Good Morning Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Published in: 2016
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Find it here: Good Morning, Midnight
This ARC was provided by Orion Publishing Group (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.
At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success, but when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crew mates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.
As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives?
Book Worm’s Thoughts: This book was not what I was expecting. When I read Artic “research centre”, “space shuttle”, and “catastrophic event” I expected more to happen in terms of action. Almost nothing does happen. Instead, this is a slow-paced character study of how isolation on Earth and in space affects people, especially when it appears that the rest of the population has vanished.
The story is told from two perspective, in alternating chapters. We have events in the Artic from Augustine’s perspective and then we have the same time period but in space from Sully’s perspective. As the stories evolve, we are drawn into the deepest thoughts and concerns of the characters. As we learn more about the lives of Sully and Augustine, we begin to understand how they have both ended up where they are.
I liked the use of both the Arctic and space as settings since both locations demonstrated how it was possible to be entirely alone with no idea of what was happening in the world. The descriptions of both environments felt very genuine and highly detailed. The characters were well rounded and flawed and as such they felt very authentic too. I like the way the author ended the book without tying everything up in a nice bow. This kept the realistic feeling of the book.
However, there was one thing that really bugged me and that was the fact that the author couldn’t decide whether the character should be called Augustine or Augie. Within the space of a few sentences, both names were regularly being used. There may have been a point to this switching, possibly to show the confusion caused by isolation, but as a reader I found this switch annoying and puzzling. Maybe it’s just me.
Who would enjoy this book? If you are looking for an action packed adventure story then give this one a miss. Likewise if you are looking for a new way the world could end forget it! If you like stories about people and their motivations, what drives them to do what they do, what they will sacrifice to achieve their dreams, and how they survive when it seems hope is gone then give it a go.
Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Good Morning, Midnight
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