a great collection. A young girl who was only eight when life as she knew it ended, now 20 years after the collapse she is traveling with a group that calls itself the Traveling Symphony. A group of people that travel along to different settlements and give performances because “Survival itself is insufficient”. It also flashes back to a man who used to be a paparazzi photographer turned paramedic student and the life of a famous actor who suffers a heart attack right before the world ends.
Their different stories all merge together and mingle in many different ways. It’s a very interesting story and I always like seeing how different authors envision how people will carry on after the world “ends” in some way or another. Some people go feral and become dangerous, others try and hang onto a semblance of the old world through different ways. It also affects older people and younger people differently. Is it worse for the younger generation, who barely remembers their old life? Or is it worse for the older generation who constantly remembers all that they lost? It’s interesting to think about.
I’m glad this was the bookclub pick for September and that I got a chance to pick it up! It was a great read! Although, if you aren’t a fan of books that flip around between characters, or the past and present, then you might not enjoy this. (I’m thinking of my mom, who doesn’t like books that are always flipping around between the past and present, she likes stories that follow a straight timeline and don’t jump all over the place)
Thank you reader’s for picking this one! I enjoyed it, but at the same time, it wasn’t the best ever. You know what I mean? The story follows a famous metal singer, Jude, who is kind of a terrible person. He has an obsession with the occult and ends up buying a haunted suit off of a e-bay rip off site. The thing is, that the suit actually IS haunted, and it’s haunted by someone who has a grudge against Jude and wants him dead.
The one thing that bothered me about the story was that I just COULD NOT like the main character. Jude just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because he was just an asshole to everyone around him. He didn’t seem to have many emotions at all and didn’t really express them either. He also has a girl friend that is like….30 years younger than him…which I know happens in show biz and all, but it’s just gross to imagine while you’re reading…if you know what I mean. Yuck.
I liked the creepy parts of the story though. The ghost was bent with killing Jude and everyone around him that supported, loved, or tried to help him. There was a twist to the ghost’s past, that makes him all the more creepy, but at the same time doesn’t really make as much sense with the whole revenge plot.
All in all, the story itself is just really f’ed up. If you know what I mean, it’s just the kind of situation that puts a gross feeling in your throat, like, how do people really DO these sorts of things?! (Mainly about the ghost and his family) it just makes your skin crawl. The horror in this story is more gore and sexually perverse. The stuff that just makes you shudder and kind of wish heavily for the ultimate demise of the ghost. Although, I never really found myself pulling for the main character to win either, I liked his girlfriend a lot more than I liked him.
P.S. If you didn’t already know, Joe Hill is totally Stephen King’s son. You can totally tell when you compare pictures of them, they look like father and son!