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From one of the most imaginative writers of her generation comes an extraordinary vision of the future… Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven's world, such material must be closely guarded so that From one of the most imaginative writers of her generation comes an extraordinary vision of the future… Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven's world, such material must be closely guarded so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated. But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he's willing to go to save this new world—and how much he is willing to lose. Notes from the Burning Age is the remarkable new novel from the award-winning Claire North that puts dystopian fiction in a whole new light.


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From one of the most imaginative writers of her generation comes an extraordinary vision of the future… Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven's world, such material must be closely guarded so that From one of the most imaginative writers of her generation comes an extraordinary vision of the future… Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven's world, such material must be closely guarded so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated. But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he's willing to go to save this new world—and how much he is willing to lose. Notes from the Burning Age is the remarkable new novel from the award-winning Claire North that puts dystopian fiction in a whole new light.

30 review for Notes from the Burning Age

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    On the surface, Notes from the Burning Age appears to be a post-apocalyptic tale of survival on a future Earth ravaged centuries earlier by war and man's poisoning of the environment. Yet it develops into something else - a bittersweet dystopian tale of intrigue and espionage, where the central question becomes one of man's place in the world. Whether humanity can stay humble in the face of the environmental devastation it once wrought, or is doomed to repeat the cycle and again become a victim On the surface, Notes from the Burning Age appears to be a post-apocalyptic tale of survival on a future Earth ravaged centuries earlier by war and man's poisoning of the environment. Yet it develops into something else - a bittersweet dystopian tale of intrigue and espionage, where the central question becomes one of man's place in the world. Whether humanity can stay humble in the face of the environmental devastation it once wrought, or is doomed to repeat the cycle and again become a victim of its own arrogance. Does man stand above and apart from nature, destined to control it, or is he just a part of the larger whole? The story is told through the eyes of one man, a scholar and priest of sorts whose torments and trials mirror the strife of his world. He is an inquisitor, a member of Temple dedicated to uncovering and deciphering ancient knowledge, but only that which is deemed safe. Anything potentially too dangerous, violent or profane is considered heretical. He is buoyed by his beliefs in the "kakuy", the mythical spirits that centuries ago "crushed the cities and scoured humanity from the plains". These spirits manifest physically as monstrosities that threaten to rise up again and wipe away the pestilence of humanity with their wrath, yet have begun to fade from memory into legend. Claire North has an incredible talent for pairing intriguing speculative settings with thought provoking stories full of dynamism and suspense, and told with evocative prose that's always rich with emotional resonance. Notes from the Burning Age deftly mixes tropes and motifs of a suspenseful spy thriller, a mystical fantasy and a dystopian society, woven together over an intriguing post-apocalyptic landscape. It proves a gripping tale of both personal resilience and mankind's ultimate capacity (or lack thereof) to live in harmony with himself and his environment. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy for review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Claire North's new SF is climate-punk without as QUITE an uber-bleak outlook as usually comes with such cli-punk SF. Lots of intrigue, repressed societies, quasi-religious cultural restrictions that summon up the monsters that burned the old world, but still enough technology going around to make this world quite interesting and believable. I mean, inquisitors, people. What imagery! But what we've got here is spycraft, a tightly plotted novel, characters that are quite memorable, and enough twists Claire North's new SF is climate-punk without as QUITE an uber-bleak outlook as usually comes with such cli-punk SF. Lots of intrigue, repressed societies, quasi-religious cultural restrictions that summon up the monsters that burned the old world, but still enough technology going around to make this world quite interesting and believable. I mean, inquisitors, people. What imagery! But what we've got here is spycraft, a tightly plotted novel, characters that are quite memorable, and enough twists and turns and harrowing situations that amount to all-out war to fill any kind of cold-war thriller. Only this one revolves around old technologies plummed from the old internet, making a wild combination of translation issues, research espionage, and knowledge-is-power inquisition versus humanist revolutionary thugs... all during a post-climate disaster where most people have died. It is not only believable but it's wonderfully described and rich enough to make me live there. I've always been impressed by Claire North and this one doesn't disappoint.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Some necessary context for my reading experience: This isn't the first journey I've been taken on by Claire North. I've loved, on more than one occasion, both The Sudden Appearance of Hope and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I've read Touch too but merely liked it. All these stories have an element of the superhuman to them and that reading history set me up with expectations for Notes From The Burning Age that affected my enjoyment of this story. a story set in an age after the world h Some necessary context for my reading experience: This isn't the first journey I've been taken on by Claire North. I've loved, on more than one occasion, both The Sudden Appearance of Hope and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I've read Touch too but merely liked it. All these stories have an element of the superhuman to them and that reading history set me up with expectations for Notes From The Burning Age that affected my enjoyment of this story. a story set in an age after the world has burned, which explores whether humankind can change the paths we seem fated to follow.  