I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The year is 2041. As rapidly dwindling oil supplies wreak havoc worldwide a team of scientists and their families abandon their homes and retreat into a bunker known as The Ark, alongside five billion plant seeds that hold the key to the future of life on Earth. But The Ark’s sanctuary comes at a price.
When their charismatic leader’s hidden agenda is revealed it becomes impossible to know who to trust. Those locked out of The Ark become increasingly desperate to enter, while those within begin to yearn for escape.
The Ark delves into the fears and concerns raised by the environmental predicament facing the world today, exploring human nature in desperate times. At its heart it asks: can our moral compass ever return to true north after a period in which every decision might be a matter of life and death and the only imperative is survival?
What do you get when you combine a brilliant dystopian novel with a unique, cutting edge epistolary style of storytelling? Why Annabel Smith’s The Ark, of course. Smith takes novel writing and the technology that we have available to us for storytelling to a whole new level.
But let’s start with the general things about the book that I loved anyway. It’s another well written piece of literary dystopian fiction that while quite different from St. Mandel’s Station Eleven, shows a similar command of the genre. Smith takes an idea that could have easily fallen into the general tropes of apocalypse/dystopian genre fiction and makes it literature. There are deeper themes to explore, more than what is just presented on the surface. The epistolary format in which it’s written allows for expert pacing in unfolding what exactly is going on inside (and outside) the ark.
This book written in the usual manner would be more than enough for me to have enjoyed it thoroughly and highly recommend it, but Smith’s use of the e-book to create an interactive experience really just puts the whole thing over the top in uniqueness. If possible I would highly recommend reading this on an iPad or other such tablet device (I know, it sounds like bizarre advice) – if not, you can still interact with the novel by visiting the website.
Brilliant writing, brilliant idea on taking a story to a new level.
What say you, Reader? How do you feel about a whole new reading experience? Are you open to it?