Monday, March 14, 2016

Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson

Bats of the Republic: an Illuminated Novel (2015) by Zachary Thomas Dodson was a very interesting book. I loved the unusual format, with the story told in several formats from several points of view, and all the ephemera throughout (maps, drawings, notes, etc.). The nature drawings and observations of the wildlife in the frontier were especially great, and I really do like when the idea of a "book within a book" is used well.

The story built up quite quickly to a point where I really just had to know what was going to happen, especially with the famous letter that was the center of most of the main characters' stories, with the 'past' storyline about delivering the letter and the 'future' storyline about finding it. I also really liked the setting of both the parts of the book in the 'frontier' era of a slightly different past than in our own universe and the post-apocalyptic future, with Big Brother-like ruling class.

The build-up of the story was very tense and really made you feel the stress the characters were going through. Unfortunately the ending had very little pay-off for all this build up. It resolved almost no part of the story, and never actually clarified this mysterious letter that was such a big part of the story. I was glad to have read it, but the ending really disappointed me. However, if you're not a person who prefers (needs) a very concrete, conclusive ending to your stories, then I think this wouldn't be as big of a problem. Overall, I do think this is a book worth reading as the story and format are so unusual and interesting.

Keep reading! Beth

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