Doomsday Book

Connie Willis
Doomsday Book Cover

Doomsday Book - excellent read ... in the end


Very well written, fascinating, but at times highly belaboured.

Interesting breakup of the narrative, sometimes the narrative in the one was more interesting than the other but that often changed throughout. Initially the plot seems straightforward however depth does develop and the book is extremely well written.

Character development shines, not much science fiction however.

Inexplicable lags in the plot seem to waste time. In the end the reader may come to realize that the long setup was for an overall experience that shines through by the end of this hefty novel.

Somewhat surprised that this received so many accolades, but I still buy it, there is a solid narrative quality here that is remarkable and worthy of praise.

The time travel premise is weak at best and largely improbable and not well explained. Several point I could think of where alternative solutions could have been found. Sometimes the actions of the character evoke a clear 'huh?' The actions and outcomes do not always follow all potentials completely, therefore there were several "why didn't they just" moments.

It was hard to buy into the urgency of the often petty challenges facing the characters until much later in the novel.

By the time you get to the end you will probably realize you have bought into something that really make you go 'whoa did I just go through that here?" It is rare for me to put down a novel and have such a strong sense of just having gone through something significant. This may be in part due to the tedious but deliberate build-up to the last 100 or so pages which are electrifying, vivid, and horrific.

Hundreds of pages are literally 'wasted' in conversation and mundane activities that do nothing for the progression of the novel. Granted that everything is masterfully written.

Ultimately I left this book impressed but getting to the end was an extended detour, albeit a pleasant well-written detour. I would have given it a better mark for more SF aspects and tighter plot development.