The Ark by Annabel Smith

October 2, 2014 Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction 15

It’s The End of the World As We Know It, Bookworms!

I feel fine. How about you? It’s no secret that post-apocalyptic fiction is my jam, so I was pretty excited when Annabel Smith contacted me about checking out her new book The Ark. You might recognize Annabel’s name as one of the founders of the Six Degrees of Separation meme. Annabel and I bonded over the fact that her meme was fun and it allowed me to connect books using yogurt (it really happened). *In the interest of full disclosure, Annabel Smith is my blog friend. I was offered a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration. That said, I’m honest to a fault, so y’all can still trust me.*

theark-annabelsmithThe Ark is one part e-book, one part app, and one part high tech epistolary novel. It’s 2041 and the future is UGLY. Hidden in the Australian wilderness lies a secret bunker of sorts. It’s a seed bank, you know, where seeds are stored so humans have a backup plan when they destroy the planet. (Seed banks are a real thing, and totally legit. Swearsies.) An exclusive group of scientists and their families are invited to ride out The Chaos (peak oil, civil unrest, food shortages, general anarchy) in the seed bunker known as The Ark. It sounds like a great plan, except whenever you confine people into an underground bunker and lock them in, things get weird. Charismatic leaders always have hidden agendas, and the folks in The Ark are left wondering who they can trust.

The Ark was published as an e-book with a cool collaborative app experience. Or so I heard. The book is best experienced on an iPad, and relative luddite that I am, I’ve only got a Kindle Paperwhite. (Which I love the way humans are never meant to love electronic devices.) Luckily, I was able to poke around the novel’s corresponding website after I’d finished reading and came to appreciate it even more. If you’re going to read this one, don’t skip the website. Or, you could just read on an iPad and be one of the cool kids and not have to take the extra step. Whatever.

The story itself is laid out in a series of e-mail communications, text messages, and blog posts. There are also several segments presented as transriptions of conversations and it was exceptionally cool to get to listen to those through the website/app. Heaven help me, I LOVE Australian accents. Certainly an innovative idea for a disturbing story.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me without a minor gripe, would I? There’s a section of the book written in the form of a teenage boy’s blog posts. I know teenagers are all about the text-speak and the new-fangled lingo, but I struggled to read portions of it. That’s really more on me than the author, my inner old lady is spoiled by correct grammar and conventional spelling (they don’t call me Ethel for nothing!) Still, if you’ve got the itch to read some delicious post-apocalyptic fiction, I recommend you get your paws on a copy of The Ark post haste!

Alright Bookworms, let’s get real. If you were locked in an underground bunker, how long do you think you’d make it before losing your ever loving mind? I think I could hack it a week. Maybe. What about you?


15 Responses to “The Ark by Annabel Smith”

  1. Annabel Smith

    Thanks for a great review Katie. You’re not the first to find Roscoe’s section hard going – my mum declared it unreadable! I’m so pleased to hear you listened to some of the audio recordings too.

  2. AMB

    I haven’t read much post-apocalyptic fiction, but this one sounds interesting. I’m particularly intrigued by the collaborative app. It’s exciting to see how creative authors/publishers use the technology available to them.

  3. Megan M.

    That sounds super cool. I have a Kindle Touch, which I also love more than I should, so I would have to go to the website too. LOL

    I’m kind of a hermit by choice, so part of me thinks I could last a long time, no sweat. But having the freedom to leave a place if you want to is pretty important, so I think after about a month I’d be like, “But… I just really want to go to Target!”

  4. ThatAshGirl

    Ooooo this sounds cool.

    As for the text speak. I hear ya. I have always struggled reading things that are written phonetically. Back in the day, I almost threw Uncle Tom’s Cabin in a lake for that very reason.

    And there’s no shame in loving an electronic device that provides hours of entertainment….wait that sounded weird. I meant reading…I meant reading.

    • Annabel Smith

      I knew I was taking a risk with this section! I have hated it in some books (Trainspotting) and loved it in others (A Clockwork Orange). So I think it can depend how it’s done. I got so into my teen-speak dialogue while writing that I almost started talking in it.

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