The book description speaks of Notes From The Burning Age being a post apocalyptic story of humanity trying to find itself, but more than that this is a spy novel. It is first and foremost a spy novel worthy of comparison to the work of John Le Carré as opposed to any post apocalyptic novel I've read. But typical of North that doesn't summarise what the story is either. We're introduced to the Kakuy, Gods of the Earth awakened by humanities hubris and disregard for nonhuman earthlings, in the very first sentence and I was eager to learn more about them. It was about 200 pages later that I accepted that they weren't the story. If my expectations weren't what they were I would likely have thoroughly enjoyed what became a grimly engaging spy story sooner. As it was, I merely enjoyed it. At least on my first read. I look forward to coming back to Notes From The Burning Age and its engaging cast of characters again. There's enough in NFTBA to satisfy SFF fans but I hope that when NFTBA is officially released that its also marketed to entice fans of spy thrillers as they'd be best pleased with this offering from Claire North. My thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a dishonest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Claire North has written somewhat of an epic here, the trademark quirky writing style bringing to life a plethora of engaging characters living in a world that once burned and in war may do so again.. Venn is our main viewpoint into this world, as two factions head towards a war of principles that may turn bloody..I don't want to give anything away actually, as usual with this author the plot is sprawling and unexpected on so many levels, it is best not to know too much going in. The intricacy of Claire North has written somewhat of an epic here, the trademark quirky writing style bringing to life a plethora of engaging characters living in a world that once burned and in war may do so again.. Venn is our main viewpoint into this world, as two factions head towards a war of principles that may turn bloody..I don't want to give anything away actually, as usual with this author the plot is sprawling and unexpected on so many levels, it is best not to know too much going in. The intricacy of character and relationship, the vibrant spiritual and technological worlds colliding, the often exciting mental battles and the mythology created all add up to a fantastic read that I'm very sad to leave behind me. Highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Notes From the Burning Age marks the return of award-winning writer Claire North and her most powerful and imaginative novel yet - a spellbinding tale set in a future utopian society that is thrilling, moving and thought-provoking in equal measure. Once, the spirits of the mountain, sea and sky rose against humankind. They punished us for the heresies of the Burning Age - the time when we cared so little for the world that it went up in flames. We learned to fear them, honour them, and in the ce Notes From the Burning Age marks the return of award-winning writer Claire North and her most powerful and imaginative novel yet - a spellbinding tale set in a future utopian society that is thrilling, moving and thought-provoking in equal measure. Once, the spirits of the mountain, sea and sky rose against humankind. They punished us for the heresies of the Burning Age - the time when we cared so little for the world that it went up in flames. We learned to fear them, honour them, and in the centuries of peace which followed, the spirits slept. Ven Marzouki used to be a holy man, studying texts from the ashes of the past, sorting secrets from heresies. But when he gets caught up in the political scheming of the Brotherhood, he finds himself in the middle of a war, fuelled by old knowledge and forbidden ambition. And as the land burns again, the great spirits stir. This is a visionary, richly imaginative set in an age after the world has fallen (and burned), this masterfully imaginative story asks whether humankind can change the paths we seem fated to follow. This captivating tale puts an utterly original new spin on speculative fiction; North continues to amaze with the scope of her imagination and I was wowed by its sheer brilliance and uniqueness. It is a story that mostly defies categorisation but it's part prescient thriller, part political, part post-apocalyptic yarn and a compulsive tale of subterfuge and dark indulgences. The luscious prose paints a picture of juxtaposition between the massive overconsumption from which the Burning Age resulted and the close to utopian present. Ven becomes trapped between two worlds and two increasingly incompatible ideologies: the Temple’s teachings on worshipping Mother Nature and the Brotherhood’s political manoeuvres and proclivity to favour human political and military might over all else. A compelling, palpably tense and unsettling read from beginning to end. When it comes to making the decision, humanity must choose between continuing to destroy the earth, the environment and the climate or rein in its destructive tendencies so dawn can break on a better and brighter day.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I usually love Claire North's books. I've read many and have really enjoyed all of them. The writing in this book was really good and the details of the dystopian world were very intriguing. What ended up holding me back was that I couldn't get attached to any of the characters enough to care and much of this story required the reader to really root for the main character (at least in my opinion.) Parts of the story was very interesting and then parts dragged, for me. This is very unusual for a I usually love Claire North's books. I've read many and have really enjoyed all of them. The writing in this book was really good and the details of the dystopian world were very intriguing. What ended up holding me back was that I couldn't get attached to any of the characters enough to care and much of this story required the reader to really root for the main character (at least in my opinion.) Parts of the story was very interesting and then parts dragged, for me. This is very unusual for a Claire North novel and I can't wait for her next one because I am confident I will enjoy it. with gratitude to netgalley and Hachette Audio for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Probably more of a 3.5. I think it’s been a long while since I’ve read a proper dystopian novel, so this one took me some time to finish. Not that it wasn’t interesting, but I couldn’t find the pacing engaging enough. But I really did find the themes of climate change as well as the whole idea of future generations trying to piece together details about their ancestors’ technologies very fascinating. There is also a lot of translation, researching and archiving that goes on here and that was coo Probably more of a 3.5. I think it’s been a long while since I’ve read a proper dystopian novel, so this one took me some time to finish. Not that it wasn’t interesting, but I couldn’t find the pacing engaging enough. But I really did find the themes of climate change as well as the whole idea of future generations trying to piece together details about their ancestors’ technologies very fascinating. There is also a lot of translation, researching and archiving that goes on here and that was cool, because these are some fields which are very underrated despite being important and it’s quite rare that we find characters with these occupations in fiction. The plot was also interesting but what left the most impression on me was the question it leaves in our mind throughout - are we as humanity capable enough to learn from our mistakes, not let capitalist greed drive our decisions, and do something substantial to prevent our planet from further destruction. It’s definitely a very timely novel in this aspect, and I think anyone who enjoys the dystopian/ cli-fi sub genre would surely enjoy this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Federica

