I happened upon Station Eleven while I was hanging out at a local indie bookstore.
As any writer will tell you, having bookstore staff recommend your book is as important as an ad campaign on social media. On this book was a sticky-note singing the praises for a post-apocalyptic tale following a troupe of musicians and actors. Culture is an aspect of human culture that so often is lost or pushed aside in post-apocalyptic fiction. It is a central focus of my own fantasy novels, so to see another novel lauded for this fact was a pleasant surprise.
What I found when I dove into this world was the perfect blend of pre-apocalypse, post-apocalypse, and culture across both settings. The central story revolves around the ‘traveling symphony’ and our main character, Kirsten, is a part of this troupe.
We see the inclusion of a religious zealot antagonist, and a scattering of secondary characters who wind up making connections that I hadn’t predicted at all.
Station Eleven also spends time in the periods between the beginning of the end, and ‘present day’ twenty years after. Seeing various aspects of society failing, from electricity to the internet and everything in between is always an experience I enjoy reading about.
If I had one criticism, it would be that some of the characters that I came to enjoy reading simply disappeared without a final explanation. I’m looking specifically at Miranda. Yes. I’m fairly certain I know what happened to her, but to be honest, I’m not happy with that. I wanted more from her.
Overall, I would say that this is definitely among my favorite books that I’ve read this year, and likely will give a strong argument for my favorite book this year. It already has nestled itself up in my top favorite science fiction novels, and is probably either my favorite, or second favorite post-apocalyptic novel. Probably second favorite. I have yet to experience anything quite like Swan Song.
Appropriately, this novel is getting five copies of Miranda’s lost comic out of five.