The Book Of M: A Novel by Peng ShepherdThe Book Of M: A Novel by Peng Shepherd

The Book Of M: A Novel

byPeng Shepherd

Paperback | June 5, 2018

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Brad Thor's Summer 2018 Fiction Pick for THE TODAY SHOW!

"Eerie, dark, and compelling, [The Book of M] will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014)." --Booklist


Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The 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.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

Like The Passage and Station Eleven, this haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.

Title:The Book Of M: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.99 inPublished:June 5, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:006285979X

ISBN - 13:9780062859792

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Truly Unique Writing I’d heard a lot of varying opinions about this book, even before I had a copy in my hands. A lot of people found it too slow, a lot of others absolutely loved it and some even said it was too vague a book. The synopsis, however, sounded VERY interesting and, like I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to diversify from my usual YA list and this sounded like the perfect book to get on with that goal. The Book of M is part dystopian fiction, part contemporary romance that answers the question: What makes you human, and what are you willing to give up be more? It took me a while to get used to the characters and the writing, but I really ended up enjoying this unique, brilliantly written book. MY THOUGHTS: 1. Peng Shepherd’s writing was STUNNING throughout the book, but especially as she wrote Max’s point of view. The more Max lost her memory, the better Shepherd’s writing got. It was heart-breaking as a reader and fascinating as a writer to watch how masterfully Shepherd broke down Max’s memories of the person she used to be. 2. I also liked the way she built up and described her characters. This book was completely non-linear, making the reader sit up, pay attention, and piece facts together from so many different parts. I loved the loyalties that were formed, the hope that something better awaited them and the cast of characters all around, shadowed and shadow-less. 3. Just like her writing of Max, I LOVED the descriptions and feats of magic in this book. It was such subtle, underrated magic that had no spells or wands, but a price to pay in exchange and it was just SO BEAUTIFUL TO READ? 4. At the same time, when the biggest plot twists came around, especially with Gajarajan, I was left feeling like it all wasn’t explained to me enough. I also struggled to get a physical sense of Ory, Max and the rest of the characters in terms of their age, and, most importantly, the when and how long aspect of how everything was happening. They weren’t HUGE hurdles, but they did leave me feeling a little lost in the grand scheme of things. Would I recommend this book? YES! Peng Shepherd’s debut novel is filled with stunning writing and a plot that keeps twisting as you go deeper. The Book of M was such a different book and I really enjoyed reading it.
Date published: 2018-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I love science fiction particularly dystopian science fiction so this was right up my alley. It was fascinating to think about how the world today would react to the phenomenon that was the beginning of the end to the human condition in this novel. The characters were well fleshed out and it was fun to flit between the various groups that had formed and then see their reactions as they were reunited. The ending was also totally satisfying and this would make a great movie.
Date published: 2018-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it!! I was a little skeptical of this book at first, but the further along I got, the more I wanted to keep reading. It's one of those books that makes you question your outlook on life and the way in which we take the little moments of a day for granted. I've already recommended this book to all my friends.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too Hyped I was highly anticipating this book once I saw it was likened to Station Eleven, however this book falls short. The concept is excellent, humanity begins to lose their shadows in a pandemic style fashion, and it turns out that the shadows are where our memories are stored. Unlike a pandemic, the shadow loss did not occur in a traceable patient zero contagion fashion, but globally at random - arguably more frightening. I enjoyed 3 of the 4 POVs in the book - Ory, Max (via tape recorder), and Naz. The Amnesiac annoyed me to no end, as I don't think his character was properly explored because the magic system that comes from the forgetting is not explained. Unfortunately, the novel is overlong and lacks developed character motivations or philosophical exploration to elevate it to the level of other great post-apocalyptic reads.
Date published: 2018-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Suspenseful.... Enthralling read.....really makes you question yourself.....
Date published: 2018-07-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I believed the hype. Usually this sort of book would peak my interest, but this book fell short. It was not beautifully written, if it had been perhaps I would have enjoyed it more. It was a page turner for awhile but then became a page turner because I simply wanted it to end. It was far too earnest for my liking as well.