    OUT TOMORROW 5⭐ This was my third book by Claire North, my favourite being The Fifteen Lives of Henry August. She is undoubtely a fenomenal writer, highly imaginative and a superb storyteller. Notes from the Burning Age is set in a future post apocalyptic world, in a utopian society born from the ashes of the ancient times (our present time), when people spoke the ancient languages (our current languages) and nature rebelled to mankind and destroyed everything they had built (makes you think, eh?). OUT TOMORROW 5⭐ This was my third book by Claire North, my favourite being The Fifteen Lives of Henry August. She is undoubtely a fenomenal writer, highly imaginative and a superb storyteller. Notes from the Burning Age is set in a future post apocalyptic world, in a utopian society born from the ashes of the ancient times (our present time), when people spoke the ancient languages (our current languages) and nature rebelled to mankind and destroyed everything they had built (makes you think, eh?). Which knowledge from the ancient times must be kept from the new humans in order not to make the same mistakes again? And is it right to keep it secret in order not to destroy the world again? Very thought provoking, definitely not an easy read, political, ideologistic, suspenseful and evocative: a must read! Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennilynn

    Thanks to Goodreads I was able to get a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. Although I enjoyed the writing style, I still felt a bit lost at times during my read. Following the main character Ven in this post apocalyptic story, many twists and turns occurred where Ven had to question his faith… very thought provoking, perhaps I’m going to give it a second read to see if I could follow along better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    …The forest grows. And the kakuy are watching…. There’s something vast and implacable about the legendary kakuy in this post-apocalyptic world, which is many years after the collapse of the environment, after refugees sought dry, safe land, and after the deaths of millions, possibly billions. People survived and reestablished towns and cities, and developed new technologies that were less damaging to world. Along with the rebuilding, people developed a stronger sense of the interdependence of ever …The forest grows. And the kakuy are watching…. There’s something vast and implacable about the legendary kakuy in this post-apocalyptic world, which is many years after the collapse of the environment, after refugees sought dry, safe land, and after the deaths of millions, possibly billions. People survived and reestablished towns and cities, and developed new technologies that were less damaging to world. Along with the rebuilding, people developed a stronger sense of the interdependence of everything, personified by the planet’s earth, sky and water spirits, who had become fed up with our heedless destruction of the very things keeping us and every other thing alive and poisoned us, drowned us and burnt us to teach us a lesson. Those left behind became more careful of their use of planetary resources and of cautious of repeating old, climate destroying mistakes, and gave thanks to the kakuy. There is an entire religious order who function as priests and archivists of the ancient, unearthed and spotty records about old technologies and beliefs and practices, such as selfies, the internal combustion engine, submarines, and other things. Temple also has inquisitors, who control the spread of dangerous information, such as missiles, radiation, gasoline, strip-mining, and other things. Ven, the main character, saw a kakuy of the forest of his hometown die when he was a child, during a terrible and traumatic flight away from a massive forest fire. This event remains a singular, indelible event in his life, and forests are a recurring motif in his mind, and in this terrific book. Though most people are happy to accept what they have so as not to anger the kakuy, there are others eager to regain the many ancient technologies, however destructive, and the power and gender structures of a strong man, and subservient others, including the earth, from the pre-Burning days. This conflict fuels the action of the book, of those feeling only a few deserve the best of technologies, comforts and opportunities, as exemplified by the Brotherhood, and many others have a strong belief in community, of being mindful of one’s affect on the land and on others. Ven came from the Temple, and spends years in dialogue with a mastermind of the Brotherhood. Their discussions veer from practicalities to philosophies, with Ven’s acerbic voice taking us through them and a world very different from ours, but sadly the same, as the Brotherhood eagerly takes advantage of unearthed information about old tech. The differences in mindset and world views ensure that despite the fears of a world that could bite back, some people will always want to take advantage of others and of resources, leading this post-Burning age to war. The plot is big and covers a lot, but I never felt my interest flagging. Claire North combines a tale of espionage with philosophy; North’s world is vivid, and Ven’s life and interactions are full of tension, and many times suddenly violent. At the same time the text is frequently beautiful, and has scenes full of sound and wonder. This is a complex, complicated book dealing in ideas and beliefs. It’s absorbing and thought provoking, and very good. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for this ARC in exchange for a review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Runalong

    A constantly Surprising story that is although about a far future work of spies and idea is really talking about climate change and our own attitudes. Smart intelligent and tense Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl... A constantly Surprising story that is although about a far future work of spies and idea is really talking about climate change and our own attitudes. Smart intelligent and tense Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christine Sandquist

    Claire North is *so* good at writing deception. Her prose is immaculate, impossible to pick apart, and always a delight. I was especially impressed with the more violent scenes in this one. Highly recommended! Full review to come.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Solace

    This is an interesting dystopian book with a protagonist who dabbles in being a spy and and translator. The writing style is amazing and flows perfectly through the book. My main qualm about this book is that it mixed elements of sci-fi and fantasy, while also attempting some kind of socio-political commentary. In some instances, the book reads like a nonfiction about science and technology, wherein it feels like the author is giving their personal opinion on contemporary culture. I didn't care This is an interesting dystopian book with a protagonist who dabbles in being a spy and and translator. The writing style is amazing and flows perfectly through the book. My main qualm about this book is that it mixed elements of sci-fi and fantasy, while also attempting some kind of socio-political commentary. In some instances, the book reads like a nonfiction about science and technology, wherein it feels like the author is giving their personal opinion on contemporary culture. I didn't care for the protagonist or the side characters at all, and was slightly bored throughout the book. Lastly, the spacing and sentence gap in the ebook ARC was messed up which hindered the reading experience.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This one just isn't for me. I was trudging through this and only got to 25% before I had to tell my self it was okay to put it down. The premise was promising and I even found the first chapter very interesting, but the writing is not for me. It is unnecessarily dense in my opinion, and it's to the point where I have no idea what's going on. I felt no connection to the characters or story because of this. I know there are people out there who will love this, but I'm just not one of them. This one just isn't for me. I was trudging through this and only got to 25% before I had to tell my self it was okay to put it down. The premise was promising and I even found the first chapter very interesting, but the writing is not for me. It is unnecessarily dense in my opinion, and it's to the point where I have no idea what's going on. I felt no connection to the characters or story because of this. I know there are people out there who will love this, but I'm just not one of them.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Len

