August is nine years old, and dreams of becoming a scientist. This is a dream that will never come true, because August is dying. The only dream that's left to him now is that of reaching his tenth birthday, on the last day of the month he was named after.Yet on the eve of that month, August gets two surprise visitors: time-travelling ravens Muninn and Huginn, come out of Norse mythology to bring him the science that he loves. On each of the final days of August, the birds take him back through time to an event in science that happened on that day - the writing of the Einstein-Szilard letter; the discovery of the first Neanderthal grave; helium and Hiroshima and hot air balloons...August comes to understand that these trips into science aren't simple kindnesses. They're ways for him to come to terms with his own death, to make peace with his mortality. And, if Muninn has her way, they'll give him a chance to cheat death after all...
I received this book for free from Author Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Wow, this book makes you cry, makes you think, makes you want to hate the powers that be, have a new found love for ravens, and just want to throw the book down. I could not throw the book down as I was reading it on my Kindle, but you get the point.
Young August was born in August with a terrible disease, one that robs the life of every child that it comes into contact with. His older sister sits on his bed and tells him stories about famous scientists and inventions from the time that he was bed ridden. It is July 31st and his 10th birthday is looming, so his is mortality. Getting weaker by the day August realized that he will not be able to invent a life saving medicine, or discover a new comet. No his life is destined for death.
On that night two iron ravens appear at his bed side offering him what could only be considered a gift from the powers that be. He can see things he has never seen, experience the life he will never experience if he just holds on to Munnin’s wings. Over the course of the month of August, while his physical body is getting weaker, he has traveled to times and places that few saw, from the aftermath of the Atomic weapon landing on Japan, to Galileo and all times and places in-between.
This book is sad, it is technical as it is based in science and mathematics, it is punishing in that this child that is so young may not be able to see that last day of August. It is heartwarming in knowing that even on his last days there were people and animals that cared about him. The advancement of Science as told by this book is not an easy path, it is not for the weak of heart, it is cruel, it will rip people apart, but it also brings people together. Science is one of those fields that people love or hate, much like history.
For me this book was wonderful, I did not know all of that stuff happened in August, yes the underlining story was about August, but it was also about the advancements and the sacrifices people made in the same of science. The main character has to internally work on the fact that he is dying, while the family and ravens have to come to terms with his death. Not only is this about science, but about the stages of grief and the pain that you have when you lose someone or you lose yourself. This book honestly helped me, I read it in one day, and it made me feel better that although there is lose in this world, and in your life, it should not end YOU. YOU should be stronger than the loss, or at least strong enough to persevere and realize that loss happens, it sucks, it hurts, and it doesn’t stop hurting, but it happens.
So thank you Octavia for not only writing a book steeped in scientific history, but one that resonates with me on multiple levels. You didn’t know that your book would fall into my hands when it did, but I am glad that it did, and I am glad that I took a chance on Munnin.