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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

New York Times bestseller David Arnold’s most ambitious novel to date; Station Eleven meets The 5th Wave in a genre-smashing story of survival, hope, and love amid a ravaged earth. When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico’s father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post-apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and love in a world gone dark. The Electric Kingdom is a sweeping exploration of art, storytelling, eternal life, and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another.…

The Electric Kingdom

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Penguin

Overall Book Review:

Prepare to enter a dark and mysterious world in The Electric Kingdom, penned by New York Times bestselling author David Arnold. Arnold writes in stunning detail, creating a dystopia that is both eerie and wonderous. Arnold uses a lot of figurative language and creates strong feeling and emotion in the story. Readers will find references to classical literature and pop culture, as well as many quotable lines and phrases. Arnold weaves together the plight of several kids trying to navigate a vacant world. While the novel switches between narrators, young and precocious Kit stands out in the cast of characters. The Electric Kingdom‘s setting feels quite plausible with the current Covid-19 pandemic, and readers will revel in the novel’s imaginative time travel and multiple plot twists. This is a fun read for science fiction fans. 

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Penguin


Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  13 religious exclamations; 4 mild obscenities; 3 religious profanities; 24 scatological words; 4 anatomical terms; 41 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Several implied incidents of violence including several mentions of “people bits” aka human remains, references to loss of brains and dead bodies, an implied murder when character washes blood off herself; several verbal threats; frequent secondhand reports of violence include watching war movies, suicide, reading about the plague in history books, death by flies, reports of physical attacks, a hanging and gunshots fired, a brief scene of fantasy violence occurs when characters talk about being infected by the ‘Fly-flu’. A few brief scenes of violence include a deer being attacked and eaten alive by insects and a physical fight that injures a character; a non-detailed scene of violent death involves a hanging body. Several incidents of blood and gore include blood splatters seen throughout a room, dead bodies, a child shot and killed, talk of ‘rotten skin, cartilage, crumbs of humans’, description of a mutilated body and detail of bones, teeth and dried blood at the scene of a suicide. A few brief scenes of intense violence include fly attacks, a character attacking and biting a man, a character shoots another. 

Sex/Nudity:  A few incidents of kissing; a few sexual references including mention of a bird’s sexual organs; a few incidents of implied sexual activity including a reference to a girl staying to have kids with a young man; a few mature discussions regarding sex when a boy recalls reading a textbook and recalls candid conversations asking his mother how babies are made. 

Mature Subject Matter:

Car accident, death of family members and friends, pandemic, killer ‘flies’, violent death and extreme medical conditions, vandalism, racism, communal living, mention of suicides, dead bodies.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A few characters drink wine and smoke; a character mentions buying beer. 

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
10
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
6
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
5
10

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.