Friday, September 28, 2007

Chris Adrian/The Children's Hospital


I suppose the best way to describe this book’s style would be magical realism. The story begins when the world comes to an end and is covered by seven miles of water. The only survivors appear to be the occupants of a children’s hospital that started out in Baltimore. There are four angels, who at times do seem more like demons – because as everyone knows, it takes four to oversee an apocalypse – one who protects, one who records, one who accuses and one who punishes.

The main character is a medical student, Jemma Claflin who has already lost both of her parents, her brother and a lover to tragic, horrific deaths and fears that she may be the source of misfortune to anyone close to her. She soon finds she’s got a mystical healing fire she’s able to use to heal all of the horribly disfigured and diseased children in the hospital. Once the children are healed, the occupants of the hospital attempt to establish some semblance of normalcy and attempt to right the wrongs that surely brought this “Thing” upon them in the first place. This book is ambitious and I’m cringing because as the first book I’ve chosen to review for The Book Book, this one is a tough call. At a hefty 615 pages, this book gets a little bogged down in the middle. There are a huge number of characters and I was confused an awful lot of the time when the author shifted to the point of view of the angels – who I could never keep track of. This book probably could have been tightened up a bit more, but despite the confusion and the length, it was a pretty intriguing premise and story and I’ll be thinking about it for a while.

4 comments:

Cheryl said...

Holy cow, this book sounds crazy!

Lisa said...

It was pretty crazy, but it was also very good. Despite some of the confusion introduced by the many characters and the odd points in time when the angels get points of view, it tackled a lot of questions about the nature of good and evil. The strange and magical happenings within the floating hospital become believable somehow, if you choose to suspend disbelief and just go with it.

topsurvivor said...

Do I, an avid reader, dare state my true response to Adrian's "The Children's Hospital? Ah! The recording angel implores me to tell my truth: This rather ostentatious work of Science Fiction is reminiscent of the saying, "If a theory or belief is repeated often enough, it becomes true." Thus, as most of the reviews I've read are very favorable, some even calling Adrian's work, "genius," it is not without some trepidation that I offer my own reaction: Yes, I wish I had those hours back. Or, is the Emperor really wearing new clothes?

Will said...

I think that topsurvivor's comment is showy and unnecessary. The Children's Hospital is a lengthy, ambitious, energetic and sometimes not-too-well-thought out book. It is rather entertaining, and people who have some extra time on their hands might enjoy reading it.