Featured Review: The Electric Kingdom (David Arnold)
About This Book:
New York Times bestseller David Arnold's most ambitious novel to date; Station Eleven meets The 5th Wave in a genre-smashing story of survival, hope, and love amid a ravaged earth.
When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico's father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post-apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and love in a world gone dark. The Electric Kingdom is a sweeping exploration of art, storytelling, eternal life, and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
THE ELECTRIC KINGDOM is an unexpected and twisty post-apocalyptic read. The world has been ravaged by flies- well, actually, they may have been bees who were altered to help them stand up to time. Now, they hunt in huge packs, called businesses, and eat the entirety of a creature to get at its bone marrow. When they don't devour outright, they transmit the fly-flu, which leads to an awful death. In the aftermath, humanity is scattered and scarce.
The brunt of the book is told from the perspectives of Nico, Kit, and the Deliverer. Nico lives with her father, after her mother recently died, and she is on a quest from her father to find some type of magical portal. She is not sure if he has delusions or if this could be real, but it is likely to be one of his last requests, so she is on her way. Kit lived with his mother and two other children in an old theater. They seemed like they would stay there forever, but when she is lost, they decide to move on after hearing a radio message of a settlement. The Deliverer, shrouded in secrecy, lives in a huge house stocked for doomsday and brings food to the people nearby.
What I loved: The premise here was pretty interesting, and I appreciated the characters, who are really built (more than the world) through the book. They were all really compelling, and we also get to hear stories from side characters that really drive the book forward. The people here are interestingly crafted with notes about humanity and its past as well as this apocalyptic future.
What left me wanting more: This book was a bit of a challenge to read in that at times it seemed like a series of short stories. There are so many people at first and different plots, that it made me flip back and forth to try to remember who was who. I also wanted a bit more exploration of this world, but this really is a character-driven story.
The ending sections got really twisty, and at the end, I was not totally sure what was happening, and it was definitely a wild ride. This book is not for people who enjoy solid and straight-forward stories with some twists. There are a lot of questions, curiosities, and mind-blowing twists that change the story in big ways.
Final verdict: THE ELECTRIC KINGDOM is a dark, intriguing, character-driven post-apocalyptic YA sci-fi that keeps the reader on their toes.
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