Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Review: Charlinder's Walk by Alyson Miers (Novel Publicity Blog Tour stop)

from goodreads

In 2012, the Plague ended the world as we know it. In 2130, Charlinder wants to know why.

The origin of the disease remains a mystery. Their ignorance of its provenance fuels a growing schism that threatens to destroy the peace that the survivors' descendants have built. Unwilling to wait for matters to get any worse, he decides to travel to where the Plague first appeared and find out the truth-which means walking across three continents before returning home. 
Charlinder has never been more than ten miles from home, has never heard anyone speak a foreign language, and he's going it alone.

He survives thousands of miles of everything from near-starvation to near-madness before he meets Gentiola. By then he's so exhausted that the story she offers to tell seems like little more than a diversion...until he hears it. 
Nothing could have prepared him for what he learns from her, and no one ever told him: be careful what you wish for. The world is a much bigger place than Charlinder knew, and his place in it is a question he never asked before.

review

I might sound a bit gushy and all over the place while saying this but I LOVED THIS BOOK! I spent the whole of this week reading Charlinder's Walk in bits and pieces till I reached the heart of the journey and was glued, as aware that I was getting closer to the "origin", the original purpose of the journey as Charlinder and I wouldn't have preferred to read it any other way.

THE STORY

Charlinder's Walk takes place in the year 2130. The world as we know it was destroyed in 2012 due to an airborne-disease with a frightfully long incubation period. The Plague spread from Italy to the rest of the world leaving few survivors who were scattered all over. They were in many ways taken back a few centuries with the absence of technology and with stronger ties to the land. 

The brewing conflict between the Faithfuls and everyone else about the origins of the Plague and how life should go on in the Paleolan community leads Charlinder, a teacher who hasn't even ventured ten miles away from home, to decide to embark on a journey all the way to Italy to find out the actual origin of the Plague. Maybe that, he decides, will bring an end to all the unrest... 

Charlinder WALKS across three continents... that's right, walks!... over the span of three years with only a sheep, Queen Anne's Lace or Lacey for short as his companion. He does this by stopping by various villages at various points of time and meeting people from various cultures and communities with different beliefs about race, gender, sex and the Plague itself. By the time he quite literally finds the origin of it all, he wonders if the source of the problem was all he came for and if that alone is enough.

THE JOURNEY

I loved everything about Alyson Miers' Charlinder's Walk because of the Walk itself. Charlinder's journey wasn't easy and I felt like I was there with him as he crossed several barriers, encountered several hardships, was confronted with so many different types of living and attitudes towards gender, division of labour, sex and life and that, in many ways, helped him grow and fully live up to his potential. I loved Charlinder, with his fondness for knitting, weaving and teaching and how he was bright, unusual and yet completely true to himself. I enjoyed getting to know him as he grew out of his old shoes, ragged from his travel, into newer and bigger ones.

What the journey was like for me...


It started out relatively slow as Charlinder encountered a variety of communities and societies as he walked across North America. A lot of the communities were not avuncular like the Paleolan settlement and the Hyatt's dictatorship-like regime was a startling depiction of how even though post-Plague, the whole haves vs. haves-not classification had been practically wiped out, it was only a matter of time before it could reemerge.

I could appreciate Charlinder's bond with Lacey, his sheep and only constant source of companionship, especially after Charlinder ventured into Eurasia where there was the language-barrier between him and the locals that presented a whole new challenge! I adored Lacey and grew extremely attached to her. There were so many light hearted moments that had me giggling, especially one with Charlinder, Lacey and a wolf!!

I could feel Charlinder's feelings of isolation and distance from everything around him as the winter approached. Halfway through the book, I was filled with a sense of heartache and loss but really, that's where it all began. By the time Charlinder reached Italy, I could feel his confusion and wonder about what he'd actually came for and the actual implications of the origin of the Plague.

It was an amazing journey, especially the journey back to North America when I could feel the growth in him and how his experiences had caused him to question his role in the world rather than just the state of the world! It was a teary, difficult and realistically long journey and I loved the insights, details and richness of it!


I started reading Charlinder's Walk at a photocopy shop, read a little on the bus on my way back from my summer internship and most of it at home on particularly sunny days. This book has traveled places and I loved every minute of my journey with it! Charlinder's Walk was an extremely long read for me which made me appreciate the length and breadth of Charlinder's walk even more. With a pleasant writing style, an engaging and diverse bunch of characters and the exploration of Charlinder's inner struggle alongside the exploration of much broader themes, this is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a coming-of-age post-apocalyptic novel that will make you think and envision a world that is strangely reminiscent of the world we live in. I feel Charlinder's Walk is definitely not for anyone looking for a quick read. If you are, you might be a little put off with this book because it is not exactly fast-paced. But spending time with this book is a rewarding and enthralling experience!

