Series: Neima's Ark
Publisher: Self Indie
Formats Available: E-Book
BLURB from Goodreads
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.
The cover depicts the book well, with the Ark in the background, with the storm going on around it. Then there's the dove that Neima nurses as it has a broken wing. The couple in the forground of the cover could be Kenaan forcing his unwanted attentions on Neima, or I'd prefer to think that it's Neima, and Munzir's son Jorin in a loving embrace. The fonts and placing of the book title, series title and author are all well placed and fit well with the cover, leaving the actual cover to do the "selling" of the book.
The blurb continues to "sell" the book so does it's job well. I sort of broke my own rule in that I say I don't read religious material. This book is literally based on the bible story of Noah's Ark. This story humanises the biblical story more by giving us characters and locations that are perhaps more readable. The story is told through the eyes of a young girl. You learn about the stubborness of the character of Noah, how he rules his family firmly, and to do as he says without question. We also have our main character who narrates the story as Neima, she is Noah's grand-daughter. So as we all know the story goes that Noah is "told" to build an Ark. So Noah sets about his task and manipulates and forces his sons & their families to help. He doesn't ask he demands they listen to him and do as he says. Naturally there are skeptics within the family as well as outside of it The family know better than to question Noah, but the villagers ridicule Noah and his family. One of the leaders of those in the village that oppose Noah is Munzir. No one believes that the rain will come as Noah says it will. Then when it does they blame Noah for building the Ark, saying he has cursed them. Munzir comes up with the idea of setting fire to and burning the Ark, though when he tries he cannot keep a fire torch lit long enough. Noah summons his family to the Ark. Then there's the torrential rain and the "living" on board the Ark, caring for and feeding all the animals that Noah ordered to be collected. This story also has the inter family politics, where one brother will agree with anything Noah says just to try and gain favour with Noah. Then there's the fact that Kenaan thinks he will marry Neima so thinks it acceptable to force unwanted kisses and grope her when he wishes. Then there's the friendships between Neima and Dreya her best friend, hoe does Dreya take the news that Kenaan will one day marry Neima when she herself covets him so much. There is also Jorin, son of Munzir who wants to be friends with Neima and perhaps more one day but his father would never stand for it, he hates to see Jorin even acknowledge Neima or any of Noah's family.
So most of you will know the story of the Ark but this book also tells of the lives of the family aboard the Ark, how they cope with the dark, the movement of the Ark, caring for the animals and each other, as well as coping with what is happening outside their safe haven.
There's also a stowaway on the Ark. Will Noah allow the stowaway to stay, as they are not of his family so were not chosen by the God who speaks to Noah? The ending leaves on a real cliffhanger.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, I really did. Although I knew the story of Noah's Ark, this has an even more human side, and deals with perhaps sides of the story you would not first think of, like the living conditions on the Ark. Would I recommend the book? Yes, it makes you think even more than the biblical story. Would I read Bk2? Yes I definitely want to read book 2. Would I read more by Stephanie Parent? Yes, I liked her concept with this book being from Neima's point of view, and I also liked Stephanie's writing style, which was an easy, medium pace.