I had never read Matt Haig before reading The Midnight Library. I did some light perusing of his author bio on his Goodreads page and found that he’s also written self-help books that tackle the topic of depression and suicidal throughts. His portrayal of those two very serious topics seemed raw and genuine in The Midnight Library, and so I wasn’t surprised that he has a personal connection to the themes he writes about. I found many passages in his book to be very passionate and moving.
So, why not pick up another one of his books? There are quite a few, I picked this one because I liked the narrator. I didn’t bother reading any of the blurbs, I was just sampling audios and seeing which one I liked the best.
This starts out with an alien trying to explain to his own people that humans are real. It takes an ominous turn when the reader finds out that his mission is not benign or scientific. He is taking over the life of a renown scientist, using a body that looks like a man named Andrew, and living his life until he gains all the information he needs… and then he’s to kill everyone associated with Andrew who knows about his discovery.
Andrew was a mathematician fucking around with prime numbers and made a major, species altering discovery… and it caught the attention of aliens who would prefer if humanity did NOT make major technological advances just yet. We weren’t deemed ready, and honestly could you blame them? They are a species in love with numbers, logic, and rationality. Humanity is an enigma beyond understanding to them, with our violent, irrational, and complex social structures based off nothing but concepts.
As “Andrew” (the actual alien has no name, they don’t believe in the individual and value the collective), continues to get to know his “family” he really does start to take on human characteristics. He starts to experience human emotions despite his best efforts to avoid them — he’s in one of our bodies and some of the things he experiences are involuntary and alien to him, which includes emotions. I always loved the concept of watching an alien react to our species and get their perspective on our madness. I don’t think I’ll get tired of that trope used in Sci-Fi.
This was a very straight forward story in a familiar setting so it didn’t take long at all to sink into it, or to finish the book. I believe it’s under 300 pages and the audiobook was great. Because it was very straight forward in its plot, and the writing style itself was so easily digestible, I sailed through this book in a sitting.
At first I wasn’t sure I was going to fully like this one, but I’m glad I stuck through because around 30% I started to get invested, and by the end I was very satisfied with where the story had gone. I find that this is the second time Matt Haig has explored the meaning of life and humanity and what the search for meaning behind it all. This is probably one of the most explored topics that humanity has explored, but with each persons perspective I gain something new from it.
The tone is definitely much lighter than Midnight Library, this was laced with humor and sarcasm, and was a much lighter read by comparison. It’s neat to see an author have that kind of range where you don’t know what you might get from the next book.
- Plot: 11.5/15
- Character: 13/15
- World Building: 11.5/15
- Writing: 12.5/15
- Pacing: 12.5/15
- Originality: 11.5/15
- Enjoyment: 8/10
Final Score: 80.5/100 or 4/5 stars on Goodreads