Book Review and Giveaway of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Posted July 9, 2012 by Kara in Giveaway / 28 Comments

Publisher: Random House
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Pages: 288
Genre: Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours, Publisher
*FTC: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

Review: The Age of Miracles is a beautifully written book. The prose is gorgeous and vivid with some great imagery, but it never goes over the top. The plotting is subtle, and the book is definitely more about the characters than what happens to the world they are living in. That is not to say there isn’t a plot, but it is definitely not a plot-heavy story. It also has some very interesting and well-executed coming-of-age aspects. Make no mistake though. This is not a YA book. It does have a little crossover appeal because the protagonist is eleven, but at the same time, some of the topics covered and underlying themes are more geared towards an adult reader. Most YA books have a very distinctive plot and medium to fast pacing, and I felt this book had more of a meandering style. Definitely a literary book.

It’s also a little difficult to shelve. But to talk about that, you have to understand the setting and plot a bit. Basically, Julia and her family are living in modern times. Then one day, the earth’s rotation starts to slow. It starts to rotate slower and slower, and gradually, over time, the world and Julia’s family starts to fall apart. The days lengthen, the nights lengthen, and suddenly 3:00 A.M. happens in broad daylight, and 3:00 in the afternoon falls in the pitch dark. It messes with everyone’s equilibrium and some people continue to live their lives by the 24 hour a day clock, while others start living on real-time. That is to say they get up with the sun and go to sleep when the sun sets, even when the days grow longer. Scientists have said that our bodies would eventually adjust to a changing world (it’s called a circadian rhythm) but I don’t know about that. Anyway, so that’s what is going on in the world. But the main plot is more about what happens to Julia and her family while all this is going down. That’s the summary in a nutshell. The reason why I say it is difficult to shelve is because it is clearly NOT a dystopian novel, but at the same time, even though the world is ending, it’s not exactly post-apocalyptic either. So it just goes under Adult Fiction and Contemporary for now, even though there is more to it than that. Got it? GOOD. 

I don’t really have much else to say. I’m going to leave you with a few passages from the book that I thought were absolutely gorgeous, but I feel like this book needs to be experienced, and there is not a lot I can say that hasn’t already been said. If what I have stated above has you interested in the book, then I definitely think you should read it. But I also think it’s not a book for everyone. There are a lot of the-world-is-ending books out there right now. But this book doesn’t really fit with those books. Even though it’s the same genre, it’s very different. So I can’t say, “If you loved those books you will love this one,” because that is not necessarily true. Here are some quotes from the book that I fell in love with.

When we finally understood what was happening that morning, Hannah and I rushed outside to check the sky for evidence. But the sky was just the sky–an average, cloudless, blue. The sun shone unchanged. A familiar breeze was blowing from the direction of the sea, and the air smelled the way it always did back then, like cut grass and honeysuckle and chlorine. The eucalyptus trees were fluttering like sea anemones in the wind, and my mother’s jug of sun tea looked nearly dark enough to drink.

After the slowing, every action required a little more force than it used to. The physics had changed. Take, for example, the slightly increased drag of a hand on a knife or a finger on a trigger. From then on, we all had a little more time to decide what NOT to do. And who knows how fast a second-guess can travel? Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret?

Gorgeous writing. The whole book is like that. I hope you pick it up if it sounds like something you might enjoy. 

To order a copy of The Age of Miracles from, click here: The Age of Miracles: A Novel.

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours, I have a copy of this book to give away. Unfortunately, it is for US/CA entrants only, but I have plenty of other International giveaways coming up on the blog. Giveaway starts July 9th and ends at midnight on July 16th. Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to confirm their mailing address or another winner will be chosen.

Enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below.

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Tuesday, July 10th:  Sweet Southern Home
Wednesday, July 11th:  The Scarlet Letter
Thursday, July 12th:  In the Next Room
Monday, July 16th:  Regular Rumination
Tuesday, July 17th:  She Treads Softly
Wednesday, July 18th:  Book Addict Katie
Thursday, July 19th:  Fiction State of Mind
Monday, July 23rd:  Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, July 24th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, July 25th:  Ashley Loves Books
Thursday, July 26th:  Becky’s Book Reviews

28 responses to “Book Review and Giveaway of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

  1. I loved how you said the book should be experienced! I find reviewing books sometimes difficult cause I don’t want to give too much away, but want people to read it for themselves because it’s good. Now you have moved The Age of Miracles closer to the top of my wishlist!

  2. I think I’m going to love this. Like for reals.

    Is it sort of pre-apocalyptic? I think that may need to be a new genre. Unraveling and The Last Policeman would go under that heading to my way of thinking. Or, maybe, I’m just being silly.

  3. Ooh I hadn’t heard of this one before, but it sounds so good! And judging by those quotes I think I’ll love the style of writing in the book so I’m definitely adding this to my TBR list.

    Great review as always 🙂


  4. I really, really like the sound of this one! 🙂 It’s interesting – the world is falling apart, yet our lives remain more or less the same. The quotes you included were awesome, too.

    Sun tea… I feel like the first time I read about this was in Stargirl. Can anyone confirm that? Agh, now I’m gonna drive myself crazy thinking about it. I digress! 😉

  5. Love the writing provided. Even if I don’t get the giveaway, I’m going to check it out from the library… I also love the idea of the plot. The characters sound pretty fleshed-out. Can’t wait to read this, hopefully soon!!

    • Definitely check it out from the library. It’s a very memorable book. You may even want a copy of your own to keep. I think this is a book that is going to connect with a lot of readers.

  6. Thanks for your great review and your giveaway! I actually just posted a review myself of it, and have added your link to it. I enjoyed very much this book, and would love to be able to offer it to someone else

  7. This is a book that I’ve seen around here and there, but I actually never really stopped to figure out what it was about though. I never would have guessed it was sci-fi! Anyways, thanks so much for providing those quotes at the end! I think I would enjoy the writing style as well. I especially like the last one. It just makes you think how a world like that would change us, you know? Great review, and thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  8. I have seen this book so much as well. I’m glad you mentioned the YA crossover appeal and not just calling it YA. Great review, Kara !

  9. I’ve had this one on my Wish List since I first read of it. You sort of confirmed what I felt– that you can’t really pigeon-hole the genre. Thanks for the review!

  10. The writing definitely was super gorgeous. I read this one aloud to my parents on the drive down from Pittsburgh yesterday, and the language is gorgeous. I bet the audiobook is great, because the writing has a great cadence. I had some issues with the world building, but it was still pretty fantastic. I also ended up giving it a 4.

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