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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Review by hupspring

I've read this book a couple of times before, and I just recently finished it again. So I decided to write a brief review for it.

It's a time travel book (set in the future) about an Oxford student named Kivrin traveling to the past to study the Middle Ages first-hand. However, something goes wrong and she is sent to England during the Black Plague. Problems occur both in the past with Kivrin, and in the present where her colleagues are faced with a "plague" of their own.

The past and present both begin to develop similarities as diseases in both times affect the characters. And the characters are incredibly well developed. There are quite a few emotional chapters in which Kivrin must deal with the results of the Plague on those she (and the reader) begins to hold dear to her heart. I found that even very minor characters had a quality about them through Willis' descriptions that either made me love or hate them; there aren't many characters to which you feel only an indifference towards.

Every time I read this book I like it more and more, and even though I know what's going to happen, I still get emotionally drawn into the trials that the characters are going through. (Although I do admit that the characters and situations occurring in the "present" are nothing compared to what goes on the past.) From what I've read about the Black Death in non-fiction/history books, Willis does a good job making the setting and the attitudes of the characters "authentic" and believable. I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a great story (even if you don't like time travel or history-ish books).


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