Dovile, December 23, 2009 (view all comments by Dovile)
A captivating read, the best part of which was the medieval setting. I'm not an expert of medieval England, so to me the descriptions seemed quite believable, and the medieval characters quite were engaging, thoug the plot did take time to develop to something more interesting. I particularly liked the final part of the novel, when the Plague finally strikes the village.
The future setting wasn't particularly interesting, with little developed characters, and served more as a contrast and also for suspense. The novel suffered in a few places due to being written in the eighties. There was little of future technology described, but the lack of mobile phones jarred the most. Half of the problems in the novel could've been solved if the characters used any kind of a mobile communication device.
All in all, this is a novel that is best to be approached with your heart and emotions, and not your mind. Recommended with reservations
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Ambrosia4All, June 17, 2009 (view all comments by Ambrosia4All)
Again I must say, this was one of the best books I've read this year. It was entertaining and enlightening and all those other things that make novels particularly impressive. It didn't mess with history for the sake of the narrative and it didn't try to create romance in a situation where romance would be seriously out of place.
Other than that it's hard to really describe this one. As I was reading other more negative reviews, I could see where most of their writers were coming from. If you are looking for a particularly fast paced novel, this probably isn't the book to pick up. It steadily works it's way towards the conclusion without cutting corners or forgetting to detail the mediaeval world that makes this book so engrossing. The modern storyline could become tedious, but I found the way Willis tied the two together engaging. Without Dunworthy's story, I'm afraid the message of historical repetition would have been lost on me. The future also let in the comic relief that was necessary to cut the high drama of the mediaeval sections for me.
I can see why this was given so many awards, it was well researched and put together and allowed me to recall the power of storytelling (something I believe every good novel should do). This is highly recommended to those who like science fiction, historical fiction, or stories of good and evil.
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crystalsprowl, May 8, 2009 (view all comments by crystalsprowl)
I loved this book! The story line was interesting and I especially liked how she kept both story lines going and it never got boring. Kivrin was very courageous how she dealt with the situation. Connie Willis wrote a great book. My husband and i liked the book so much we named our 3rd child Kivrin.
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Jeane, February 13, 2008 (view all comments by Jeane)
The year is 2054. Kivrin is a history student who travels back to the 14th century. She's supposed to arrive a decade before the black plague breaks out in Europe, but there's a mistake and she shows up in 1348, right when plague starts appearing. The story is told in two parallels: one of Kivrin struggling to understand medieval Europe, which is not at all what she expected. The other is a confusion of woefully inept technicians and students in the future trying to figure out what went wrong so they can bring her back, while dealing with an outbreak of influenza. This book was pretty fascinating. The medieval setting was the most interesting part. Connie Willis spent five years researching and writing it. It won Hugo and Nebula Awards for science fiction. I found it a very good read.
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kaaren a., November 24, 2006 (view all comments by kaaren a.)
Despite this book's use of a "Back to the Future" idea of time travel (or maybe this book used it first, I don't know), I really enjoyed Kivrin's adventures and struggle to survive while in the year 1348. The author quite skillfully depicts what living in that year would entail, including what experiencing the Plague might be like. I enjoyed the historical part so much that I have actually read this book twice, and the second time through I enjoyed it as much the first time (once I got past the time travel).
I recommend this book to sci-fi enthusiasts, medievalists, and especially high school/college students - I think this book would make history come alive for them.
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by The Denver Post,
"A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope....The best work yet from one of science fiction's best writers."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Splendid work...brutal, gripping and genuinely harrowing, the product of diligent research, fine writing and well-honed instincts, that should appeal far beyond the normal science-fiction constituency."
by The Washington Post Book World,
"The world of 1348 burns in the mind's eye, and every character alive that year is a fully recognized being....It becomes possible to feel...that Connie Willis did, in fact, over the five years Doomsday Book took her to write, open a window to another world, and that she saw something there."
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