Author: Elizabeth Percer
Summary: I enjoyed most of this book and it did remind me of Station Eleven, but the writing wasn’t as beautiful and I dropped a star because of the ending.
“On Valentine’s Day, two major earthquakes strike San Francisco within the same hour, devastating the city and its primary entry points, sparking fires throughout, and leaving its residents without power, gas, or water. Among the disparate survivors whose fates will become intertwined are Max, a man who began the day with birthday celebrations tinged with regret; Vashti, a young woman who has already buried three of the people she loved most . . . but cannot forget Max, the one man who got away; and Gene, a Stanford geologist who knows far too much about the terrifying earthquakes that have damaged this beautiful city and irrevocably changed the course of their lives. As day turns to night and fires burn across the city, Max and Vashti—trapped beneath the rubble of the collapsed Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium—must confront each other and face the truth about their past, while Gene embarks on a frantic search through the realization of his worst nightmares to find his way back to his ailing lover and their home.” (Source)
The blurbs I read compared this to Station Eleven and while I think the comparison is good, I don’t think this book quite lived up to the bar that set. Like Station Eleven, this kicks off with a typical disaster movie plot but then tells a fairly slow paced, character-driven story. The writing was beautiful and the author waxes philosophical, but neither the writing nor the profundity were quite up to Station Eleven standards for me. This was, however, a great look at how everyone expects disasters never to happen to them and at the things we take for granted in our daily lives. As you might expect given the title, it was also very much a love story. I enjoyed the books many different takes on love, from that of siblings to parents and children to couples.
Where the book really lost me was the ending. The ending did two things that are pet peeves of mine and while they’re very broad things, they are slightly spoilery so I’ll use white font below and you can highlight the lines if you don’t mind some spoilers. First, I hate stories of star-crossed lovers and second, I really hate when part of a story or TV show turns out never to have happened. I feel as though I’ve wasted my time if the story I’ve invested myself in turns out not to even have happened in the imaginary world of the book or show. Finding out that the book was going to contain these elements at the end made the ending depressing and anticlimactic for me. I’ve noticed that in general the ending can make or break a book and this one knocked a full star off the rating for me. If you particularly loved Station Eleven and can going into this looking for something similar, but perhaps not quite as well written, I think it would be worth picking up anyway. And, if you checked out my spoilers and know they don’t bother you, I’d definitely recommend this.