Friday, December 11, 2015

Review - S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Series: Standalone (an epic one) 
Genre: Mystery
Source: Purchased
Published: Mulholland Books (2013)
Hardcover: 457 pgs
Rating: 4.75 / 5 
Add it // Buy it 

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

This book was less like a novel and more like experiencing a piece of art. The concept is so unique and it is executed brilliantly. The Ship of Theseus is the basis for the other parts of the story. It is a strange book to read on its own though. While I enjoyed The Ship of Theseus, it was a means to an end for me. During certain parts I was very invested in the characters, but at other points I was frustrated the book seemed to be moving in circles.

I enjoyed reading the margin notes much more. While I was reading this section I was transported and totally wrapped up in the characters, Jennifer and Eric have such a great dynamic and they were my favorite part of this. Their story came alive in the margins of this book. This book gave me a serious book hangover and I was thinking about it long after I finished my many read throughs.

Speaking of which, be prepared to read through this book several times. Even though you may not read every word on every page during each read though, I made my way though the book many times in order to read all the different parts. I'll be posting a reading guide for this, but the different colors of margin notes indicate different points in time. It makes more sense to read all the margin notes of one color before reading the notes of another color.

Because we are not reading from anyone's point of view, I was confused at certain point during Eric and Jennifer's exchanges in the margins.  They write about different events you don't have a reference for. I could piece things together especially with help from the inserts but it interrupted my reading experience several times.

There are so many threads in this book and even after reading through the book six times, I don't think I picked up all the details. As the synopsis mentioned, there are three different storylines and  I would suggest taking notes. I started to feel like the theories and speculation was out of control so I began keeping a list of character. Once I started taking notes to keep track of everyone, I enjoyed myself even more.

Please let me know if you've read this and if you enjoyed it. I don't know anyone who has read it and would love to discuss what you thought of the mystery in the story.

Thoughts While Reading:
Happy Reading!

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