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The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

The Book of M

by Peng Shepherd (Author)

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2352772,248 (3.78)10
Title:The Book of M
Authors:Peng Shepherd (Author)
Info:New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.
Collections:To read, Diversity, Borrow(ed)
Tags:apocalyptic, by Women of Color, new releases

Work details

The Book of M: A Novel by Peng Shepherd

  1. 00
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (anissaannalise)
    anissaannalise: This is another look at humanity post-apocalypse and has a similar tone.
  2. 00
    The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett (anissaannalise)
    anissaannalise: This is another look at humanity post-apocalypse and has a similar tone.

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English (27)  Piratical (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The Book of M is definitely original and unique, the writing is great and the characters well drawn; however, the premise is so out there and doesn't quite make sense the more you think about it.

The story starts out in the aftermath of a global plague, like The Stand or The Passage, although this "disease" is clearly magical or supernatural in nature. People around the world start to lose their shadows, and shortly after, their memories. However, with each forgotten memory comes an act of magic-people literally mis-remember strange things into existence. It's here that the author really shows off her creativity, as these changes can lead to something as massive as a rampaging Statue of Liberty, or a change as small as a different color.

The story follows four main characters. Orlando "Ory" Zhang has been holed up in a hotel with his wife Max, until the latter loses her shadow and seemingly vanishes along with it. Mahnaz Ahmadi is an Iranian student studying in Boston on a sports scholarship when nearly everyone in the city loses their shadow. Third is an unnamed amnesiac who has lost his memory not by magic but by brain damage in a car accident. Last is Max herself, the only first-person narrator, recording her thoughts on a tape recorder as she slowly succumbs to the "Forgetting."

It's testament to Sheperd's skill as a writer that she can make such a bizarre premise work without really taking you out of the story, but it does fall apart a bit once you think it over. The origin of the forgetting is never explained, nor why some lose their shadows an not others. The biggest suspension of disbelief comes with the idea that shadows seem to literally hold memories, and are not just a symptom of the magic. Characters also seem to meet up with each other a little too coincidentally at some points. Still, there is a pretty neat twist at the end that I really liked.

The Book of M was definitely worth a read, and I look forward to what the author comes out with next.

A review copy was provided through the Librarything Early Reviewers Program
  lisally | Dec 22, 2018 |
Interesting story but sort of weird and preachy? ( )
  ibkennedy | Nov 11, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed this book. I was captivated the entire time. I had no idea what was going on during most of the book but was still intrigued. While it is slow burning and not my typical book, I really enjoyed it. The concept alone is impressive and to right a full novel about it is just crazy. The world building created a creepy post apocalyptic atmosphere that nightmares are made of. You are given weird details about animals that do not look right but never given the reason as to why. It is confusing but everything is explained by the end of the book.

The character development was great. This could have failed due to the fact that most of the characters are losing their memory and who they are as a person. However, the more they lose of their memory the more emotional invested I became in them. The writing could get a little dry causing the pacing to drag a little but overall the writing was good.

I would definitely recommend this book if you are in the mood for a slow burning post apocalyptic dystopian, with a side of fantasy. ( )
  akdickens | Oct 1, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is probably the best book I've read this year. It starts out asking you to suspend your belief in what is actually possible or probable. I love post-apocalyptic stories, so this was no problem for me. After all, Peter Pan lost his shadow too. I found myself following Ory and Max's story with hope that everything would "turn out fine", which of course doesn't happen in these stories. But what a wonderful journey! ( )
  Mary6508 | Sep 15, 2018 |
This s good read. It processes questions of memory and reality, weaving the motif of the shadow and a drop of Peter Pan together with a story about our significance in the world and the mark we mark. It pulls on some eastern perceptions that are a bit fantastical, and so that leaves the book short of commenting on reality itself; reality, in this book, is more like something we create or misshape. But is does echo our own sense of meaning in terms of others, how much we matter to them, and they to us, and what that something that matters in each of us really is. This is a book dancing with human corporeality and transcendence, but is more like a dance on that dance floor than it is some conclusion expressing metaphorically or allegorically an answer to who we really are. ( )
  PastorBob | Sep 5, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peng Shepherdprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zeller, Emily WooNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself. One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man's shadow disappears--an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories. Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max's shadow disappears too. Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless. As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure. Like The Passage and Station Eleven, this haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down"--… (more)

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