The Sunlight Pilgrims

Eric Olsson

3.5 Stars

September 25, 2017

I love stories that take in an apocalyptic time. I don't know what it is about them - the destruction of earth and what we know, how individuals cope with living in this world, the violence, the danger, the struggles. There's just something about that genre of books that I look forward to reading about.

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan had all of that promise. It's the year 2020 and the world is freezing over. Every day is colder than the last one. People are flocking to the south where the temps are somewhat warmer. The story follows a 12-year-old Estella and her mother, Constance, as they try and survive the brutal weather. Then, one day, Dylan arrives. He's heading north to bury his mother's and grandmother's ashes where they once lived. With Dylan showing up, and the weather getting worse, there is a new hope for Estella and Constance to keep going - even when the ultimate disaster strikes.

Fagan wrote an engaging book. She brought to life an amazing world with her writing. It's a thought-provoking tale with a - no pun intended - chilling atmosphere. What the story lacked for me, were standout characters reacting to this dystopian world. The story covers more of their day-to-day lives but it isn't a dramatic adventure that most stories are in this genre are and what I look forward to the most. For those reasons, the story felt flat and uninteresting at times. The strength of this story lies in the characters. It's more of a literary tale than a doom-and-gloom one. The events of the ice age is a background piece to the character study that takes place between Estella, Constance, and Dylan.

I was given a copy of The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan in exchange for an honest review. If you love your apocalyptic story about the survival of the event you might find this novel not what you're looking for. If you like character studies on the literary side, you'll enjoy this book. Like I said above, Fagan is an excellent writer, and the strength of this book is with the characters, not the impending doom that is coming their way.