Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating.
This book is a retelling of The Plague by Albert Camus. Which I own and read. Apparently, there’s even a review of it on Goodreads that I wrote. I gave the original book 3.5/5 but I literally don’t remember it. I don’t remember reading it. I don’t remember what happened. I don’t remember the characters. So, obviously, either my dodgy memory strikes again OR the book wasn’t that good.
But, I wanted to read this book because, hey, it sounded cool. Sadly, it came across as a huge character study rather than a book with a plot.
It follows three main characters who get trapped in Vancouver’s quarantine. Dr Bernard Rieux, a man whose wife has cancer then leaves to get treatment and his Chinese mother comes to stay and help him. Megan Tso, an author in Vancouver for her book and is trying to hide from someone. Raymond Siddhu, a journalist who is struggling after having twins and gets trapped in the city.
Major props to Chong for having all three of the main characters non-white in this retelling. I really liked that since it made me picture different people in my head while I was reading rather than some run of the mill white person.
Not only that, but all of the characters are very compelling. I could pick up the book (aka my phone) and read for a while, not even realizing how much I had read or how long I had been reading. While there isn’t a huge plot to the book, it goes fast and you get sucked in because you genuinely like all of the characters.
But, Caidyn, you ask? Why the two stars? You just told me the characters are diverse and compelling!
Well, reader, because I found it boring. Yes, I could read a whole lot and get sucked into it, but I didn’t want to pick it back up. It would take me days to weeks to decide that I wanted to pick it back up, then when I did I’d read for a long time without realizing it.
Then, even worse, I’d promptly forget everything because I sometimes skimmed over parts because, sorry, but I get bored of character development when there’s no plot. I might love the characters. I might gush about them. Yet if there’s no plot, I lose interest. Ask Chantel about our experience with Sense8.
Wait don’t because you’ll make her cry.
So, all in all, I’d only recommend this book who loved the original and finds straight character studies fascinating/compelling to read. It’s a good book, but just wasn’t my type.