The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The 2014 Philip K. Dick award winning novel that Slate recently called the “science fiction analog to the Zika crisis.”

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

This book rocked my world.  In a big, BIG way.

First and foremost, the premise is truly terrifying (think zombie apocalypse times a zillion) because it is way too plausible : a flu-like illness that is eliminating the world’s population.  (How many times have we heard talk of a superbug that resists drugs??)

Then there’s the main character: the unnamed midwife. She’s desperate to survive, and goes to any extreme to do so.  She’s smart and resourceful.  She has hope.  Her plight is conceivable; I walked in her shoes throughout the entire story.  We hear part of her story through her journal entries, and her commentary was both poignant and snarky without ever feeling defeatist, and I couldn’t have asked for a better personality for her character.

And let’s not forget the story itself.  The emotion that Elison worked into the story is raw.  She didn’t sugarcoat anything to make the read easier, and she didn’t make it feel safe; there weren’t zombies wreaking havoc and destruction, and there weren’t any superpowers.  This was just a straight up insanely intense tale about what happens in a world where the enemy can’t be seen or stopped, and what people will do to survive.

This book is set to release on October 11, 2016, and I highly recommend you snag a copy.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

-Amber

 

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