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Summary

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe, risking everything to save the ones they love. In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. This mysterious phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories. 

Two years later, Ory and Max have escaped the Forgetting by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears. Knowing that her condition makes her dangerous, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memories disappear, he sets out into a perilous, unrecognizable world.

©2018 Peng Shepherd (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Graceful and riveting." (Publishers Weekly)

"A voice that's as emotionally compelling as Gone Girl, a novel that's as thrilling as The Stand. Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep." (David Lipsky, New York Times best-selling author of Although of Course You End up Becoming Yourself and Absolutely American)

"The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure." (Darin Strauss, best-selling author of Half a Life)

What listeners say about The Book of M

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A book at both extremes

I thought that the first quarter of this book was an easy five star. What a wonderful idea: where shadows are disappearing and memory is failing, and weird magical things seem to be happening. A strange post apocalyptic fantasy. It got me asking lots of questions about why and where and how it has all happened.

Then... my questions that would be answered were answered in the first-quarter.

The vast majority of the book felt like a generic post-apocalyptic fantasy. One faction could have been zombies, I thought.

In the middle, characters go between places, join warring groups, fight, get ambushed, fight some more, kill lots of people, and then finally there is a big battle: a quick battle that even the author doesn't seem particularly interested in, because the point is the plot twist in the last hour.

And it's a good plot twist. I didn't expect it. And it really worked for me. I nearly gave up well before. I'm glad I didn't.

So I found the book in some ways among the best I've listened to this year. But too often a soggy biscuit. Some bits of writing I found clunky. And some events seemed off (in a story with magic I guess everything is okay because, um magic, but some things felt 'thin', not thought through – as if something was just said for the purpose of one sentence).

So overall I'm giving it 3/5, but imho it earns both 5/5 and 1/5.

I don't think it's any coincidence that the favourable reviews I saw refer to the first and last bit. If you steam through the middle, or just love spending time in a post-apocalyptic violent factional world ;), I can see how this may be a big winner for you. It was a mixed bag for me.

2 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable

Oh how I love a bit of dystopia. This time, people 'lose' their shadows, and with the loss of their shadows comes the loss of their memories. The added twist, is that when they are losing their memories, people begin to be able to do remarkable, scary things. Magical things.
We follow Ory and his quest to find his wife, Max, after her shadow disappears. She leaves to protect him. There are also two other main characters whose stories we follow - an olympic trained archer and the Amnesiac.
I loved this. The narrators were excellent, and for such an implausible concept, it just seemed so likely! For a book with magic, it didn't seem wildly fantastical. Why SHOULDN'T this happen? It makes a change from a killer virus (for the record, I like those kinds of stories too, by the way). I really liked the descriptions of those who lost their memories - the way in which it happened sounded a bit like I would imagine those with Alzheimers or dementia lose their memories. This book is about how important our memories actually are, how they shape the way we live our lives.
A very good book/ listen!

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

Such a great story. Kept me hooked all the way to the end. incredible story telling. The voice actors really did a brilliant job too.

1 person found this helpful