Title: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Author: Scott Wilbanks
Genre: Fiction (Fantasy/Mystery)
Release Date: August 4, 2015
“Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention—not even that of space and time—which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.
“Annie and Elsbeth’s search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery—and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen…and yet somehow already did.” (Sourcebooks.com)
You know how when you read a book that you actually can’t put down, and then when you do put it down all you can think about is picking it up again? I had that experience while reading The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, the debut novel from Scott Wilbanks.
I breezed through this book in no time, mostly due to fact that I loved just about everything about it. I’m actually so excited about this book, that I had to sit and make a list of just a couple of things to talk about, so that this post doesn’t go on until the end of time. So here are just a couple of the things I loved most.
The time travel.
A smarter person than me would have probably had an inkling of time travel when they read the blurb. Instead my mind went to magic rather than science (although I guess the time travel in this is a combination of the two). I’ve been watching lots of time travel shows/movies lately, and reading a few books involving it as well, and I really enjoy how it gets my brain working and thinking about how time isn’t really a straight line. When it comes to time travel, I imagine it looking more like a straight line that loops back on itself every now and then. The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster was that good loopy time travel I like. There was enough movement happening in timelines to keep my brain ticking over, but not so much that I lost track of what was happening. The bringing together of the different timelines was seamless and not too jumpy, and the characters were moved easily through the different times and so it made for an easy read.
Annie Aster was just lovely. She’s one of those characters you wish was your friend: completely non-judgmental, full of the right advice, a bit weird in a good way, and there no matter what.
Annie’s best friend Christian was probably my favourite character though. I found myself on multiple occasions just wanting to give him a hug, and he always had his face stuck in a book so I could completely relate to that.
All good time travel stories must have a good villain, and the villain in this book was particularly disturbing right up to the end. He was very creepy.
But all the characters were special in their own way, even the ones who only had relatively minor roles. You’ll hate some and you’ll love some, and that’s how you know they’ve been well written.
I love witty and conversational writing; to me there are few better things than feeling like someone is with you and telling you a story, rather than you simply reading a book. The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster has it in spades. To give you an idea of how it was to read this, I basically spent the entire book imagining it narrated by Jude Law. If you’ve seen the film adaptations of ‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events‘ and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, then you’ll know what I mean (if you haven’t seen either of those films…really? I mean, REALLY? Go watch them, they’re amazing). Imagine Jude Law saying this:
“As is the way with most evil men, Danyer had his Achilles’ heel – children. To him, they were unformed, intractable, and quite possibly the repositories of disease so he refused to expose himself to them unless absolutely necessary. Certain that Mr. Culler had a handle on the situation, he was content to step to the side.”
Awesome, right? And it’s like that right through the book.
So if you like an easy and fun read, and want something that will keep your brain engaged at the same time, you should definitely give this a go. It’s not too heavy on the ‘fantasy’ aspect either – so it’s good for people who aren’t usually into fantasy. But regardless of the genre, it’s an enjoyable read with something for everyone.