    The storytelling and language of this novel are really beautiful. It has a very magical voice. For the first 20%, I was all-in dancing through the novel and highlighting quotes. Then I hit a snag. How many times can one novel contain the word "heresy" because I'm pretty sure this one wins. Notes from the Burning Age refers to our time, right now, when we as a species consume from the land and give nothing back. Then the land pushes back, not because we kill or steal or cheat but because we clear The storytelling and language of this novel are really beautiful. It has a very magical voice. For the first 20%, I was all-in dancing through the novel and highlighting quotes. Then I hit a snag. How many times can one novel contain the word "heresy" because I'm pretty sure this one wins. Notes from the Burning Age refers to our time, right now, when we as a species consume from the land and give nothing back. Then the land pushes back, not because we kill or steal or cheat but because we clear the forests and poison the water. In this age, it is believed that the kakuy, mythological spirits or gods of the land, when angered will turn on the destroyers of the land and wipe them out, again. If they are angered by the severe disregard for natural resources, they will rise again, and turn the world to ash, again. The Notes are basically the lessons. They can be anything that was archived on a server from our time like an old recording of a voicemail on a mobile phone, a commercial from the '60s, plans to make bombs, or off-shore oil rigs. These materials are handled like coded troop locations in warfare because knowledge is power and without knowledge, history is doomed to repeat itself. But if you never know how to make a bomb how can you make one? That is the idea behind the censoring of these materials. However, if someone finds that data and uses that data, since it does exist somewhere, then what? Now you have war. In this age, there is a feud between a ruling body that is a combination religious/governmental body and a militarized people called The Brotherhood. The ruling body believes that there is information that people shouldn't know because then they will learn once again how to destroy the earth and anger the kakuy. The people push back against the censored materials believing all knowledge should be available to all people to use as life would allow, regardless of consequence. Of course, the party in charge believes that they are doing it for the greater good. The people don't really believe in the kakuy or hold value in kakuy so the two parties are at war against each other. But there is also the typical shady political stuff going on. Espionage! Heresy! =============== Reading this novel actually reminds me a lot of Catch-22 because with anything political you are just treading water, or running on a treadmill, or spinning in circles, or talking to a brick wall. So, now that I'm here at this place that is how I feel. I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels but getting nowhere and I dislike that in books and it definitely makes for a not so enjoyable read for me... I've actually never read a novel where I could like the author's style at the same time not liking the story. Typically they go hand-in-hand but this is the rare case. I will definitely look forward to future books from Claire North but this one just wasn't for me. If I had to pin-point why exactly I would say: We are meant to root for Ven, who is a priest and therefore part of the ruling religious/government body. I just didn't buy-in to them as a group that they were the good guys. I can appreciate their purpose to preserve the land and the natural resources but having a strong arm of censorship centrally located just isn't right either. Because of that I just couldn't really root for anyone and it left me underwhelmed on the story front. =============== What happened: (view spoiler)[ Ven discovers that it was Yue who was the spy and giving secrets to Georg. They were friends in college and she came under his spell. Before she even realized that she was doing something illegal she had already been committing treason for a while and then she just kept on doing it. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    From the last few Claire North books I've read, I've come to the understanding that it won't necessarily be something easy to read, but it will be a journey that I'll enjoy, for the most part. Notes doesn't break from that tradition. A tale of espionage in a new age, where the natural gods walk and care not for humanity. I won't spend much time on the writing; I am a huge fan of North, and nothing has changed too much here. At times whimsical, and times philosophical, it meanders through the sto From the last few Claire North books I've read, I've come to the understanding that it won't necessarily be something easy to read, but it will be a journey that I'll enjoy, for the most part. Notes doesn't break from that tradition. A tale of espionage in a new age, where the natural gods walk and care not for humanity. I won't spend much time on the writing; I am a huge fan of North, and nothing has changed too much here. At times whimsical, and times philosophical, it meanders through the story, with a focus more on thought than of dialogue. Not to say that it does not have dialogue, but more to say that we spend a lot of time in Ven, the MCs, head, focusing on their insecurities and worries. Thematically, it's an interesting story. Set in what's technically a post apoc world, humans have started coming back out of the woodwork, so to speak, and have started flourishing again. But this time, they seem to have learnt (a little), and are trying to live more sustainable lives. More solar, more universal care, more society building. I'm sure others have done similar, but it's the first time I've read something taking that starting point for a story, and I rather enjoyed it. Of course, humans being humans, this doesn't last long and we come back to the tried and true story of person vs nature. Or in this case person vs person who lives with nature . And it gets ugly. I won't say I sped through this. It meanders to and fro, and takes it's time getting places. For the most part I enjoyed Ven's thoughts and their reactions to things, however at times it did drag. While, the idea of humans destroying things is an inevitable cycle was a rather bleak one, it did feel like there was an undercurrent of hope underlying the whole story. As if, unlike in 84k, that we would get our ending, that it would be okay in the end. Sometimes you just need a little hope, especially so in these times. This review has been a bit rambly, but i'm trying to get back into the habit of writing, so bare with me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    On the Same Page

    3.5 stars ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What makes this book so interesting is that, even though it is technically a dystopian novel, there's a lot more underneath the surface. It's just something you discover slowly. At first glance, the setup seems pretty simple. Ven was once a priest of the Temple, asked to translate documents from the Burning Age, the age where monsters called the kakuy destroyed most of humankind after humankind destroyed m 3.5 stars ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What makes this book so interesting is that, even though it is technically a dystopian novel, there's a lot more underneath the surface. It's just something you discover slowly. At first glance, the setup seems pretty simple. Ven was once a priest of the Temple, asked to translate documents from the Burning Age, the age where monsters called the kakuy destroyed most of humankind after humankind destroyed most of the earth. Dangerous documents from that time that describe things like bombs, for example, are heresy, and must be archived and hidden away. When the Brotherhood, a group that believes that the Temple has too much power and that the kakuy have disappeared, approaches Ven so he can translate for them, he doesn't have much of a choice. Georg, their leader, has made it clear what will happen to him if he refuses. Once he starts, he quickly finds himself embroiled in a dangerous political game between people who want to return to the old, destructive ways, and people who want to honor the earth and pacify the kakuy. This is the start of a story that draws from many different genres and influences to become something unique, but also a somewhat difficult read. North has a way with words, and there were parts of this that I went back to read a second time because I was struck by a particular turn of phrase. But the book has not entirely earned its length. From the very beginning, there is too much focus on describing every detail of the setting, which becomes tiresome very quickly. Page after page of descriptions of the looks, smells and vibe of a city, complete with run-on sentences. It makes this a very dense book and definitely took away from my overall enjoyment. But underneath that, there is a fascinating story. It has political intrigue, a whodunit element related to spies, war and history, and at the centre of it are two fascinating characters. Georg and Ven continue to circle each other, mostly sure of their purpose in this world, both trying to convince the other of a theological standpoint. I genuinely enjoyed all their interactions and was eager to see what the next one would bring. I didn't feel much of a connection to any of the characters, but I didn't necessarily mind it in this case. Despite the first person POV, it does feel as if we are held at a distance from the events that are unfolding, forced into the role of an observer. Part of this is because Ven himself does a lot of observing throughout the book. He keeps much of his emotion in check, which impacts me as a reader, and makes the choice of POV an interesting one. If you have the patience for it, I definitely think this book is worth reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dame Samara

