Alright... so as a lot of your saw (and so RUDELY commented :)) on my social media pages, it took me quite awhile to get through A God in Ruins. I was ALL OVER Life After Life, and as this is the follow up to that book, I was ready to be all-in. Not a sequel, A God in Ruins was essentially taking place in the same universe and timeline as Life After Life, just from the point-of-view of a different character.
And I think this was my issue. Ursula Todd was a ceaselessly fascinating character. She was a strong character in a time when that strength was so essential and not necessarily expected from women. Ted Todd, while likable and sweet in Life After Life, did not pique my interest. So he certainly didn't seem interesting enough to carry an entire book. Hell, I would've rather had learned more about Maurice.
My issues with Atkinson's follow up really stemmed from the fact that it felt like she was trying to experiment with time (as she did so successfully in Life After Life), but it just fell flat. There was no interesting through-line about the time format as we saw with Ursula. The time jumping in Ted's story just had a whiff of try-too-hard. The concept in the original story was so unique and groundbreaking... which simply called more attention to how contrived the non-linear timeline was in the follow up.
While I loved Life After Life, this book confirmed for me that some great things are meant to remain a solo endeavour. I'm truly hoping that the plan isn't to follow the rest of the Todd can in their own individual books. But as we know how our society is now---- find one thing great, beat it into the ground by creating 10 more like it! That's how we're getting Fuller House (which I'm actually excited about... shaddup).
Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances and the power of choices, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century over and over again. A GOD IN RUINS tells the dramatic story of the 20th Century through Ursula's beloved younger brother Teddy--would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather-as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have. An ingenious and moving exploration of one ordinary man's path through extraordinary times, A GOD IN RUINS proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the finest novelists of our age.
*Note: This advanced reading copy was given to me by the publisher, Little, Brown & Company. All opinions expressed in this post are wholly my own, except those of the author. Bear Allen cannot be bought! *