Thursday, January 19, 2012

All Clear

All Clear. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 645 pages.

By noon Michael and Merope still hadn't returned from Stepney, and Polly was beginning to get really worried. Stepney was less than an hour away by train. There was no way it could take Merope and Michael--correction, Eileen and Mike; she had to remember to call them by their cover names--no way it could take them six hours to go fetch Eileen's belongings from Mrs. Willett's and come back to Oxford Street. 

All Clear is the sequel to Connie Willis' Blackout. And as I mentioned yesterday, you are going to want to read these two books as if they were one. (There's a good reason these two books were the combined winner for the 2011 Hugo Awards. And the Nebula Awards. Doomsday Book also won both the Hugo and Nebula. To Say Nothing of the Dog just won the Hugo Award. I think it says quite a lot that each of Connie Willis' time travel books has won an award!!!)

So how much is it safe to say in a review of All Clear? Since even talking about the first few chapters of All Clear will spoil the drama of Blackout?! I was thinking about that yesterday as I wrote the review. Would that one review 'do' for both books? What more would I say about the second book? And essentially the only thing I thought of was that All Clear was even better, even more intense. If Blackout was dramatic and exciting, then All Clear is unbelievably dramatic and incredibly fast-paced. Almost dangerously so. In that, I was so WORRIED about the characters, about what was going to happen next, about what it all meant, about where it was all going, that I RUSHED, RUSHED, RUSHED through the chapters. I read a 645 page novel in one day. (Not to mention that it was the same day I finished Blackout.)

Together Blackout and All Clear were an amazing, amazing read. Just incredible. The characterization is great. There were just SO MANY characters I loved. The premise is interesting. And the intensity, the pace, the drama of it, well, few books can match it.

For those that may not have seen my review of Blackout, let me just keep it simple. Three historians (time travelers) have gone back in time to 1940. Each historian is researching or observing something different. Different locations--in England. Different months in 1940. But when SOMETHING happens that 'traps' them in that time period, well, they have to learn how to really live in that time period. Their research stops being research, and it becomes all about surviving.

Read All Clear
  • If you've read Blackout and just HAVE to know what happens next
  • If you're a fan of Connie Willis' other time travel books (Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout. Just be sure you've read Blackout first. I've also just learned that there is a short story, Fire Watch, available to read here.)
  • If you're a fan of time travel novels
  • If you're a science fiction fan
  • If you're looking to read an award-winning book (Hugo, Nebula, Locus)
  • If you're looking for a novel with GREAT characterization
  • If you're looking for an intense, fast-paced plot
  • If you're a fan of Agatha Christie and mysteries from the time period
  • If you're a fan of historical fiction set in World War II
  • If you're interested in the details and drama of the war
  • If you're a fan of Shakespeare and the theatre

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Kailana 12:01 AM  

One day I will really need to get to these books.

Cindy Swanson 12:16 PM  

Couldn't agree more, Becky. These books are two of the most compelling I've read in my entire life!

Connie Willis, PLEASE WRITE MORE!

So, my review today is of The Hunger Games, which I finally read. Do stop by and leave a comment!

Cindy at Notes in the Key of Life

Fence 1:31 PM  

I really liked a lot of this book (these books :D) but overall I just didn't love it. I thought there was just too much repetition and talking around the point. Loved all the war details thought.

Laura Fabiani 6:41 PM  

Becky, now you have me making a list of all the Connie Willis books and in which order to read them. Thanks again for posting to the Time Travel Challenge page.

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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