Genre: Literary Fiction, Dystopian
Published: HarperCollins, November 2017 My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
“We are so brief. A one-day dandelion. A seedpod skittering across the ice. We are a feather falling from the wing of a bird. I don’t know why it is given to us to be so mortal and to feel so much. It is a cruel trick, and glorious.”
Despite the ironclad premise and themes, this novel unfortunately fell a little short for me.
It reminded me of the handmaids tale, but unfortunately not in the best way.
The elements that hindered my enjoyment of the handmaids tale were present in this book even more, whereas it lacked the stronger parts that the handmaids tale does have.
What intrigued me most about this book was the premise, the world and the philosophical questions that this may avoke. However, I was disappointed to see that the world was not explored to the extend I would have liked to see. Without spoiling the story; there is a large focus on the protagonists personal experiences of her pregnancy, and less on the world around her. One of the major premise points of the book is the devolution of species around the world, however, we see very little of that in the story.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part focuses largely on the relationship the protagonist has with her adoptive mother and her biological mother. In itself this was fine, however, at times I felt the story really did not need the dystopian setting during the first 100 pages.
The second part is where the true dystopia kicks off. This was when the story begins to become more suspenseful and fastpaced, but also where the lack of worldbuilding started to really bother me. So many aspects where left unexplored: how did the world get to this, what problems does it create (other than extinction in the longrun) and what would it mean to the people experiencing this massive change. Sure, they talk about how they miss roasted chicken, but the big picture is never talked about.
The premise would have been very suitable to ask some interesting moral questions, however, the moral in this story was depicted very black and white. To me, this felt like a missed opportunity.
I will not discuss the third part in detail to avoid any spoilers.
All in all, it was not a bad book, but a disappointment to me personally. Perhaps if I had went in with different expectations I would have liked it better. The author and I were just interested in different aspects of this world, so it was not the best match.
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