Cover Image: The Tide Will Erase All

The Tide Will Erase All

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It's surreal and horrific, and I appreciate the emphasis on found families.... but ultimately, this one dragged a bit too much for me.
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If you begin The Tide Will Erase All with any expectations, all of those expectations will be shattered.  A great read for lovers of Douglas Adams.
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Told through the eyes of an 11 year old girl named Avery, nicknamed Robot, the world goes into an apocalypse when something coined The Mouth of God descends on the universe. This book takes place a year in while a band of random children and adults try to save the planet.

Unfortunately, any other information is hard to glean. Pages and pages of interesting but nonsensical sentences and descriptions make this book feel like it’s going nowhere. It was exhausting to read. Add to that the fact that our MC is 11 but weirdly wise and childish at the same time. All the kids and adults have the same voice and thought processes and no character feels unique. I think I would recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi!
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Sadly, I DNFed this book at about 40%. I tried and I tried but I couldn't get invested. I'd like to say that the cover is absolutely stunning, and it was the main reason I decided to give the book a try. Sadly, I just couldn't connect with the little girl main character or the story world. Some might find this book whimsical or eccentric, but it was a pass for me.
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The Tode Will Erase All

[Blurb goes here]

Man kind is on its way to oblivion, narrated by a kid, a kid that has a gifted vocabulary most adults now a days don't posses. Unfortunately for the reader, this does nothing to hide the fact that the story turns too convoluted at by the end you will wonder 'what have I just read?' You won't be alone when asking yourself this question, since the poetic ramblings of the small girl obscure the story to a point where the story stops making sense.

Thank you for the advanced copy!
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DNFed at 60%

<blockquote><i>It was like the stars had always been guiding our fates, and with them gone all our souls were exposed.</i></blockquote>
I feel really bad about both the rating and the DNFing of this book but I just couldn't do it anymore. I quite enjoyed the writing style to be honest and the whimsical style of the beginning really made me think I was going to love this but, gun to my head, I could not tell you what the plot was after reading 60% of it. 

The general story is an apocalyptic one told through the eyes of an imaginative 11 year old girl and chronicling what she gets up to with her band of misfits as they try to figure out what happened and how to survive. Who is in this band of misfits? Well, there's one character named Seven who's an astronomer and whole lot of other characters that are never introduced properly and so I don't even know if they're human or not. At one point, a death happens and I had no idea if the name belonged to a cat or a person; I was completely devoid of emotions and detached from all the events in the story. I was not distracted, it's just extremely difficult to piece together the jumble of sentences. 

One other major flaw I felt the book had that made me unable to connect with it was the decision to narrate everything from the eyes of a child and then randomly pick and choose the childishness of the narrator's voice. The tone was so inconsistent that at some point, I was wondering whether this child was actually a robot masquerading as a kid or not. Your character can't be super wise and extremely naive about everything at the exact same time, it gives hints that lead the audience to think they're not as they say they are when in reality, it's just a wrong choice of narrator. 

Overall, it's a shame, really, because I do feel like the concept is a good one and the writer definitely has a way with words, but this story is in desperate need of some editing (or, some hallucinogens to take you on the trip with the characters tbh). The book feels very much like what the cover looks like, super colorful and pretty and eye-catching but lacking any cohesive substance. I wouldn't say it's a bad book though, I'm intrigued in reading future works by the writer and I'd even recommend this if you really really like science fiction books and want to literally feel like you're being sucked into a vortex because hey, at least the vortex is filled with nice writing and interesting quotes. 

<i>Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book</i>
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The Tide Will Erase All by Justin Hellstrom is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late June.

