I haven’t written in what feels like years because, frankly, this has been a bit of a dry time, book-wise. It’s not that I haven’t been reading at all. I’ve been reading plenty, but the problem is that I’m not reading anything particularly NEW or exciting for the most part. It’s been a lot of re-reading old favorites and de-stressing with easy, non-challenging books. There’s nothing wrong with that, exactly, it just means that there hasn’t been too much to write about. At least, that’s what I thought at first. But then I found my beacon of light, my saving grace amid the piles of has-been books and tired favorites. M.T. Anderson’s absolutely GENIUS The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party. I can’t even properly describe how truly incredible and unique this book is, and I’m not even finished with it yet. I have 230 pages to go for God’s sake! But sometimes you can just tell right away if a book is right for you, and that was exactly how it was with Octavian. It’s hard to give a true summary or review of it yet, since I don’t know how it ends, but so far, it’s the first-person account of a young boy named Octavian whose every action is monitored and studied by a group of idealistic scientists and philosophers who call themselves the Novanglian College of Lucidity. The leader of the group, Mr. Gitney (also known as 03-01, according to his personal rules of naming) bought Octavian’s mother, African princess Cassiopeia, when she was pregnant with Octavian, and the two of them have lived in luxury at the College ever since. Their pampered and comfortable lives are disrupted when the mysterious and slightly sinister Lord Cheldthorpe of the New Creation arrives with new ideas about how the College should be run. It all takes place in Boston, just before the start of the American Revolution.
The plot and characters are incredibly imaginative and well-drawn, but that wasn’t what truly drew me into the story. It’s the beautiful and utterly unique writing style that makes this book so enthralling and captivating.
It hasn’t been the easiest book to read. There are some books that you can easily read in one sitting, but this hasn’t been one of them, at least not for me. It’s the kind of thing you want to savor and draw out.
So I’ll keep you updated on how Octavian‘s going, and finger’s crossed it won’t turn out to be the kind of book that starts out wonderfully and hits a rut around page 200.
- Genre-Bending: Just Barely Speculative Fiction (siripaulson.wordpress.com)