(*DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE AS PART OF THE BLOGGING FOR BOOKS PROGRAM, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. NO OTHER FORM OF COMPENSATION WAS GIVEN, AND ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN.)
Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by Hogarth (first published January 1st 2014)
Back Cover Blurb:
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.
Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.
Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that made The Crimson Petal and the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.
First of all, I want to apologize to my readers. Which means you, if you’re reading this. Which you are. Hopefully. So, I apologize. I wanted to be able to finish this book. I tried. I couldn’t. And with the deadline for this review coming up, I thought it best that I open up and explain to you why I left this book on the shelf and won’t be opening it up again any time soon. Well, here goes.
I haven’t yet read a book with this premise. I mean, a Christian minister traveling to a newly discovered planet to share the gospel? It sounded interesting, that’s why I picked up this book. It was interesting, for a time. The plot, from what I read, seemed well-executed.
This is one of the problems I had with the story. I didn’t enjoy these characters. I sympathized with them. They were textbook examples of greatly developed characters. However, I just didn’t connect with them. The wife came off as a little too whiny for my taste, and the protagonist would come off as either clueless or rather snippy.
The prose of this novel was of the best aspects about it. It was gorgeous. It flowed. Of course, there were no spelling/grammar mistakes that I could detect. Also, the formatting was flawless.
I did not fall in love with this book. I doubt I will finish it anytime soon. If I end up reading it all the way to the end, I’ll update this review, and let ya’ll know. However, I won’t give this book more or less than three stars, as I can’t justify giving it a bad rating because of my own ineptitude.
—16+ sci-fi fans who are looking for an interesting read.
—Readers who are experiencing withdrawals after finishing “The Sparrow”.
Michel Faber has written seven other books, including the highly acclaimedThe Crimson Petal and the White, The Fahrenheit Twins and the Whitbread-shortlisted novel Under the Skin. The Apple, based on characters in The Crimson Petal and the White, was published in 2006. He has also written two novellas, The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps and The Courage Consort, and has won several short-story awards, including the Neil Gunn, Ian St James and Macallan. Born in Holland, brought up in Australia, he lives in the Scottish Highlands.
So, have you read this book? Do you plan on picking it up anytime soon?