The Philosopher’s Flight | At a glance
Title: The Philosopher’s Flight
Author: Tom Miller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 13, 2018)
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Feminist Literature, Light Read
Goodreads Rating: 3.9 out of 5 Stars
What is Book of the Month?
For those who haven’t heard of Book of the Month club or BOTM, it is a subscription program, similar to audible or other box subscription services, where you get (you guessed it) a new book every month. Each month members are given 5 different books to choose from. BOTM generally focusing on debut and emerging writers, and is known for having helped launch the careers of some of the most acclaimed authors in American literary history. In an attempt to read more books outside my favorite genres without having to siphon through all the duds, I decided to sign up for the monthly subscriptions. It costs me $14.99 per month, I choose 1 of the 5 books on the first of every month, and it’s delivered straight to my door. You can skip any month or roll your credits over to the next month, at any time. Since I started getting BOTM back in February, I’ve really enjoyed some of the new authors I’ve been exposed to. I’ve enjoyed them so much, that I have decided to review each of the books I get every month, so be on the look out for reviews March – August, which are coming soon. If you’re interested in joining BOTM, I’ve add my referral code to the bottom of this post, which if you use, you’ll be able to get your first month (book) free!
Since February was my debut month of being a Book of the Month club member, I decided to choose Tom Miller’s debut book The Philosopher’s Flight. To start out, I love a good magic book. I have loved Harry Potter since I was eight years old, and still do to this day and; may or may not even listen to the audio book at least once a year, lame I know but it gives you a good idea on where I’m at with the magic genre. But I digress.
To start I didn’t have a ton of expectations for this book. I had just finished reading The Women in the Window by A.J. Finn (which I highly recommend reading) and was looking for something a little more lighthearted to keep me entertained on some upcoming work trips. And it did not disappoint!
So what exactly is this book about?
The setting of the book takes place in the early 20th century during World War I. Unlike a normal historical book, Miller takes his readers to an alternative realty, where ‘Empirical Philosophy’ is both loved and feared. Empirical Philosophy is a blend of science and magic. Philosophers are able to do actions such as teleport, heal wounds, and fly, just to name a few. Typically only women are Philosophers, which is the main reason for the feminist tag in the ‘At a Glance’ section. This is where this story gets interesting, because if you’re up to date on your history, you’ll know that World War I took place during the peak of the women’s suffrage movement in the US.
The plot of the novel though, actually follows Robert Weeks, one of the rare male philosopher’s. Week’s has always wanted to follow in his family’s footsteps, by being an evacuation philosopher. In order to do this, he must first be taken serious as a philosopher and second must gain enrollment into a top philosophical program. After helping his mother out in an emergency rescue, he secures a spot at Boston’s Radcliffe College. After arriving in Boston he soon learns that he still has plenty of obstacles to overcome in order to obtain his dreams.
- Prior to writing his first novel Tom Miller was an EMT and is currently a Emergency Room Doctor. Personally when I found this out, this made a ton of sense, as Evacuation Philosophers are basically first responders. I’m no EMT but Miller’s portrayal of the emergency situations were realistic to me.
- I’m a sucker for a good historical fiction book, and I love that the book incorporates plenty of actual representations of what occurred during World War I. Miller does a great job of portraying the daily lives of US citizen’s during the war, and while we never venture over to the war itself, we can understand the effects of the war on the American people.
- The ongoing conflict between “The Trenchers,” which is an anti-philosophy semi-terrorist group, and the philosophers, adds plenty of spice to the story. The conflict itself does a great job of representing the gender discrimination that occurred between the anti-suffragist and the suffragette in the early 20th century.
- I enjoyed the feminist aspect this book had to offer. Seeing a ‘man in a women’s world’ for lack of a better way to say that. The National Center for Women & Information Technology’s reported that women only represented ~26% of the computing workforce in 2013. As a women in tech myself, I generally find that I am the only women in the room. The gender switch was a nice change of pace. It was a topic I could relate to and made the book seem ‘real’ to me.
- It’s entertaining!
Now for the negatives.
- If you don’t like fantasy books, or for some reason you don’t like Harry Potter, you probably will not like this book. There is quite a bit of focus on the historical aspect of the 19th century, but the primary focus is on the ‘magic’ aspect.
- The end of the book leaves a ton of unanswered questions. After doing some research I did confirm that this is book one in a series, but the second book drops in June 2019. So if starting a series before all the books are out is the bane of your existence, like me, you’ll want to skip this read for now.
Essentially, Tom Miller has created a brilliant world, that isn’t so different from our own. Not only is this a coming of age story there is also a ton of adventure, romance, and the general good versus evil battle that rages on. This well written light read is perfect for your next vacation or when you need to unwind from work. Get it here!
Interested in joining Book of the Month? Get a free book when you join using my referral link.