The Waning Age
In a parallel present San Francisco, Natalia Peña works as a hotel maid, practices martial arts, and cares for her eleven-year-old brother, Calvino. In this version of our world, all children start to "wane" when they reach Cal's age; by their teen years, they've lost their ability to feel emotion. But Cal isn't waning. When a mysterious corporation kidnaps him for testing, Natalia's reaction surprises her: she's crushed, and she'll do anything to save her brother from their experiments. But the road to his rescue leads her into the path of a dashing but troubled billionaire's son, a cadre of killers, and, eventually, the shocking truth about waning. Filled with twists and turns, The Waning Age is a powerful mirror that shows us the danger of becoming desensitized to violence and the remarkable, transformative power of love.

The Waning Age Details

TitleThe Waning Age
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherViking Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780451479853
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia

The Waning Age Review

  • Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to my librarian and Penguin Teen for this ARC. All opinions stated here are my own. I received this ARC to help decide whether my library should add it to their YA collection.My verdict: well...I'm not sure actually. Though my rating is pretty low (2.5 stars) I also want to acknowledge that this probably wasn't my cup of tea. Dystopia is a genre I normally don't read, after all, and I prefer fantasy. Still, I picked The Waning Age up in the hopes that I might enjoy as much as I did whi Thank you to my librarian and Penguin Teen for this ARC. All opinions stated here are my own. I received this ARC to help decide whether my library should add it to their YA collection.My verdict: well...I'm not sure actually. Though my rating is pretty low (2.5 stars) I also want to acknowledge that this probably wasn't my cup of tea. Dystopia is a genre I normally don't read, after all, and I prefer fantasy. Still, I picked The Waning Age up in the hopes that I might enjoy as much as I did while reading some of the more well-known dystopias, like Scythe which I thought was wonderful. Unfortunately, I couldn't, but again, it might not be a book suited for me!In this world (which is set in different universe, present day in San Francisco) adults have lost the ability to feel emotion. They begin to "wane", which means to lose their touch with emotions, in adolescence. By the time they're in high school, most of their emotions are locked away. Interesting premise isn't it? This book explored what happens when we're all desensitized. People can be much colder with fake sympathy, can do cruel, atrocious things without a single ounce of regret. It's horrible, isn't it? And I think The Waning Age did quite well.The main character, Natalia Pena, has a younger brother Calvino who is unusually empathetic. He's gone past the average age of waning without any signs. Then one day, a big company kidnaps him for more testing because his behavior is that abnormal. And Natalia goes off to hunt for him.Interesting premise! Characters motivated by sibling love! That ought to have hooked me already, but somehow I could never really connect to the characters. I'm sorry, I'm sure it's a problem with ME rather than YOU but I just couldn't. In the end, I was flipping pages quickly not because I HAD to know what happened but because the climax was action-packed and all.At one point, there was a teensy romance. I thought it was cute but then at one point it developed so quickly that I sat up and was like "Wait? What just happened?" I did like the way the romance was resolved in the end. That made a lot of sense. And I did also like the way S.E. Grove handled the relationship between Natalia and Calvino, and Natalia and her dead mother; it was very nuanced and complex.But overall, I was underwhelmed. The blurb promised "twists and turns" but the book never seemed to deliver. I was also waiting for this one terrible secret about waning that I expected but it never came either. I wanted my heartstrings to be wrecked but that didn't happen either. But don't let the fact that I couldn't enjoy it much deter you from reading it though! If you like dystopia, you should try reading it! You might end up liking it.My Blog 📚 My Instagram
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  • Kate Willis
    January 1, 1970
    Just a few more days! Time to start bothering my library soon. :D
  • Katherine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    It's present-day San Francisco, and ’The Waning Age’ is 10 years old. This means that at that age, it's expected that you will lose your ability to feel emotions. You will not only lose the ability to feel sadness, but also joy and everything in between.Natalia Peña is the main character in this engaging novel, written as dated entries in a journal, and she has already waned. But her younger brother Calvino, who she calls Cal, has not, and he doesn't seem to show any signs that he will. Since th It's present-day San Francisco, and ’The Waning Age’ is 10 years old. This means that at that age, it's expected that you will lose your ability to feel emotions. You will not only lose the ability to feel sadness, but also joy and everything in between.Natalia Peña is the main character in this engaging novel, written as dated entries in a