Imagine if you had to live your life with your eyes permanently closed or blindfolded.
Imagine securing yourself in one place, shutting off all views of the outside world, to ensure your own survival.
This is the reality faced in a strange and terrifying new world, where a glimpse outside- a glimpse of something unknown- can drive you mad and force you to kill those around you, right before you end your own life.
When the story of a grisly murder/suicide first came from Russia, the incident (known as ‘the Russia Report’) was met with horror and disbelief, but was soon passed off by those in the West as a one-off. Then, the incidents started to spread throughout the country, before heading to Canada and then Alaska. With the deaths now happening on home turf, Americans begin to fear for their safety. The only way to avoid the insanity is to close your eyes to whatever is out there. No one knows what it is, they just know that once you see it, you go mad. People barricade themselves in their homes. The smart ones wear blindfolds when outdoors, and ensure their homes are protected by nailing blankets and mattresses to the windows to block out their views of the street. Schools and businesses are closed, and people stay indoors, yet the body count continues to rise as more people succumb to the homicidal and suicidal rage that comes from seeing something.
Malorie is one of the survivors.
She and her children have managed to survive four years living in these conditions, although Malorie’s survival story in this new world begins with her pregnancy. It has taken this long for her to work up her courage to leave the house that has protected them all these years. It has taken her this long to train her children for the most important journey they will ever take.
This is Malorie’s story.
This debut novel is both thrilling and terrifying. Like all effective horror stories, the fear comes from the unknown- what is causing people to go mad and kill each other and themselves? Why is it happening? Is there any way to stop it? And, if so, who will be the ones to do it? Malorie is a believable character, and the reader experiences everything from her perspective- cutting between her life during her pregnancy and after. We learn about her housemates, their consternations and coping mechanisms, and their efforts to normalise themselves in an increasingly paranoid world. We also learn from her ‘harsh’ treatment of the children, where any mistake could cost them their lives. Boy and Girl aren’t afforded a normal childhood, as is expected for the world they live in- they don’t even have names. But a strong current of love runs underneath their strict training- it’s the only way for Malorie to ensure they all survive, even if her treatment does seem cruel at times.
A wholly original survival novel, this book is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as it explores fear, all its manifestations, and the madness that comes from the unknown.
Just a warning, some of the deaths in this novel are gruesome and inventive, and for some readers, this might be difficult to stomach.
It's an interesting premise, and I found the book very creepy in places. One scene bothered me not because it was gruesome but because I don't think it was physically possible ("...by her cord"- nope, they are not that well attached) and that kind of took me out of the story and made the rest of it less believable. I loved the scene on the river, very spooky.