Welcome to my stop on the Forty Days blog tour hosted by YA Bound. Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!
Author: Stephanie Parent
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 126 pages
The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…
…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?
With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.
Protagonist: Neima begins this book looking down on her grandfather for his crazy theory that the world will be destroyed in a massive flood and that he built a massive ark to survive it. Honestly there isn't all that much character development for her in this first book, mainly she wards off the advances of her cousin and tends to some of the animals she's befriended on the ark. Though she lacks sufficient development I didn't actually care because the writing surrounding her character was just that good. It was easy to get lost in Neima's personality and her personal drama as the flood approaches.
Romance: There is a love triangle in this book, and while it may not seem like it at first, due to the fact that the romance was sidelined until much later in the book, it's there subtly throughout. In the beginning it seems as though Neima's cousin Kenaan is a kind and compassionate person and though I knew he'd be part of the love triangle once Neima points out her mother wants them to be engaged, I thought and hoped he'd be a great side to the equation and be more or less equal to the other side. That is not the case however, as early on in the book Kenaan shows his true scumbag, pigheaded colors. It was sad to see such potential for a great love interest go to waste. The other love interest, however is a good guy. He's kind to Neima when the others in her village are not and doesn't blame her for the ramblings of her grandfather like the other villagers also do.
World-Building: I would also call this section "Biblical Accuracy" since that's kind of what I'm going to talk about. On the Goodreads page, in the summary of the book it says, "Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that FORTY DAYS may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet." This could not be more true. Going into this I had yet to read, or had forgotten reading that and was expecting a story more biblically accurate, being a Christian I was sort of hoping for it. However, I got over it pretty fast and learned to enjoy this more "realistic" version of Noah's Ark.
Predictability: Since this book is so short it's hard to have that level of foreshadowing that a longer book would have. That being said when there were twists they weren't the kind that I saw coming, even when I probably should have. There weren't too many twists, actually the only one I can really think of happens in the end and is actually the giant cliffhanger.
Ending: There was a giant cliffhanger to this tale and while I admire the attempt to shock and stun reader's with it's enormity it felt a bit forced. The way it came about kind of progressed naturally, but the last chapter or so seemed kind of like one giant push to the finish and with so much happening at once it was hard to see this ending as realistic.
This book was a great reinterpretation of the the story of Noah's Ark. However, the ending felt a bit rushed and with it's short size I feel as though combining this book with the next and final one would have made for a great standalone whereas just this one alone was slow to start and had a rushed ending.
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About the Author:
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
(1) e-book of Forty Days and $10 gift card to Amazon (INT)
(3) e-book copies of Forty Days (INT)
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