    This book was enticing in the same way that I found books like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 captivating in High School. It is like poking my head into a world that you can easily trace how you go from where you are now to the world depicted. Notes from a Burning Age covers some similar ideas to what we see in the above books but with the looming threat that those in the younger generations live with, the destruction of the environment, and the consequences of our continued use of things like fossil fu This book was enticing in the same way that I found books like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 captivating in High School. It is like poking my head into a world that you can easily trace how you go from where you are now to the world depicted. Notes from a Burning Age covers some similar ideas to what we see in the above books but with the looming threat that those in the younger generations live with, the destruction of the environment, and the consequences of our continued use of things like fossil fuels. This book makes you think about whether or not it is alright to keep information away from people when that information could be considered dangerous, such as Nuclear Weapons. This book covered so many ideas; that I stopped halfway through listening to buy a physical copy that I could mark up as I would have in High School. Having listened to the first half of this book again, I know there is so much more to see in this book, and I look forward to rereading this book. I feel like this book could be a better discussion piece for High Schoolers to read in English Classes. It covers way more issues than what we see in the books (1984 and Fahrenheit 451) that have been standard in High Schools for the better part of 50 years. Including ones that are way more prevalent in the world, we live in today.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angharad

    I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I feel every time an environmentally-themed book fails to properly acknowledge animal agriculture as the biggest threat to the planet despite mentioning practically every other factor (fossil fuels are only the villain's sidekick, people), or even worse, takes little jabs at those who speak up about it, and I'm sad to say this was yet another well-written modern day publication that does exactly that. Having now read some of the author's seemingly well m I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I feel every time an environmentally-themed book fails to properly acknowledge animal agriculture as the biggest threat to the planet despite mentioning practically every other factor (fossil fuels are only the villain's sidekick, people), or even worse, takes little jabs at those who speak up about it, and I'm sad to say this was yet another well-written modern day publication that does exactly that. Having now read some of the author's seemingly well meaning but misguided thoughts on these topics, it's clear where both the wonderful messages within this book come from, and the not so wonderful. These 4 stars are given for writing style, imagination (the kakuy are 5 stars to me), thoughtfulness and my general enjoyment of the thrilling aspects and espionage. I hope more people who care about our planet enough to write books of this length and depth about its destruction take the time to challenge their own views and make their own sacrifices before criticising other peoples or encouraging harmful practices themselves. We can all grow and learn.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine Beswick

    This is a story of layers: it’s firstly post-apocalyptic, but it’s also a spy thriller and an unsentimental love story; and then there’s the overarching theme of what we have done to nature to advance and enrich ourselves and of what nature can do to us in its defense. It’s a philosophical tale and delivers commentary on our current age via the data archives that remain and that consist to a large extent of the types of social media posts that we all see (and make) regularly. Although it started This is a story of layers: it’s firstly post-apocalyptic, but it’s also a spy thriller and an unsentimental love story; and then there’s the overarching theme of what we have done to nature to advance and enrich ourselves and of what nature can do to us in its defense. It’s a philosophical tale and delivers commentary on our current age via the data archives that remain and that consist to a large extent of the types of social media posts that we all see (and make) regularly. Although it started slowly, once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down and wished it had been double the length and more!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

    Honestly astounding and more genuinely gripping than anything I’ve read in recent months. North has hit upon something potent, powerful and thrilling in this story, which both excites in its narrative and encourages contemplation whenever you can bear to put it down.

  22. 5 out of 5

    BelleAnne

    Mostly, this book was just not for me. I absolutely loved the prose, which was definitely flowery. I found it to be incredibly immersive, and the prose combined with the post-apocalyptic setting and the kakuy—fantastical nature spirits/gods—made for a setting reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli movie. Due to the beautiful prose, I kept reading through a story that felt very shallow. We only got to know a few characters well, which muddled the political intrigue of the story. Additionally, the story co Mostly, this book was just not for me. I absolutely loved the prose, which was definitely flowery. I found it to be incredibly immersive, and the prose combined with the post-apocalyptic setting and the kakuy—fantastical nature spirits/gods—made for a setting reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli movie. Due to the beautiful prose, I kept reading through a story that felt very shallow. We only got to know a few characters well, which muddled the political intrigue of the story. Additionally, the story covered such a long period of time that it often felt like it was “telling” rather than “showing” the story. I think the audience of this book is those who enjoy flowery prose and like to sit back and watch a story unfold. Thank you to NetGalley to providing this ARC in exchange for a review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Mubanga

    DNF at 26%. I tried, but just couldn't connect with the story or the characters. I felt confused and disconnected and never wanted to pick this up. If I run across a physical copy, I may give it a try at a later date, but it wasn't working for me on my Kindle for some reason. I feel like the writing style was almost like telling a fairy tale of sorts and that isn't typically something I enjoy. DNF at 26%. I tried, but just couldn't connect with the story or the characters. I felt confused and disconnected and never wanted to pick this up. If I run across a physical copy, I may give it a try at a later date, but it wasn't working for me on my Kindle for some reason. I feel like the writing style was almost like telling a fairy tale of sorts and that isn't typically something I enjoy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sifa Poulton

