Cover Image: Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility

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Member Reviews

I am not a science fiction fan but this was well written and I wish I understood it like I think I was supposed to.
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Thank you NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for the physical copy. I'm an Emily St. John Mandel fan forever. Whatever she writes I'll read. Incredible
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Very enjoyable and approachable even fir those who don’t normally read sci-fi. It was a pleasant surprise to come across some characters from previous novels.
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I wish I'd made time to read "Sea of Tranquility" closer to its release date. This is a story as starkly beautiful and elegant as the moon itself. I was initially drawn to this book because of the fantastic cover art and the intriguing title. I also knew the author had written a couple other well-received books so I felt confident this would be a worthwhile read.

And while I did love “Sea of Tranquility,” it’s difficult to synopsize or explain. It reminds me of a poem or piece of classical music - art that leaves an indelible impression but eludes straightforward explanation. The author touches on the mundane terror of living through a pandemic; the common experience of loneliness; how time eventually comes for us all. 

While I’m struggling to articulate the brilliance of Emily St. John Mandel’s book, trust that is an experience worth undertaking. I will be recommending this book to my library patrons and promoting as a Staff Pick. I also look forward to future releases from this author.
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Incredible genre-changing follow up to The Glass Hotel featuring time travel and pandemics of the past and future.
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I was really looking forward to this novel and to see additional ties between this and Mandel's prior releases. Unfortunately, these connections and the choice of the author to conflate her fictional pandemic with our true history of 2020 circumstances didn't lock in for me as a reader. This story reads quickly, the writing is compelling and the overall story intriguing, but it didn't live up to what I had expected.
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I dearly loved Station Eleven and so much of Sea of Tranquility reminded me of that title - the switching timelines, poignant observations of life and humanity, and beautiful prose. I enjoyed this title far more than The Glass Hotel. So many characters make a reappearance in this new title giving me such a nostalgic feeling while reading the book. Overall, wonderful lyrical prose and such a brilliant execution of time travel.
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A tale of interwoven stories and odd circumstances that lures you into the magical realism that Mandel writes so well.
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So good I had my husband read it (exciting since our taste never really overlaps). Will definitely read again. Enjoyed having crossover characters from the Glass Hotel.
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5 ⭐️ 

I was elated when I heard ESJM was writing a new book and as always, she did not disappoint! This book had all the best elements of the movie Inception and Blake Crouch’s novel “Dark Matter”. The book did start slow and take a bit of concentration on my end to really absorb the information (as someone with very minimal knowledge of science/physics/time travel). The second half or so picks up quickly, and it demands to be read in one sitting. The way this story harmoniously weaves together plots from some of her other novels is brilliant. I still find myself thinking about this wonderful story and the many layers of it that I’ve yet to discover.
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Emily St. John Mandel is such a good writer. I can recommend her to both fans of speculative fiction and readers who are unsure of they like speculative fiction.
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This is a novel that is both simplistic and incredibly complex all at once. The writing is superb. I do believe that Emily St. John Mandel is one of the great authors of our time. This being said, I always leave scratching my a head a bit after reading one of her novels. It’s just a lot to take in, but in a deceptive way. This novel has so many elements that can cause the reader’s head to spin from time travel to the simulation hypothesis. For fans of speculative fiction, you won’t want to miss this one.
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Mandel’s book is hard to describe. There are different timelines and characters that at some point, intersect. First there’s Edwin, an exiled Brit sent to Canada in 1912. He flounders, crossing the country and meeting different people. An aristocratic son who is destined to inherit nothing, he wanders aimlessly. Olive is a writer in a distant future who lives on the moon but is currently traveling from one continent on earth to another, promoting her new book. She meets a variety of people on her book tour and then she learns about a new pandemic.
Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is another character who has an unusual role in the novel. He is critical to the plot, a key player in the timeline. 

Similar to her post-apocalyptic novel, Station Eleven, Mandel imagines a world that is threatened; one facing disaster or a cataclysm. One of the ingenious settings here is the moon world made up of a set of different communities and landscapes that evolved as the moon was settled. The premise of the novel is complex and examines the interconnectedness of time. It’s almost otherworldly and will make a confusing story come together by the end.
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Completely mystified this story! Emily St. John Mandel writes in such a lyrical and moving way that the reader is just drawn into the plot.  Despite this one covering different time periods, it was still incredibly easy to follow.  The plot while seemingly being far-fetched and mystical, also is completely timely and relatable.  

If you've enjoyed her other books or How High We Go in the Dark, this one is for you!

Thank you publishers for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review!
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The hum of a violin, a rush of air, the roar of an engine—this odd moment, experienced by a few noteworthy individuals across centuries, binds their stories together with a thread that transcends time. Part mystery, part metaphysical exercise, Sea of Tranquility is a search for meaning and presence in a world chronically fixated on what comes next. And like all of Mandel's earlier work, it does not disappoint.
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“When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.”

