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Book Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing & A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour by Hank Green

* I am reviewing this book which I was gifted for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. *


Title:  An Absolutely Remarkable Thing & A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour
Author: Hank Green
Publisher: Trapeze 
Source: Netgalley/Bought Myself


Book Summary:

In his wildly entertaining debut novel, Hank Green—cocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow—spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she’s part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The Carls just appeared.
 
Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
 
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
 
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold and insightful novel of now.

Book Review:

I have loved Hank and John Green as creators for the longest time due to their videos and of course John's books, so when I saw that Hank was releasing a book, I knew that I would jump on it. While I did like An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, I enjoyed A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour more which led to a good series overall. 

One of the things that I loved about the series overall which started in the first book is that the Carls can represent real-life and parallel how the internet is used in current society. While I did like this, I did find that it was a little heavy-handed at times, but I would expect nothing more with someone who spends a lot of time on the Internet. 

I think that the idea of the Carls and the situation overall was something that I also enjoyed. I don't mind not having ideas explained to me in books and that was one of the main points of it. The Carls are there, and we don't know why. (This does get explained in the second one though.)

It does in part become a bit like a mystery novel, with the clues and the website and this was one of the best parts of the book in my opinion. Of course, everything does come together, and it leads to a very satisfying and open-ended plot line. 

Much of the story does build to the sequel, with Hank developing all the characters including April and the relationships that she forms. I know that a lot of people dislike April as a character and while I do understand that I think the book works with her as the main protagonist, but the other side characters are as important for the story. They, too, get the story lines that they deserve and are great characters. 

I think, while there was a lot that connected me to the story, it just didn't connect with me as a piece of work. I know that other people have said the same thing so I may reread the first book in the future. This is especially the case as the second book had a massive impact on me. 

So, while I thought that An Absolutely Remarkable Thing was a good read, it was put together and concluded wonderfully in A Beautiful Foolish Endeavour. Like the name suggested it was a beautiful ride from start to finish. 

Reading a book that is so clearly about the pandemic while being in the pandemic is a unique experience because it fuels a lot of emotions and intensifies them. More than anything, it makes it super relatable. One of the quotes that I loved was talking about being in the room where it happened and although a Hamilton reference, I wanted to tab the book which is not something I normally do. 

I also think that the story is just elevated to a new level, especially the ideas based around the internet and seeing how all the characters react to April and the ending of the first book. All the characters are given their own unique stories and plot lines and I really loved all of them especially Andy and Miranda. I also liked how the characters developed throughout the books and had deeper relationships with each other. 

We also get to see how the world from the first book expands and this one has a lot more of a villain centre character, but I think they are still humanised to some degree although they get their just desserts in the end. The book also does go more in the AI element which I liked, and it gets more sci-fi rather than a grounded first book. Also, some of the information that I wanted from the first book is also explained which makes it greater. 

I feel like I write quite muted about the book, but this is far from the case as it just overcame with a lot of the moments that were littered throughout. The ending was also all types of thrilling as I really did just connect to the characters on a new level. 

I don't think that I can really put into words how good the book was for me, but it was great and may be one of the year's favourites!


The Verdict:

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing & A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour are a duology that deals with modern-day issues, combining an addictive and informative sci-fi that is worth reading. 

Have you read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing & A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour? If so, what did you think? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments.

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