2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.

Book Review: The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

I LOVE Mira Grant (AND Seanan McGuire) and find her productivity astonishing – not just for sheer volume, which is impressive and entails multiple series from different author voices concurrently, but also for the consistently solid and varied quality of her titles. This woman publishes half a dozen books a year, minimum, under her various writing personas, and nearly each one hits it out of the park… I just love her writing style – no matter what name/intensity level she is writing under, the stories and characters are always complex, well thought out, and utterly original. This latest is no exception…

It’s a post-apocalyptic tale of a slightly different kind in that the world is not yet destroyed, but hovering on the verge of being so. And the apocalypse is, once again, of our own making. This time the issue is immunity – specifically herd immunity, and how it is being decimated by anti-vaccination fanatics. In a tale both timely and timeless, Grant uses her singular gift to present an entirely plausible and horrifyingly real vision of the world we may well find ourselves in if we continue to allow non-science (no coincidence that sounds so similar to “nonsense” in my mind) to chip away at the worldwide protection that vaccines provide all of us.

The characters are flawed and fraught with quirks and foibles, as is typical for Grant/McGuire. As with all of Grant’s heroines, there’s a dark side to protecting the people you love – I get that and love the way it renders her characters so human (even when they’re not). The plot is fast-paced and full of windy, twisty intersections that keep you furiously flipping pages until the bitter end. I found the ending a little oblique – and I’m still not sure if that’s a compliment or complaint. Things came to a head and then the book ended in a “resolution” that didn’t exactly, really, totally resolve or explain anything but left lingering, niggling doubts and questions in my head in a way that I’m still sorting through. Maybe that’s the point – and if so, brava. Even if it’s not, it made me think beyond the end of the book, and that’s a success in itself.

There’s potential for more here, and I for one would be delighted to see it. The future is highly uncertain in Dr. Izzy’s world and there are myriad opportunities to take that uncertainty and expand upon it as well as nudge it in new, tangential, directions. But the book also reads as a full and complete story, and I enjoyed it for that as well. Given Grant’s productivity, and proclivity, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were able to revisit the post-Morris’s Disease world – and hopefully learn a few more valuable lessons whilst there…

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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