Monday, May 19

Book Review: Afterlands

Title: Afterlands

Author: Steven Heighton

Pages: EBook 310

Summary: In 1871, nineteen men, women, and children, voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder. Based on one of the most remarkable events in polar history, Afterlands tells the haunting story of this small society of castaways -- a white and a black American, five Germans, a Dane, a Swede, an Englishman, and two Inuit families -- and the harrowing six months they spend marooned in the Arctic, struggling to survive both the harsh elements and one another. As the group splinters into factions along ethnic and national lines, rivalries -- complicated by sexual desire, unrequited love, extreme hunger, and suspicion -- begin to turn violent.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book pulled me in from the start, from its narrative, characters and the story itself, it was a book hard to put down, and book I'd highly recommend, as it's one that's well worth reading. The writing style was wonderful. The author managed to capture a lot of power and emotion with the writing style, which was part of what had me so engrossed in the book. The writing style/narrative especially during kept the book going, even parts that were slower or a little repetitive. The story itself, the characters struggle for survival while trapped on the ice floe, and later survival of life itself, was extraordinary.

The characters were also incredibly well done. Each character was well shaped and developed, and while some characters were just unlikable, they were still enjoyable to read about. Kruger was probably my favourite character, even with the conflicting views of him throughout the narrative, he was the character that stuck out the most for me. Because the book was told partly though journal entries, so there's the biased view of who our narrator concentrated on, which was why some characters didn't get as much focus as others. This aspect worked and didn't work for me. On one hand, there's a very biased view on who was who, and who was good and bad, which helped complaint the rest of the story and the how the story represented some of the characters. On the other hand, some characters were overlooked, and I felt didn't get as much attention as they needed.

I did find the story started to lose me in the latter half of the book. While I enjoyed Kruger's journey in Mexico, I also found it dragged in parts. Although, I do think that part of the books did help shape his character further, I still found myself losing interest in the end.

Overall, it was an excellent read, and one of my favourite books so far this year.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. Incredibly written, and wonderfully told,

What to read next: The Road, while it's a very different book, both have the concentration of survival.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Reading Challenge, New Author Reading Challenge

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