REVIEW: ‘S.’ created by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst

Image taken  from Goodreads

Image taken from Goodreads

This book is a marvel. A true work of art and an incredible immersive experience. The stories, while admittedly anti-climactic, are so brilliantly thought out and executed that it was hard to give the book 4 rather than a 5. As a work of art? As a brilliant idea and an absolutely inspiring effort by the creators? It deserves a ten out of ten. It’s absolutely incredible. And because of that it pains me to give it a 4 but it feels honest as the stories didn’t necessarily resolve the way I would have hoped.

This book is work. It takes a solid commitment to get into the story and it becomes more physically challenging the more invested in the story you get as there are so many (AMAZING!) notes, maps, cards and photographs to “hold in” place and one slip of a tired hand can send you into a panic! But it is so worth it. I opted to read ‘The Ship of Theseus’ first and return to the marginalia second. I was a bit distressed over how to tackle it when I first began but I’m very, very happy that I opted to do it that way.

‘The Ship of Theseus,’ took about a hundred pages for me to get really interested. I read those in small chunks on and off over the course of several weeks. Had I not been determined (and so very intrigued!) to read the book I may have even given up. I’m so very happy I didn’t as once the story grabbed me I read the remaining 300+ pages in two days. It’s a truly unique tale and cleverly crafted. Though ending with an anti-climax and leaving much left unanswered, I was still very pleased. Opting to read it and the margin story separately I had an extra interest in the themes and ideas I uncovered in the story, all the while wondering if it would all be explained in the end and subsequently de-bunked.

As for the tale of Jen and Eric in the margins, it too leaves many questions unanswered and there were several “wait, WHAT?” moments but once again I was just so in love with the concept I didn’t even mind. The notes, though overwhelming on first glance, end up being very clearly organized in a way that allows the reader to track the passage of time without detracting from the reading experience.

The physical book itself is the most amazing thing I have come across in a very long time. The feel, the smell, the look… every bit of it so lovingly authentic that it felt like a privilege to even have it. I caught myself running my fingers over the text on more than one occasion, fully expecting to feel the indentations from the pen on the paper. I love this book. As an object. As a concept. As a story. And as a true testament to the amazing things creativity can lead to.

If you are willing to make a commitment and put in the additional effort needed to read this book you will not be disappointed.

***An aside for any SK Constant Readers and ‘Tower Junkies’ who happen to read this review: I found myself laughing aloud at the many things that reminded me of the Tower (the most obvious being the text is drenched in references to 19 which is never explained). Perhaps it is just me, but I like to think, considering JJ Abrams’ history with Dark Tower that these were intentional nods of respect to King, and to the ‘other worlds’ we have all come to know in various ways. Anyone else?***