    I received a review copy as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE is one of those books where the story and its premise, not to mention the world, are very interesting, but the narrative style was just not for me. The world is clearly ours but after many environmental disasters caused by greed and recklessness (the burning age.) As such, the place names are mutilations of present-day names, the blurred alterations of fuzzy I received a review copy as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE is one of those books where the story and its premise, not to mention the world, are very interesting, but the narrative style was just not for me. The world is clearly ours but after many environmental disasters caused by greed and recklessness (the burning age.) As such, the place names are mutilations of present-day names, the blurred alterations of fuzzy recollections passed down too many times. Isdanbul, Vien, Bukarest. Before - or during - or because - of the disasters, these "nature spirit" like things (the kakuy) arrived. They might have caused some of the disasters as punishment, or tried to save those who remained from the disasters the humans had created. There was a real ambiguity to them, partly a lack of knowledge and partly deliberate on the part of the priests. There are a few wry moments where Ven mentions that it's in the priests' best interests to keep them vague, but mostly it was up to the reader to work them out. I found them an intriguing metaphor for human's relationship with nature - monster, mother, other, conquerable, untameable all in one. The kakuy are also why I'd say this is fantasy-leaning dystopia, rather than the sci-fi leaning dystopia (which feels more common in the small pool of adult dystopia I am aware of.) Fragments of our civilisation live in on "relics" with the words "made in China" stamped into plastic, or the decayed, corrupted text Ven translates for others to determine if they're heresy (aka, destructive) or fine. It was such an interesting set up, and getting into the mindset of someone who had religious training but whose job was not theological determination but the more mundane translation work was really interesting. The man who was just another cog, who handled all this important information but made no choices. This matched his role in the book. He was an observer more than a participant, surviving because that's what you did. He was a prisoner or a seeming collaborator most of the time, doing as he was told. After the tense, frenetic start where he was a double agent under constant threat from being caught, he then spends a big chunk of the middle as a prisoner of war, not really biding his time to escape (as he fully expects to die) but just getting on with it, because what else is there to do? He's too calm and practical to let himself give in to despair. It somehow manages to work in the book. Usually that sort of character would really drag a book down, killing the tension and pacing as they have no goals so there's nothing pushing the book onwards. However, through his confinement time, we see the world being destroyed (again) second hand. For me, that really spoke to the current predicament, too many people sitting back, either ignoring the problem or deciding it was worth it. There was a terrifyingly familiar horror in it, seeing it all be wilfully burnt for "progress" without the ability to change it because the people doing it were too powerful. NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE is what I would call literary fiction. Not borderline or literary leaning, but straight up literary fiction. So much of the emphasis is put on the story telling style, rather than the story itself, and the style could make it quite hard to read at times. I probably should have guessed it was literary fiction from the cover. I mean, that cover doesn't scream SFF, does it? It's gorgeous, and the reason this book caught my eye in the first place, but it's a literary fiction cover in the colours and composition. This is not the sort of literary fiction that feels smugly self-congratulatory about the prose (the "isn't the style so clever?" type.) If it was, I probably would have DNF'd. No, this is the sort of literary fiction where prose isn't particularly linear - which my very linear brain struggles to follow. The main character is Ven, and the story is nominally told first person from his perspective. There are flashbacks - sometimes separate scenes, sometimes in scene. You can have two chronologically consequtive scenes back to back in different tenses. A scene might start with Ven's action, and then switch to a third person omniscient about someone else in the room or describing the city from a more detached perspective. Perhaps, (like the first chapter) the writing will be focused in third person on someone else and then switch halfway through to Ven. It felt quite scattered, leaping all over the place. It was definitely a deliberate, stylistic choice, picked to match the "the world is falling to pieces and Ven is bobbing through it, trying to survive, trying to work out what his place is and his beliefs" tone of the book. And some people will love it for that. But it's not a style that works with my brain. I need things nice and focused and ordered and signposted if the time frame is switching. So, ultimately, it's a good book, but it's just not one for me and the type of reader I am.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Claire North continually moves from strength to strength. Her latest novel is deeply moving and impactful, and still manages to be completely surprising, despite a relatively detailed blurb and advertising campaign! Her characters as always are crafted with the deepest empathy, across all walks of life. This is a book that very much could have had a "villain" or enemy, but really feels like genuine people with different points of view, very well expressed. Equally, no-one comes across well here; Claire North continually moves from strength to strength. Her latest novel is deeply moving and impactful, and still manages to be completely surprising, despite a relatively detailed blurb and advertising campaign! Her characters as always are crafted with the deepest empathy, across all walks of life. This is a book that very much could have had a "villain" or enemy, but really feels like genuine people with different points of view, very well expressed. Equally, no-one comes across well here; there aren't "good guys" either. To set the scene- climate change ended the world. And what a great scene that is to set! The exact details of the time in the distant past known as "The Burning" are somewhat lost, but all agree it was a time of extreme hardship, ecological collapse and mass extinctions. Worse, as the fires rained down and the waters turned toxis, strange earth spirits known as Kakuy awoke, adding their wrath to the inferno, punishing humans for their lack of respect of the world. Small remnants of humanity managed to survive huddled in secluded areas, and we're now a few thousand years later as civilization begins to rebuild itself, pushing themselves faster with access to the ruins of the past- digging through the ancient landfills for resources, and retrieving ancient documents to relearn arcane knowledge. Here enters Ven, our protagonist. He is a disaffected priest; translating these ancient documents, but concerned about who gets access to the knowledge that is contained within. One day, he is approached by some shady mafia-types and asked to translate something, to which he agrees. What follows is a deeply gripping political thriller set in the rising new world that North has created, as Ven tries to navigate the troubling environment of political and spiritual turmoil that he finds himself in. The foremost thing to note is that yeah, it really is an awesome thriller! North is great at writing these, Touch was similar, as are the Gameshouse novellas. But she also uses this expertly to show us elements of her world, weaving them seamlessly into the narrative. And it is a really interesting world that she has created; re-approaching modernity in a post-apocalypse, but with a generous helping of spirituality and reverence for the natural world. A lot of the conflict comes about when certain factions doubt the need for this reverance, and doubt the severity of the consequences, and doubt even whether these elemental spirits of the Kakuy exist at all. The thriller plot also feels very character-driven, with excellent genuine characters on both sides; making petty decisions and stupid mistakes amongst their wider goals and plans. The relationships between Ven and two of his mentors form major parts of the story, and give it an emotional centre that really elevates the book beyond simple sci-fi action thriller. An excellent book with a lot of insightful things to say about climate change; spirituality in the face of it; human perseverance and ignorance and how these can persist even with the best intentions; and how we can (or have to) combat ideological differences, especially when they may endanged others. It will give you a lot to think about. But it is also a rollicking good thriller, with some deep emotional punches and great characters.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    TL;DR: Dystopian cli-fi that oddly reads more like a twentieth century WWII Europe spy novel. Interesting premise, but deeply pessimistic. Pick up for beautiful prose (but slow pacing) and philosophizing on whether there’s any hope for humanity to live in harmony with nature (and one another). My rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Generations before North’s story begins, human civilization wrought havoc on the Earth through burning fossil fuels, unsustainable land use, pollution, nuclear weapons, etc. We TL;DR: Dystopian cli-fi that oddly reads more like a twentieth century WWII Europe spy novel. Interesting premise, but deeply pessimistic. Pick up for beautiful prose (but slow pacing) and philosophizing on whether there’s any hope for humanity to live in harmony with nature (and one another). My rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Generations before North’s story begins, human civilization wrought havoc on the Earth through burning fossil fuels, unsustainable land use, pollution, nuclear weapons, etc. We readers are living through it, so we know the drill. This is the Burning Age. Right now. In North’s imagination, our current era of humanity arrogantly seeking to control and dominate nature comes to an end in a great apocalypse when kakuy, dangerous and vengeful spirits of nature, fight back. They burn and flood and destroy the cities and societies of the Burning Age. The survivors are set back to an earlier stage of human civilization and adopt a religion marked by reverence and appeasement of nature, in hopes of keeping the kakuy from returning. A religious order of monks--the Temple--dredge up documents and relics from the past, labeling those that describe ecologically harmful science and technology as “heretical” and ensuring they remain secret and guarded from the public. But human historical memory is tragically short, and the mistakes of past generations are bound to be repeated. The ruling Council government is slowly losing ground electorally and in public opinion to a rival faction called the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood believes in the superiority of humanity over nature and calls for a return to the glory of the Burning Age, kakuy be damned. The two main characters--Ven and Yue--grew up in the same small village and are united by a shared childhood tragedy. A forest fire claimed the life of Ven’s best friend, Yue’s younger sister. Ven and Yue meet again as adults, when they’re both deeply ensnared in the political and ideological battle between the Council, the Temple, and the Brotherhood. With that summary out of the way, I really didn’t know what to make of Notes from the Burning Age. Despite being set hundreds of years in the future, it read like a twentieth century historical spy novel set in Europe in the years leading up to WWII. The Brotherhood is not dissimilar to the fascist, pronatalist, and technologically deterministic political parties of that period. Tbh, the idea that human society will be trapped in the same fucked up cycle generations from now, even after nature strikes back and repairs itself, is pretty damn depressing. I could have gotten over that, though, had I been drawn in by the plot and characters. But unfortunately, I found the pacing rather slow. While the writing is beautiful, I also found the naturalistic descriptions and political and moral philosophizing somewhat tedious to plod through. Ven and Yue are interesting foils, and North delivers some unexpected and affecting twists in their interweaving story lines. But I still didn’t feel much attachment to them. Both are rather guarded--attributable to their childhood trauma, espionage activities, and likely, North’s desire not to blow their covers (i.e. her plot twists) too early. Many thanks to NetGalley and Orbit Books for giving me advance access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    fridge_brilliance

