Raised by a bizarre group of rational philosophers Boston during the years leading up to the American Revolution, Octavian has on some level realized that the life he leads is not normal. He spends his days studying ancient languages, and his evenings in the company of his teachers and mother, a gorgeous woman who was born a princess. Logic exercises and experiments are commonplace, and he enjoys his life, even if it’s a bit odd.
But Octavian cannot remain ignorant forever. What he discovers behind a forbidden door destroys his trust in those who raised him, and forces him to question everything he thought he knew. Meanwhile the Revolution draws ever closer…
Incredibly well done
The Pox Party is the first book in the (rather long-titled) The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation series by M.T. Anderson. I don’t think it’s something I normally would pick up, but according to my Broke and the Bookish Secret Secret Santa, it’s getting a lot of attention, especially in Boston. I’m trying to be more adventurous in my reading, so I figured I’d go for it.
It’s an exquisite novel, beautifully written and absolutely heart-wrenching. Even though I could see some of the twists coming, they were still shocking and disturbing.
I particularly appreciated the different ways in which the story is told: through Octavian’s eyes mostly, but also through letters and newspaper ads. The way Anderson tells the story makes it even more intriguing, and had me flying through the chapters.
I won’t say that I loved The Pox Party, but it certainly grabbed hold and wouldn’t let me go. I connected immediately and fiercely with Octavian, and caught myself holding my breath several times while reading.
The second book in the series, The Kingdom on the Waves, is already available, and according to Goodreads brings the short series to “a startling, deeply satisfying climax, while reexamining our national origins in a singularly provocative light.” I’ll probably be getting a copy soon.
Has anyone else read this series? What do you think of it?