The first-person narrator, Avery, and other childlike beings travel through space, meet up with other beings, socialize, and tell stories. Very random chapter names and illustrations and, yup, that same randomness soaks deep into every tossed word salad of this book.
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Have you read absurdist existential novels? This is the closest I've ever come to the French 1967 classic Boris Vian's Froth on the Daydream. There is sense, there is philosophical questions, there is a plot, there is a whole bunch of strong emotions, but all of it is wrapped up in a strange distorted world where no rational rules apply. The rules are different and make the world bloom into strange colours and shapes. All of it is accentuated by the sci-fi element of course. You have to take it nice and slow, peel back the layers, appreciate the wry humour of a broken child genius in a drastic apocalyptic world. There is a little of Kurt Vonnegut, a little of Interstellar, pretty image-loaded language, strange hallucinogenic creations. magical realism, imagination, nonsense. Do not pick up this book if you have little brain space, this is one for a trip and decoding and imagining. It will certainly not fit everyone, but those it speaks to will cherish this odd creation.
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I’d like to start this review with praise for the cover. It definitely captures the content of the book extremely well, in addition to it being absolutely stunning! Despite that, I don’t think that this book is for me, so I unfortunately had to DNF it at 30%. 

There were a few things I liked. First is the writing style. The book is eccentric to the T. It’s fun, adventurous, and exciting. I loved reading about the journey of how Robot and the gang came to be. This is the most quirky newfound family I’ve ever read about. Each character is also different. They have their own unique personalities and they serve a purpose in the story. 

Though like I said, this book isn’t for me. I wasn’t able to really follow through what is happening in the story. Everything happened far too quickly for my liking, and I just can’t grasp my head around the concepts and events. I also felt like the story is somehow too random for my brain. It could just be me who is slow to follow things, though, in addition to being unfamiliar with the genre. 

All in all, I have great faith that somebody out there will find appeal in this book. Thank you for allowing me to read this story!
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**An e-ARC of this book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** 

The Mouth of God appears, a universal event wherein stars and galaxies begin to explode and the proverbial apocalypse begins to take place on Earth. You follow the adventures of one Avery Lucille White, affectionately known as ‘Robot’, an eleven year old girl who witnesses it all and narrates her life through a walkie-talkie to an unfortunate group of astronauts orbiting the earth.  

Having never been on an acid trip, this book reads like what I would assume an acid trip would be like. It’s eclectic and weird and the tone is all over the place. It’s simultaneously ‘look how smart I am’ and ‘how do you do my fellow kids’, which I can only assume is the side effect of having an eleven year old narrate what is a very existential book. 

You know in NBC’s ‘The Good Place’, when Chidi makes that terrible chilli with the marshmallow peeps on top and it looks like a child tried to make an adult meal, realized it was terrible, and tried to distract everyone by adding candy on top. It’s a fun book but it just takes on too much. I like chili and I like marshmallow peeps but both of them together are just a little unsettling. 

Here’s an example: 
Robot says this, 
</b>  “The other group huddled together in a single pile of wobbly arms and legs. Just a big awkward yarn ball of shivering scaredy-cats, which you couldn’t blame them for. Captain Frumpy Butt rubbed the fanny of someone trying to burrow deeper into the huddle. Took out one of his little plastic dinos and tucked ‘em in for a pants-pocket nap” </b> 

But she also says this,
</b>  “I want to hear the bedtime story that tucks God in for sleep, swaddled and warm. Then sets its bedroom on fire. I want to hear the last breath of a sea-monster prince. A song that pulls the arms off starfish. Tigers paddling through sunken temples. All clocks on fire. Starship fleets colliding. Give me the lone knight atop a tower, the eyeless giant biting cannon balls and castle walls. Blood prayer summon a dinosaur extinction.” </b> 

Like. An eleven year old is saying this. Robot is pretentious in a way that says “I’m not like other kids because I am smart but also I say things like, level-nine derptron and goober”. It’s written like how a millennial thinks kids talk. 

In conclusion, I think this book had some really beautiful quotes. I think there were parts of it that were exceptionally poignant. But I also think the tone gave me major whiplash, the childlike perspective starkly contrasted when discussing more serious topics. Sometimes it felt like there were multiple narrators. Robot, the one who gets to be a kid and a nameless other, when the authour dreams up a fun quote and wants to insert it into their book without considering the tone already established literal pages ago.
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