Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

I can’t deny it, even though this book had quite a few problems, I did enjoy a lot of it, and I’m glad I read it, even if it did frustrate the hell out of me at times!


This book is set in a time where we have gained the ability to time-travel. As such, student historians can travel back in time and witness a particular period in history for themselves. One student, Kivrin, does this by travelling back to medieval times. Unfortunately, things start to go wrong pretty much immediately when she does, and the ensuing problems are of the infectious disease variety.


I love anything to do with time-travel and infectious diseases, so I was all set to love this book.


Annoyingly, when we gained the ability to time-travel, we lost the power to contact one another by mobile phone. This meant that a large portion of the book was spent with one character trying earnestly to contact another. Unfortunately, this led to quite a repetitive theme throughout, which I did get frustrated with. Everyone seemed to be unfindable and off in the wilderness somewhere. When they finally were located, questions asked were never answered adequately, so again I was left with a handful of hair freshly ripped from my head!


This theme carried on throughout, in one degree or another. Perhaps if there’d been another narrative strand I would have been pleasantly distracted, but as it was, it felt like the entire novel hinged on one plot devise that wasn’t properly explained until I nearly lost interest. The reason I didn’t lose that interest though, was because of the characters. While they were all too perfect in most respects, I did enjoy most of what I saw of them. Mr Dunworthy was probably my favourite, a character I really had sympathy for. And of course Colin, who could be annoying at times with his gobstopper, but was usually a nice light diversion.


The plot itself was a good one, but it would have benefited from reaching a conclusion a couple of hundred pages earlier. The novel was needlessly long and followed minute details a little far. 


It gets a solid three-out-of-five from me.


I would definitely recommend that you read this novel if you’re interested in time-travel as it’s well written and involving. I would, however, be prepared to be more than a little frustrated.