Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant
Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. While I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately, the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of the right book, the wrong reader.
About the Book
Publisher: Subterranean Press | Release Date: December 31, 2018 | Pages: 128
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction | Format: eARC | Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.
Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.
How wrong we could be.
It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.
She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.
We live in an age of monsters.
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Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. This is my first Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) read and while I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately, the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of the right book, the wrong reader.
“Many of them would continue to leave their homes even as they began feeling unwell. The virus would spread. The virus always spreads.”
Lisa Morris is an 8-year-old girl on vacation in Florida. She is starting to feel a little sick, but it is their last day and she doesn’t want to miss out on going to the amusement park for one last time. By the time she gets home to California, she’s very sick and thanks to trams, rides, and airplane rides — so are hundreds of others. Lisa’s Patient Zero of the Morris Disease outbreak and the first casualty. The world is forever changed.
“Of such small moments are disasters made.”
The third person omniscient narrative style just didn’t work for me here. The first 20% or so felt like a report, and even after the narrative voice kind of shifted to focus a bit on Dr. Izzy Gauley I never really connected with any of the characters. The novella is definitely plot driven, and the consequence of the narrative voice for me was that it was hard to care about the characters.
“A world that had been willing to reject the efficacy of vaccines suddenly found itself on the verge of being forced to live without them, and it was not prepared.”
I found the continual reminder of herd immunity and the issue of the anti-vaccine movement to be on the heavy-handed side. Initially, I was very interested in that as a starting point for this speculative fiction piece on potential outbreaks, but it was harped on so repetitively throughout the narrative that I became almost numb to it. It also seemed like an odd choice to me given the fact that the story is told in third-person omniscient: had it been a first-person narrative the repetition would have at least made a bit more sense to me (although I still would have been annoyed).
Overall the narrative style of this book was not for me, but I really enjoyed the overall plot and twist at the end. In talking with Destiny, I have learned that the narrative style is the author’s stylistic choice, so I definitely would recommend this novella to fans of Mira Grant.
REPRESENTATION: lgbtiap+ (gay side characters), the world is effortlessly racially diverse
CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS: death, grief, loss of a loved one
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication. Buddy read with Destiny
Let’s go on another adventure together!