I like historical fiction and fantasy, so combining the two into time-traveling historians from 2060 going back to study World War II in person? Oh, yeah, I’m all over that.
The books are lengthy and involved, with lots of characters and locations. Brief chapters jump between telling the stories of various individuals, and sometimes you’re not initial sure who is the star of a specific vignette.
Willis makes it all work though, and the story lines converge and separate and combine to create an exciting and engaging tale. Characterizations are real enough that I was moved by their plights, and have continued to think about them weeks after finishing the stories.
Despite their length, I plan to re-read them soon, because I’m sure that I’ll find lots of details in what seemed like random side-stories turn out to be significant.
Absolutely don’t read the first if you don’t have access to the second; unless you have lots more patience than I do you’ll want to dive right into the second immediately. They’re really more like one giant book, broken up into two to avoid an 1100+ page monstrosity.
Don’t read it if you’ll want to really make sense of her theories on time travel. Read it if you can just accept her premises and roll with it. Don’t read it if it’ll annoy you when you consider some of her depictions of life in 2060. There were definitely bits that I found unrealistic (even beyond time travel; that I just accept as the basis of the book), but I could ignore it because I liked the characters and enjoyed her depictions of life in World War II so much.
Recommended, if you like this sort of book. It’s kind of a hard one to recommend in a way, because it’s not exactly historical fiction, or fantasy, but a mish-mash of the two. But I loved it.
Title: Blackout and All Clear
Author: Connie Willis
Category: Historical Fiction / Fantasy
Length: 512 / 656 pages
Release Date: 2010 / 2011
ISBN: 0345519833 & 978-0345519832 / 0553592882 & 978-0553592887
My Rating: 4 Stars
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