Mystery, Science Fiction, Young Adult

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

The Last Equation of Isaac SeveryThe Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a unique story! The Last Equation of Isaac Severy was much different than any other book I’ve read this year, and ended up being a refreshing addition to the list (thanks Book of the Month yet again!). The front cover says “A Novel in Clues” and that’s certainly how it felt.

One question: Have you ever played one of those escape games that are popping up in cities across America? If not, the premise is this…. You get locked in a room and a timer is set for one hour. Usually there is some sort of story to get you started about being kidnapped or needing to break out of prison or get out of a room before it explodes. When the timer begins, your goal is to get out of that room by using clues and puzzles that are stealthily placed throughout the space. Well, this book felt kind of like that. There were secret clues and puzzles throughout the story that both the main character and the reader had an opportunity to solve.

Overall, the story was about a brilliant mathematician named Isaac Severy who tragically dies. But in his passing, he leaves a cryptic message to his granddaughter, providing clues as to the whereabouts of his legacy, a mysterious formula which could be devastating if in the wrong hands.

I found myself constantly trying to figure out the cryptic messages and solve the riddles. And while it wasn’t the absolute best thing I’ve ever read in my life, it was certainly very entertaining. I would consider it a “page turner” for anybody looking for a quick read. Also a great book for my math and science people out there (although you don’t have to be a nerd like me to like it). I also did get a little bit of a young adult feel from the writing style so categorized it as such.  This is a great book for anybody who is feeling tired of reading the same old stuff and looking for something just a little bit different.

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Audiobook Review, Dystopian, General Fiction (Adult)

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a really hard time finishing this audiobook. I’m not entirely sure if I would have had better success if I had read the book rather than listened, but I really struggled to stay engaged with the story line.

Set during and after an apocalyptic virus outbreak, the story was told from many different perspectives during many different time frames. Frankly, I found it difficult to follow with the constant change in time and character. In addition, for the majority of the book, I wasn’t quite sure how the various stories and characters intertwined. I will say that in the end, the story lines come together, but after being lost for so long, I still didn’t find it all that satisfying.

In stark contrast to my own review, I’ve read many other raving reviews, and chose to listen to this book because of recommendations from other readers I completely respect. So there is definitely a following for this book and a ton of people who really love the writing. It just wasn’t for me.

While I thought the concept was extremely interesting (I’m always up for an apocalyptic tale), I think the format of the book was the major downfall for me. Emily St. John Mandel’s writing was sophisticated and easy to follow, but for me, the story itself was not.

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