    I’d say I went into this completely blind, as the blurb was the opposite of informative, but that’s not exactly true, since I’ve read Claire North before and have faith in her craft as an author. That said, I first fell in love with her as Kate Griffin, with her whirlwind world of urban magic-soaked London, and some of her novels penned as Claire North worked less well for me than others. So I approached this book with a certain degree of caution, ready to dive in but wary of disappointment. And I’d say I went into this completely blind, as the blurb was the opposite of informative, but that’s not exactly true, since I’ve read Claire North before and have faith in her craft as an author. That said, I first fell in love with her as Kate Griffin, with her whirlwind world of urban magic-soaked London, and some of her novels penned as Claire North worked less well for me than others. So I approached this book with a certain degree of caution, ready to dive in but wary of disappointment. And now I can safely say I shouldn’t have been. Claire North’s talent shines in this one; she often leans towards the philosophical in her standalone works, but this time it’s perfectly balanced with a personal perspective of someone who is more involved in the unfolding events than they would like to be. I would love to elaborate on the main character’s journey, but having read the book, I’m deeply convinced it is the kind that would be best enjoyed with as little information about its twists and turns as possible. I will say that I was delighted to discover that my initial understanding of where it was going was quickly turned upside down and catapulted into a political and philosophical dimension rather than remaining at just the personal story/growth level. The world building is superb: what we see is neither Mad Max-style post-apocalypse nor devolution back to the Stone Age. It is a new type of “do no harm to nature” existence; the details about it that make up the full picture are fed to you slowly, oh so slowly – slowly enough so that when the main philosophical conflict takes shape, it is as organic to the story as it is impossible to really resolve. More than once, I caught myself thinking about how some descriptions seem to evoke Mononoke visuals, which perhaps is not surprising, considering the focus on the environment and the destruction humanity wreaks on the planet. Unlike in most of Claire North’s other novels, the supernatural element here is mostly on the sidelines, a ghostly presence, and it’s never fully clarified whether this is something that really exists or more like part of the popularized theology meant to curb humanity’s ambition to once again subjugate nature. You would expect to be frustrated not to get a clear answer – and admittedly, a lot of people in-universe very much are – but I actually thought it was neatly done. Similarly, I found the way the overarching theme was handled to be thought-provoking and topical, but I can see why some readers might see it as preachy. Overall, highly recommended to Claire North’s fans and anyone who is willing to delve deeper into a seemingly uncomplicated book to discover a fascinating story. Thanks to #NetGalley for the advance copy of #NotesfromtheBurningAge

