The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…
…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?
With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.
FORTY DAYS is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story. It does contain a cliffhanger ending.
Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that FORTY DAYS may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet. [Description from Goodreads]
We’ve all heard of the story of Noah’s Ark one way or the other. As children, we’d fantasize about living in close quarters with a bunch of fuzzy animals while it rained and rained and rained outside of the security of the hulking ark. But surely it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Have you ever wondered what it really was like? Forty Days give us a glimpse at just that.
I loved how Stephanie incorporated the realities of living on a huge boat with a bunch of animals. I’ve never really thought of how it might be to have a relative claim that God told him to build an ark in his backyard, and to be shunned by all your neighbors. Or how it might feel to leave all of humanity behind to die in a flood. Or how nourishment might be an issue when you have an ark full of beasts to feed. But those were, more likely than not, the realities of the flood, and it gives you a whole new perspective on the story of Noah’s ark.
The main character, Neima, was rather easy to connect with, maybe because the book is written in first person/present tense, which I enjoyed. Present tense always allows the reader to become more engaged in the story. I feel like Stephanie used plot twists to deceive us, somewhat, into having varying opinions on characters- several times I found myself questioning the true motives of certain characters. Unpredictability is good.
There is a bit of romance in Forty Days, which I enjoyed. It wasn’t overbearing or understated, as it often times can be, but seemed to be just right amount. Brownie points for the author in that regard. There’s an incredible cliffhanger at the end (I think I might have shrieked a little when I realized where the story ended) so, thanks a lot, Stephanie Parent. *wry grin* On that note, I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for book two.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Violence: Mild (deaths from flood; mentions of bodies floating in the water)
Sexual: Mild-Moderate (some kissing; an attempted rape, nothing happens)
About the Author…
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.