journal, and she has already waned. But her younger brother Calvino, who she calls Cal, has not, and he doesn't seem to show any signs that he will. Since their mother died tragically they have been living with foster parents, and while they show close bonds, it's only Cal who shows what would be recognizable as normal human responses to events around him, so much so that a company called RealCorp takes Cal to do tests on him to find out why he isn't waning.They are also a major manufacturer of ’synaffs’ which are synthetic drops that basically only the wealthy can now afford in order to feel whatever emotion you choose. Ones that are bought on the street could be made of any unknown dangerous harmful chemicals causing the wrong emotional reactions. Most people instead choose to go through their lives feeling nothing, having forgotten what it felt like to have an emotion.At the center of this illuminating book, beyond the fight that Natalia goes through to get her brother back from RealCorp, is a look at what humans are without their ability to feel. The absolute best sci-fi writing can feel so frighteningly real and believable, and this conversation about what humans are without - most importantly - being empathetic towards each other, touches on a nerve.As someone who has always been emotional, having dealt with depression and anxiety and being the sort of person who has even lamented about how much easier life would be if I wasn't so empathetic (in contrast to others around me), this was eye-opening. What has supposedly separated us from other beings is our ability to have emotions, to be ’sentient’, so what are we when we can't feel?This is at the core of the characters in the book called Fish: they make me think of those who can commit baseless crimes without remorse or motive, they're basically psychopaths.Questions came up in my head about how is this different from the thinking of someone who shows no emotion toward the victim and can commit serial murders.What's the difference between thinking and feeling? How do we express emotion without feeling it? How do we have relationships without showing emotions? Is our own society going in the direction of where people aren't able to show or feel emotions? How have technology and social media contributed to this?All of these questions come up and it really had me thinking!I personally feel like one of the most essential problems today is that most people lack the ability to be empathetic towards each other. ’The Waning Age’ really made me sad (*emotion!) at the prospect of emotions disappearing altogether, good and bad, and how that would obliterate compassion completely.Author S.E. Grove has managed to write a YA sci-fi novel that not only recognizes the bond between brother and sister, but she has also done some brilliant world-building, with just the right amount of action, and has brought some big ideas to the table. I will be thinking about this one for a long time, and I have already told a few other sci-fi authors about it. 'The Waning Age' is more profound than initial impressions would let on. And I have to say, this would make an excellent movie!RELEASE DATE: February 5th, 2019 (add it to your TBR now!!)
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  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    This sounds interesting, I also happen to have a younger brother Calvin so reading the name Calvino definitely made me think of him
  • KristynRene The Hype Queen of Books
    January 1, 1970
    Edelweiss granted me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.DNF Happiness and tranquility weren’t cheap five hundred years ago either. Bought with the blood and sweat of serfs, with the bondage of entire peoples, with the darkness of mines and the poison of mercury. Different form of payment now, same high cost. What an intriguing concept, to have to purchase emotions or live without them. The writing and the plot had me interested at the beginning, but as soon as Cal’s involuntary testing wa Edelweiss granted me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.DNF Happiness and tranquility weren’t cheap five hundred years ago either. Bought with the blood and sweat of serfs, with the bondage of entire peoples, with the darkness of mines and the poison of mercury. Different form of payment now, same high cost. What an intriguing concept, to have to purchase emotions or live without them. The writing and the plot had me interested at the beginning, but as soon as Cal’s involuntary testing was completed, I found myself skimming so many pages because not enough plot was happening. We were drifting aimlessly through the philosophy of human emotions. This is a YA book...so...I somehow expected action to take over instead of paragraphs of scientific study and internal debating??I couldn’t keep going. Not while I’m falling asleep. I wish this was executed to hold more intrigue than to feel like a Twitter thread.
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  • Sami
    January 1, 1970
    A Black Mirror-esque standalone with terrific worldbuilding, The Waning Age will appeal to anyone with a taste for the unusual. Nat, a maid in a futuristic city, cares for her younger brother diligently and devotedly, despite the fact that her "waning" means she is devoid of emotion. When her brother is abducted, Nat is confused by the determination that arises in her but there's only one solution: to get him back.