Date published: 2018-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written This is one the best books I've read in a long time. Unique concept and beautifully written. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-07-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fabulous book I loved it! Gripping, intriguing, fantastic! Three words to describe this book. This book was seriously amazing! I loved how it was very intriguing from the very beginning and draws you into the unknown and unfathomable, into a world where nothing is at it seems and the in-seemingly possible is possible. It was beautifully written and I loved Shepherd's style of writing. The pages turned themselves and I found myself not wanting to put it down as I wanted to know what would happen next. Full of mystery and surprises, you can't help but feel a whole bunch of emotions for all the characters in the book. And can I mention that cover! Oh my gosh the cover to this book is simply amazing!! I love it. This book takes place in a futuristic world and mostly follows the two main characters, married couple Ory and his wife Max. One day on the news it is reported that a man in India has lost his shadow. No one knows why or how it happened, or what it means, but it is a strange phenomenon that mystifies everyone. Slowly the news spreads around the world, leaving most people scared and confused. Until the phenomenon spreads and countries begin shutting down their borders, leaving inhabitants quarantined. No one is allowed to enter or leave the country. The people who have lost their shadows have strange things happen to them that cannot be explained. They seems to gain powers, but it comes at an unthinkable cost. Their memories start to fade. Some people touched by this plague and lose their shadow lose their memories quite quickly, while others seem to lose their memories more slowly, and are desperate to hold onto their memories. If you realized one day that your shadow had suddenly disappeared, what would you do? What would you be willing to give up to remember and hold onto your precious memories? The world as they know it is no more. Chaos erupts and people are scared and more and more lose their shadows and their memories. No one knows how to help. No one knows how to stop others from losing their memories or their shadows and people are frightened. Buildings are destroyed, homes are wiped out, electricity is wiped out and food is becoming scarce. People are robbing and killing others for food and shelter. The whole world is chaotic. Ory and Max both have their shadows. Then one day Max loses her shadow. They both know that once her memories start to fade away she will become more and more dangerous; But so far she has all of her memories. How long will she have until her memories begin to fade? One day while Ory is out gathering supplies, Max runs away to try to save Ory from herself and sparing him from having to watch her deteriorate like this. When Ory returns home he is devastated to learn that Max has run away. How could she do this to him. They promised one another to not abandon the other. You will experience many emotions reading this book. I know I certainly did. I had hopes that Ory would be able to find Max one day and they would both be ok. The story continues from both Ory and Max's points of view. Max as she has run away and her journey to where she is running, and Ory on his path to try to find Max, the love of his life.  Will Max manage to get where she is going with her memories intact? Will Ory be able to find Max before she forget him and it is too late?
Date published: 2018-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enthralling debut If you enjoy reading about the 'what ifs' in the world then you will probably like this book. The premise circulates around losing your shadow and then your memories and begs the question: who are we without our memories?? Written with a decent blend of twists and suspense including a diverse collection of quirky characters.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Who are we without our memories? The Book of M uses a simple premise: sometime in the future, the population is afflicted by “The Forgetting” – a phenomenon where people lose their shadows, and with that their memories. It seems like a far-fetched idea, but as the story unravels, it becomes (almost) believable that this could be a reality. What are the memories you hold dear? Who are we without our memories? Peng Shepherd’s writing is beautiful and conjures up images of what this world is like for the very relatable and diverse cast of characters. It is light on the sci-fi and fantastical elements, has some thrilling suspense and action, and has broad appeal as it really is an encompassing novel on the relationships we form and the memories we make (and lose). I love dystopian literary novels - Never Let Me Go and Station Eleven are some of my favourites. The Book of M fares well in comparison and is definitely one of the most unforgettable debuts I have read in a while.
Date published: 2018-06-05

Editorial Reviews

“Captivating...Like The Passage and Station Eleven, this haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.”