Sunday, February 25, 2007

Review: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

I don't really like science fiction. I just can't get into books about otherworld creatures on planets that don't exist and so forth (with the notable exception of "The Sparrow" which is one of my favorite books of all time). But one of my fellow bookbloggers recently did a review of "Doomsday Book" (can't for the life of me remember who - sorry!) and the review was SO compelling that I put it on my list without any secondary recommendations. I saw it at the library this week and was in the mood for an impulse read, so I got it.

It's hard to tell the story of this book without spoilers, so I'll have to keep it brief and vague. It's a book about time travel, which I love (other favorites are "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "The Traveler"). The book is set around 2050, and a young historian wants to travel back in time to England in the early 1300's, just before the Black Death (bubonic plague) killed half of Europe.

So many things go wrong that you are sitting on the edge of the couch, in danger of falling off while you wait - until the very last page - for some kind of resolution! But it's not only a suspenseful read. Willis did wonderful research into the Middle Ages in Europe and gives you a real picture of what life was like back then. So it's great on so many levels....a slice of historical fiction, a slice of futuristic time travel, a slice of great suspense. I woke up this morning with a cold, and actually wondered for a moment if the germs had come through the book, which is exactly something that might feasibly happen in Connie Willis' world.

I suggest that you do all the dishes, laundry, and maybe even some make ahead meals to have ready for a couple of days. Then pick up this book. If you are not a science fiction reader, I promise this will change your mind about the genre.


Joy said...

Hi Lisa ~ I do not like sci-fi either, but am doing my own personal challenge of dipping into genres I don't normally read. So...I'm going to look into this one a little bit more along with SPARROW that you mentioned and see what happens. Thanks! :)

tanabata said...

Oh, don't tempt me! I've had this in the stacks for ages but I really don't have time to read it right now.

Sheri said...

Are you Sure?????? I am tempted because I echo your feelings on the genre and i also loved The Sparrow...but

I'm scared.

Lisa said...

I am positive Sheri!!! Your comment cracked me up!!

This is sci-fi like The Book Thief is young adult. Ignore the classification and just enjoy a GREAT book! :)

You can re-comment and rip on me if you hate it!!!! :)

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

woo! this one sounds really good and right up my alley!!!

Lazy cow said...

I wrote about this in January (but I doubt it was my review that was so compelling!) It is one of my favourite books of all time. So glad that you liked it too. I've got another one of hers, Bellwether, waiting to be read, but I'm sure it can't be as good as this.