Not just two timelines, my friends. THREE. Yet, somehow, it doesn’t overwhelm.

The Pandemic-adjacent-ness might have been a little too soon for me, but, I loved the brushes with past, present, and future.

The characters, though we meet each of them fairly briefly, are vivid, engaging, and sympathetic.

The touch of sci-fi was delightful, and the ‘twist’, satisfying.


Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing for this satisfying ARC.
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Emily St. John Mandel's breakout novel, Station Eleven, featured comic books about people living on a moon colony written by a human living on Earth. In Sea of Tranquility, a celebrated author who lives on a moon colony comes to Earth for a book tour. Sea of Tranquility also features the reappearance of key characters from St. John Mandel's previous novel, The Glass Hotel, characters who must come to terms with the fate of that novel's protagonist, Vincent. But if you've heard anything about Sea of Tranquility, you've probably heard that it is about time travel, and so it is. When such a powerful technology is at the hands of mere mortals, who can be trusted to control it? St. John Mandel has once again written a beautiful novel that asks difficult questions about human nature, our connections to each other, and the impossible choices we must sometimes make.
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3.5 stars rounded down.
By the time I started reading this ARC, I had forgotten what the book was about. I think a reader is better served to start reading this book with the synopsis in mind. Otherwise, the book feels disjointed and confusing. As a time travel novel, the first 40-50% of the novel involves introducing various characters at different times. As soon as I became interested in a character’s story, the narrative switched to another character and I had to start all over. I found this frustrating, maybe because it went on too long. The connection between the characters were not immediately apparent, which should build suspense and keep the reader turning pages. I found it frustrating because I became invested in one and then had to start over with someone else. The changes seemed abrupt and disjointed, but this may have been intended. 
The time travel concept involved pandemics (imagine that!). The author described situations that readers should find relatable such as lock-down. However, I found the pandemic premise too thinly veiled to be engrossing or entertaining. I’m tired of pandemic plots. They are not fresh anymore, and this one felt especially forced. Should a time traveler warn others about an upcoming disaster/pandemic? And then came all of the obligatory timeline stuff that has been used to death in a plethora of time travel fiction. Ho hum. 
It is a decent read, and people who are less tired of pandemics and blatant COVID references than I am, may enjoy this book more. There were clever lines and interesting correlations between the characters, and the individual characters were intriguing. Unfortunately, this book is nowhere near as good as Station Eleven, which I found enormously interesting and well-written. 
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Had I deigned to read the plot — or even just the blurb — before downloading an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley, we wouldn’t be here and I would have one less 1 star read in my 2022 books. I don’t know why I keep doing this: I hear someone talking about an author and their previous books and I go around requesting ARCs for they upcoming releases.
I hate time travel, it’s one of my least favourite tropes ever and this is a book about time travel. It says so in the first two lines of the plot. How on Earth did I think I could like this? Another thing I don’t like in books, especially after 2020, are pandemics. Is this also stated in the plot? Of course it is. Why don’t I just read the plot.
Aside from the time travel aspects, I also did not like anything else in the book, to be fair. The plot was extremely boring and the few “twists” thrown in there were predictable, especially the last one. I had figured it out really early on because the main reason of the time travel relies on a character we know nothing about, so for me it was obvious how it would all connect in the end and I was right. It did not shock me in the least.
The characters were flat and I did not care for them, like at all. If you know me, you’ll know I am a characters-first reader and these ones did nothing for me. They could live or die or suffer or whatever and I couldn’t have cared less, honestly. It was mainly that they were quite one dimensional, but also that they were just uninteresting and you didn’t have enough time with any of them to really grow attached to them and their destinies.
The writing was okay, I guess. I can see people falling head over heels for Emily St. John Mandel’s style, but it was not for me. It felt too forced, in my opinion, and I know I am in the unpopular opinions realm with this one. I’m used to that, though.
I am still interested in reading some of this author’s backlist titles, which I’ve had on my TBR for years now, but I’ll be going in with lower expectations, in the hope they’ll surprise me. If you’ve read The Glass Hotel, would you recommend it to someone who did not like this book? It’s the one I am most interested in but I don’t know if I’ll like it, as I’ve read they are somewhat connected? I am not really sure how or how much, so let me know!
This is all for today, sorry for the shorter review, but it’s really my fault and not the book’s, so I don’t want to dwell on this for too long. I’d still recommend it, if you don’t hate the tropes above like me. And be sure to read the plot, don’t be like me!
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Wow. There's a lot to unpack here. Emily St. John Mandel is one of the most prolific writers of our time.  Hands down. With beautiful prose and masterful storytelling, she weave together a tale that transcends time and space. And with all that, a fundamental truth is revealed. Read it, you'll see.
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