1,5 out of 5
I was provided an ARC by the publisher via netgalley.com.
It took me three weeks to get through the first half of this book. The story is told in such a slow manner that it hardly could keep my attention. To be fair, the story of the epidemic silence taking over humanity was actually designed for a different medium altogether. It has previously been released as an iPhone app and the “testimonials and field reports” were alternately “given out” over a certain course of time. This is not meant to be read like a book; i.e. in big chunks at a time. You are only supposed to read these reports one or two at a time. Unfortunately that could not be transported into book form. Reading this as you would read a novel makes it very tedious and at times boring.
The premise is actually quite interesting. It is a written report of how in the near future there suddenly are some people who cannot interact via language. They are silent (not mute!) and are not capable of understanding language or interpreting it as anything else than sound. The reports and oral testimonials depict the spreading of the “epidemic” and its cultural consequences. The Silent History touches upon a few interesting aspects such as the importance of language and the related question of what makes us human.
Plus, it is really well written. It only takes a short amount of time to get invested in the characters and their fate. However, you never know which character is a recurring one and which one will disappear again after one chapter (or testimonial). All characters have distinct voices, so even if you should have forgotten about one over the course of the narration, you will most certainly remember them pretty quickly once they come up again.
BUT it simply could not keep my attention. In book form the narration is simply too slow to keep track of and to stay interested. I wish I could have read this in app-form. This is a clear proof that the medium in which a story is told can make all the difference. The medium can and will influence the story!
This is by no means a bad story. The narration and the premise are actually great. I just don’t think this works as a novel. At least not for me. This is why I can’t give a better rating even though I would like to.