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    Although the world is deep and expansive, the premise of Notes from the Burning Age can be summarised quite simply: in a post-apocalyptic world mankind has risen from the ashes and learnt to coexist with nature, but unrest is slowly starting to rise and a political group called The Brotherhood wish to return to the old ways of mankind’s domination. The Brotherhood demand access to ‘heretic’ knowledge stored on old ‘burning-age’ servers, which are managed by a religious and ethical group (the Med Although the world is deep and expansive, the premise of Notes from the Burning Age can be summarised quite simply: in a post-apocalyptic world mankind has risen from the ashes and learnt to coexist with nature, but unrest is slowly starting to rise and a political group called The Brotherhood wish to return to the old ways of mankind’s domination. The Brotherhood demand access to ‘heretic’ knowledge stored on old ‘burning-age’ servers, which are managed by a religious and ethical group (the Medj) who judge what can and cannot be released into public knowledge. The servers of the burning-age are vast and may contain a wide variety of information from the past - old text messages between lovers, photographs from social media accounts, or potentially military schematics or the secret to nuclear fission. Ven, our protagonist, works for the Medj, translating servers and categorising information, but becomes entangled in the political agenda of The Brotherhood when he is employed as the personal assistant for one of their key players - Georg Mestri. Georg has a mole within the Medj, passing him stolen documents from the servers, and the novel slowly progresses into an espionage drama between the two sides. A war starts to brew and the world falls apart as large scale manufacturing and mining make a reappearance. The pacing is urgent and exciting, yet simultaneously slow and thoughtful. There are long periods of quiet reflection and thoughtful debate; mostly about the existence of ‘kakuy’ gods, who are worshipped, feared, and said to be responsible for the Burning Age. Are they rising again? Can mankind overcome them this time? Or are we doomed to always repeat our mistakes, striving for what’s always out of reach? For me, Notes from the Burning Age was captivating. Each character felt incredibly fleshed out in an extremely subtle way, which is evidence of North’s literary talent, and I would not be joking to say that this book read almost like a religious experience. I would highly recommend it and believe it will be a favourite for many years to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alan Taylor

    NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE is a thrilling story of future dystopia, a warning about global warming and man’s need for war, a lament that it may be too late for change and that we have already sown the seeds for the events in the novel, all of these… Like Claire North’s previous novel, THE PURSUIT OF WILLIAM ABBEY, the story can be read on many levels, and the more you think about it, the more you have to think about it. The story is told by Ven, a former holy man, in a world devastated by climate NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE is a thrilling story of future dystopia, a warning about global warming and man’s need for war, a lament that it may be too late for change and that we have already sown the seeds for the events in the novel, all of these… Like Claire North’s previous novel, THE PURSUIT OF WILLIAM ABBEY, the story can be read on many levels, and the more you think about it, the more you have to think about it. The story is told by Ven, a former holy man, in a world devastated by climate change and the industry which led to it, now caught between his former life in Temple and The Brotherhood, a revolutionary organisation who believe that man should once again tame the planet and exploit her resources to humanity’s ‘benefit’… “The Burning Age was too short-sighted. We shaped the world; built towers, seeded the sky, dug the earth, walked on the moon, built wonders and cured diseases. We waged wars, drained seas, built palaces in the desert. But we consumed too much. Ran too fast. … We were nearly wiped out, the peoples scattered to the furthest corners by deserts and storms. This time, we will do better. Our mistake was thinking that the fruits of man’s Labour must be shared with all. Now we know it is only for the few to lead, wisely and well.” So speaks one character, and it is impossible to read without hearing similar sentiments from current politicians the world over, those who refuse to accept the damage human beings are doing to the planet, those who believe a trendy pledge to work towards carbon neutrality is enough. The Burning Age is now. NOTES FROM THE BURNING AGE is as thought provoking as it is entertaining. Like any previous Claire North novel I have read, it is a book that defies genre. It is an incredible novel which deserves, almost demands, to be read more than once. It is beautiful and horrifying, hopeful and heartbreaking, the writing is stunningly good. I cannot recommend this enough.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hallie

    Notes From The Burning Age is at times a political spy thriller, at times a futuristic, dystopian epic, at times a fantasy, and at times a tragedy. Claire North writes fluidly from the haunting and poetic style in one paragraph to the blunt and harsh style in the next. A powerful novel questioning what it means to be human in the era that, hypothetically, follows the anthropocene. The novel follows Ven, first as a child and then as an adult, who is shaped by a tragic wildfire-made worse by clima Notes From The Burning Age is at times a political spy thriller, at times a futuristic, dystopian epic, at times a fantasy, and at times a tragedy. Claire North writes fluidly from the haunting and poetic style in one paragraph to the blunt and harsh style in the next. A powerful novel questioning what it means to be human in the era that, hypothetically, follows the anthropocene. The novel follows Ven, first as a child and then as an adult, who is shaped by a tragic wildfire-made worse by climate change-that swept through the forest where he grew up. The fantastical element is at play here because society as we knew it was destroyed when the "kakuy," god-like, indestructible beasts, awoke when humanity went too far in its destruction of the earth. Now, the kakuy are asleep, and humanity has started to forget, and a philosophical battle carries on between the Temple that Ven is a part of, which teaches that humanity must be humble before the earth and not live in excess, and the Brotherhood, a group of extremists that desire to return to the age of the "Burning Ones," the age of humanity's control over the world and the wealthy were at the top and men were men and women were women. Ven becomes entangled with the Brotherhood, and is forced to choose sides as the humans of the new age decide whether they will wage war with the earth itself and start the destructive cycle anew. This is a thought-provoking book, and although at times it felt slow in pacing, at other times it was completely gripping. The novel raises, and addresses with poignancy, painful questions of humanity's place on the planet, of the suffering we inflict, and the guilt and shame we carry with us every day as part of our existence. What duty do we owe to each other? What duty do we owe to this world? I highly recommend this book.

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