Publication date:15th October, 2011
Source: A hardcopy (paperback) of this book was provided as a part of the blog tour
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!
I apologise for my insanely massive review! It's just that I loved this book so much ❤
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Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Charlinder's Walk? Well, there are two ways to enter...
  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Charlinder's Walk tour page.
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the official Charlinder's Walk tour page--either way works just as well.
About the author

Alyson Miers was born into a family of compulsive readers and thought it would be fun to get on the other side of the words. She attended Salisbury University, where she majored in English Creative Writing for some reason, and minored in Gender Studies. In 2006, she did the only thing a 25-year-old with a B.A. in English can do to pay the rent: joined the Peace Corps. At her assignment of teaching English in Albania, she learned the joys of culture shock, language barriers and being the only foreigner on the street, and got Charlinder off the ground. She brought home a completed first draft in 2008 and, between doing a lot of other stuff such as writing two other books, she managed to ready it for publication in 2011. She regularly shoots her mouth off at her blog, The Monster's Ink, when she isn't writing fiction or holding down her day job. She lives in Maryland with her computer and a lot of yarn. Connect with Alyson on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.

Get Charlinder's Walk on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 comments:

  1. Wow, what a wonderful thing to find in the middle of a busy workday! I'm so glad you enjoyed my book!

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  2. I haven't heard of this book before, but your gushing review makes me want to read it so bad !
    It seems so interesting, especially because of the fact that it's a journey ! :D You learn so much while traveling, so I totally want to read Charlinder's Walk.
    I'm definitely going to be on the look-out for this one.
    Brilliant review, Pooja ! :)

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  3. You don't gush very often. When I clicked onto your blog and saw the cover I was like, Meh... then I read your glowing review and now I really want to read this! A sheep? Interesting companion. I hope nothing happens to the sheep it would break my heart. I loved how you described reading this everywhere! Thanks for sharing, now to enter and hope rafflecopter is lucky for me!

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  4. Eep Ajoop this sounds amazing-tastic and your review is splendid..i think you liked this book..LOL

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  5. Awh, Ajoop, I'm so glad you loved this book! It's not often that a reader finds a book that completely blows them away. At least, I know it's not easy for me. Five star books are rare, but treasured! I'm so happy that this book was one of those books, Ajoop! <3 Fabulous review.

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  6. Don't apologize, Ajoop! Every time I find an epic book that I love, I always feel like I could ramble on forever too! x) (I literally cut my own reviews in half to stop that from happening LOL) I have to admit that I probably never would've passed over this book if I saw it on my own, but the way you describe this one... it sounds BRILLIANT. I don't even think I'd mind the slower beginning because the rest sounds so breathtaking!

    Amazing review, Ajoop! Your five stars and super-contagious love for this are making me so curious! :) <3

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  7. Excellent review, Pooja! I'm so glad we were able to hook you up with Charlinder. I'm nearly done reading and love it as well--I think it would be such a good book to read in sociology classes. Rife with ideas but in an entertaining package. Thank you for being part of this tour and for being so enthusiastic <3

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  8. Glad you liked the book! I enjoyed it as well (:

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  9. Oh my, I wasn't interested to read this book but your glowing, sparkling, stunning review makes me want to read it! You always write a wonderful review, Ajoop, and believe us, it's okay to gush about amazing book you love! <3 Isn't it one of the reasons why we make blog, to gush about books we love with people who appreciate them too? Well, one of my reasons at least! x)

    Anyway, I love a sheep for companion - very cute! I wonder how the sheep can survive the walk. xD

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  10. @Alyson I did! Thank you so much for Charlinder's Walk, Alyson :D I loved every minute of it!

    @Nick I hope you check it out, Nick! It is brilliant and I loved the journey the most. As you said, there's so much you learn when you're on a journey!

    @Heidi Aww, I hope you get lucky too :D The sheep, Lacey, contributed to the most adorable part of the book<33 This is a wonderful book, Heidi!

    @Kimba Haha, I think I liked this book too :P Lol it's amazing, I hope you check it out!

    @Sophia I know I'm very careful with my five star ratings. Do not give it unless the book is fabulously amazingly awesome and this book was it! It's definitely a rare occurrence and I'm glad I got to read this book!

    @Mimi Haha I don't seem to be able to cut my reviews in half when it gets outta hand. I have that probably while writing essays in college as well. I just have to hope people don't mind :P I'm glad the love was contagious. Hope you give it a shot =)

    @Emlyn Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of the tour, Emlyn! I loved this book so much! It would definitely be a great book to read in sociology classes! xD

    @Stephanie I loved it (: It was fun to read your take on the book as well!!

    @Hilda Haha I guess it's okay to gush <33 It's definitely why I started my blog as well but I'm scared of gushing to the point of in-coherency!! :-! The sheep is super adorable. Lacey is her name <3 Charlinder has to stop a number of times for the sheep to feed on grass and stuff and there are times when Lacey is more exhausted than him... Charlinder has to carry her and walk!

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HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)