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  • McKayla Moors
    January 1, 1970
    I was skeptical of The Waning Age going into it. The premise, that around the onset of puberty people lose the ability to feel emotions, was certainly interesting, and a somewhat on-the-nose commentary of the desensitization that comes with age, though it did raise an immediate concern: how to do you write a good novel with compelling characters if the characters cannot feel human emotions?Well, it turns out, you can't. To be clear, this book is not a bad book. It was definitely enjoyable. But i I was skeptical of The Waning Age going into it. The premise, that around the onset of puberty people lose the ability to feel emotions, was certainly interesting, and a somewhat on-the-nose commentary of the desensitization that comes with age, though it did raise an immediate concern: how to do you write a good novel with compelling characters if the characters cannot feel human emotions?Well, it turns out, you can't. To be clear, this book is not a bad book. It was definitely enjoyable. But it is impossible, as a human with emotions, to write humans without emotions and have them grow. The book attempts to explain away the things that don't make sense (e.g., emotionless people still laugh at clever jokes because the joke is an intellectual thing, not an emotional one), but most of these workarounds fall flat. They just don't make sense. All of the characters of this book demonstrate emotions frequently, and it was somewhat frustrating to be told that adults cannot feel emotions while being shown a myriad of examples contradicting that claim. (The argument could be made that the ending of the book reveals why the "emotionless" characters of this world aren't actually emotionless, but but the time I got to the end of the book, the explanation felt somewhat hollow, or unearned.)But there were certainly many elements of this book that I enjoyed immensely. I really liked Natalia, the main character, and absolutely adored her little brother, Cal. The world-building was truly excellent, and I found the commentary about capitalism and the scarcity of resources to be poignant and well-done. The interstitial chapters featuring Cal's "essays" were particularly enjoyable; even though I didn't always agree with the claims being made in those essays, Cal's eloquent way of describing his conceptualization of emotions and waning was truly fascinating. The plot, though fairly straightforward, was tense, and I kept turning the page to find out what came next. I disagree with the blurb on the back that claimed the book was full of twists and turns; there was only one plot "twist" to speak of, and it wasn't by any means mind-blowing. Still, at no point was I checked-out or uninterested; I was anxious for Cal, and wanted desperately to know what happened to him. The Waning Age isn't terribly long, just over 300 pages, so as a fun weekend read, I definitely recommend it. But if you're looking for a roller coaster ride of twists and heart-stopping suspense, you might find the book to be a disappointment. There are some who are going to love this book, and others who are going to dislike it far more than I did. Saying "it depends on your taste" feels like a cop-out, but in this situation, it feels true. Give it a shot! Even if it doesn't blow your mind, you'll more likely than not still end up having a good time.
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  • Devon H
    January 1, 1970
    This book reminded me of the books I was drawn into as a kid, but more mature. I remember being enveloped in the concept of the book, and enthralled with the characters. This is a feeling I haven't felt often lately, but this book definitely fulfilled those needs. Grove is masterful in finding and drawing out emotions, drawing readers into the world of her characters.Natalia Pena and her brother Calvino live in modern day San Francisco. However, the world is not the same as we experience it; in This book reminded me of the books I was drawn into as a kid, but more mature. I remember being enveloped in the concept of the book, and enthralled with the characters. This is a feeling I haven't felt often lately, but this book definitely fulfilled those needs. Grove is masterful in finding and drawing out emotions, drawing readers into the world of her characters.Natalia Pena and her brother Calvino live in modern day San Francisco. However, the world is not the same as we experience it; in this parallel universe, adults no longer have emotions. This process is called waning and begins when kids turn 10, leaving them emotionless by the time they hit high school. The world has not always been this way, but humans began to evolve this way for unknown reasons.My main drawback to this story is that there wasn't more backstory as to why humans evolved away from emotions, but at the same time the reader can come up with lots of logical reasons why this is the case. This book truly inspired thought about where emotions stem from, and why they are important for humans evolutionarily. I can't imagine living in a world without emotions, where the only option is to take "drops" that are developed to give adults brief glimpses into emotional experiences.Natalia and Calvino are wonderful characters. Nat is filled with heart, despite her seeming lack of emotions. Her relationship with her brother is very touching and meaningful. She clearly is passionate about many of the people she interacts with, and the way she's able to calm others down was admirable. All of her interpersonal interactions felt genuine. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jenni Frencham
    January 1, 1970
    Grove, S.E. The Waning Age. Viking BYR, 2019.In present-day San Francisco but in a parallel universe, people start to "wane," that is, stop experiencing emotions, around the age of ten. Natalia works at a hotel as a maid and takes care of her little brother Calvino at night. Calvino is ten, but he shows no sign of waning. And when a legal loophole allows him to be taken by a corporation that produces artificial emotions for adults, Natalia will do everything she can to get her brother back.I lov Grove, S.E. The Waning Age. Viking BYR, 2019.In present-day San Francisco but in a parallel universe, people start to "wane," that is, stop experiencing emotions, around the age of ten. Natalia works at a hotel as a maid and takes care of her little brother Calvino at night. Calvino is ten, but he shows no sign of waning. And when a legal loophole allows him to be taken by a corporation that produces artificial emotions for adults, Natalia will do everything she can to get her brother back.I loved the premise of this story, and I love books by S.E. Grove, so I was surprisingly disappointed in this particular novel. There isn't much world-building to explain when "waning" happened and why the powers that be decided to replace regular high school with police officers giving kids martial arts training and lists of rules to follow (because people without emotions need more rules, apparently). The San Francisco setting is well done, complete with the fog, the crowded public transit, the oddly-behaving people on the street. There's plenty of action, and between action scenes there's time for world-building and character development; however, we don't get to learn much about this world, which is disappointing because I was genuinely curious. All in all, I think this book will be popular with teens in spite of its flaws.Recommended for: teensRed Flags: some violence, recreational drug useOverall Rating: 3/5 starsI received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.
