The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation by M.T Anderson

Octavian is raised with his mother Cassiopeia in the Novanglian College of Lucidity. There, with curious eyes, he watches the scientists and logicians conduct wild experiences  to discover the secrets of the world. He is brought up as a prince would, with the finest education and an envelopment of the artistic world. But when the American Revolution hits Boston, his world is turned upside down. Will he be able to overcome all the changes surrounding him?

The dreamlike happenings described, the snapshots of memories enclosed in short chapters, and the innocence of the narrator makes this a truly drawing book. One cannot predict the outcome – which keeps the reader hooked – because one does not even know what the novel is about until about half-way into the book. I truly loved reading this novel and hope to read it again.

On the other hand, I found the incorporation of history a bit of a let-down. Up till the incorporation of the American Revolution, I had thought this book to be a mysterious, out-of-this-world type of book: my favorite genre. But the reality of war made it too blunt and unidealized for me. Nevertheless, I don’t know what the author would’ve done if he had kept it as a fantasy-like book so perhaps his choice of plot was the best.

Overall, I give this book 8.8 stars. Though I was dissatisfied with the latter half of the book, the first half was so good that the ranking skyrocketed to 8 stars after I had read the first few chapters. I recommend it for ages 13+ as descriptions of the war and more (I will not say the ‘more’ part as that is a giveaway) are sometimes gruesome. Also, some scientific conversations discussed by the professors of the College are quite hard to understand.

I tried reading the sequel – The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: The Kingdom on the Waves – but that was truly disappointing; I even gave up reading in the middle. So keep it at the first book, as I’ve advised people to do with Stargirl.



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