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  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't too sure about this one going in, and the first couple of chapters didn't help, but when this story got going, it really got going. I couldn't put it down after a certain point. The idea is intriguing, not one I've seen before, the characters are interesting, and things are wrapped up well, with just a couple of loose strands if the author ever wanted to return to this world. A fantastic read."You've kept me out of this every step of the way. I will only hald believe it when you say it' I wasn't too sure about this one going in, and the first couple of chapters didn't help, but when this story got going, it really got going. I couldn't put it down after a certain point. The idea is intriguing, not one I've seen before, the characters are interesting, and things are wrapped up well, with just a couple of loose strands if the author ever wanted to return to this world. A fantastic read."You've kept me out of this every step of the way. I will only hald believe it when you say it's to protect me. It's also because you don't want anyone interfering with your methods.""It's both."He plowed on like I hadn't spoken. "I know you think I'm useless in a fight, but not everything is about fighting. I'm coming with you."I wanted to hug him and throw a shoe at him. I settled for a sigh. "Fine."He stood, waiting."And I apologize for keeping you out."He nodded. He swung his jacket over his shoulder. "Okay. Apology accepted. Let's go."
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  • Ashleigh P
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't love it but didn't hate it. I thought the idea was interesting and actually very probable. If we lived in an emotionless society I think it would be a lot like what she imagines. Natalia is a pretty level headed and somewhat fearless big sister who has an amazingly intelligent and emotionally aware little brother. I really enjoyed their journey and the other characters they meet along the way. The ending did make me tear up a bit. This ARC was loaned to me; I don't know that I would hav I didn't love it but didn't hate it. I thought the idea was interesting and actually very probable. If we lived in an emotionless society I think it would be a lot like what she imagines. Natalia is a pretty level headed and somewhat fearless big sister who has an amazingly intelligent and emotionally aware little brother. I really enjoyed their journey and the other characters they meet along the way. The ending did make me tear up a bit. This ARC was loaned to me; I don't know that I would have ever sought this title out myself, but it was worth the read.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC at YALL Fest! The premise of this book is really interesting. Adults can't feel emotions, and children start to wane around 10 years old. However, the story just didn't draw me in. I feel like more could have been done plot-wise in such an interesting world.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this ARC at NYCC* I had not intended to read this in a single day, but once I picked it up I couldn't put it down!
  • Jacki
    January 1, 1970
    A good glimpse at what the world would be like if we all lost our empathy and emotions. Readers of Uglies would like this book. For high school audiences and up. Some gory stuff and suicide.
  • Karin
    January 1, 1970
    Really interesting alt-contemporary/quasi-dystopian in a world where humans lose the ability to feel emotion by adolescence - except for the younger brother of the main character who is then kidnapped for study. Big sis, who models her emotions on Marlowe, sets out to get him back. Enjoyed the plot, enjoyed the relationships, and made me reflect a bit on human nature and society.
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  • Hesione
    January 1, 1970
    baby, is this real? s.e. grove is writing OLDER YA FANTASY???? I LOVE YOU MS. GROVE.
  • saskeah
    January 1, 1970
    Having been a huge fan of the Mapmakers' trilogy, I was excited to see another title by this author. I read about 100 pages, and I still hadn't been drawn in, so I decided to DNF in favour of more compelling reads. I was disappointed by the lack of depth of the characters, and the plot felt tropey to me. The writing was not enough to keep me engaged without an immersive plot.
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