Published May 1st 2019
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I used to be the weird kid that wanted to be stranded on an island with maybe one or two people. I adored and consistently reread The Island of the Blue Dolphins as a kid because the idea was so enticing to me. Then I discovered the zombie apocalypse. I was hooked immediately. I grew up poor so the idea of being able to just take food and necessities and okay, occasional luxuries with no repercussions was a tempting one. I’ve since broadened my horizons to a love of all apocalypses, but I still have a soft spot for zombies.
Skin doesn’t have zombies, but it was an apocalypse in a more horrifying way. Solitary confinement for years. Even the ones you love the most are kept at such a distance that you can’t help but grow apart.
The characters are discussed later in “The Good” section in a different light, but here let’s talk about how Angela is a terrible mother and wife. She doesn’t really seem to care about anyone in her family. She has nothing but disdain for her husband. She fears her son and ignores her daughter. When issues come up she promptly ignores them for anything else, even staring at a wall.
It kind of read like an unhappy/unfulfilled housewife who happens to be living during apocalyptic times. Angela stays at home, has disdain for her husband, barely knows her children, and feels the pointlessness of her job and her life. To escape this feeling she goes exploring outside her comfort zone and goes looking for adventure outside the home. Throw in an apocalypse and things are a bit more interesting, but the basic narrative is still unfulfilled housewife.
I also hated that when Angela thinks she sees another woman with Jason she assumes he’s sleeping around rather than paying any attention to the fact that the person also isn’t wearing a hazmat suit. You would think that would be important news. Then it takes her forever to connect the dots about who that “woman” is and when she does she doesn’t seem to care that much.
**end of spoiler**
The lack of ending. I read a ton of YA and dystopias are especially prevalent at the moment. Due to this I expect more climactic endings. Adult books tend to flatline the ending or give a small surprise rather than an intense rebellion with rules and governments overthrown. I understand this, but it still comes as a surprise when, in a dystopian world, the main character simply shrugs off all they’ve learned and continues on unhappily. I also have very little patience for people who complain about their lives, have a chance to change it and then choose not to. That was Angela. “Here is a new life handed to you on a platter. Hmm no thanks I think I’ll just go home and cry about things instead.” Ooookay.
Also, I want to know what happened with Amber. She was more interesting than the mom in a lot of ways. I want to know who Jamal is and if Amber snuck out to see him. If there is a sequel I want it to be about Amber.
The twist. The fact that there was a twist was good, but how easy it was to see it coming was not. I think I was about halfway through when I knew what was going to happen in the next half of the book.
Apocalypse!!! If you like apocalypse books you’ll like this one at least a little bit. The way the apocalypse is set in motion is new. We are allergic to each other. The people you love will kill you just by being near.
The world-building/world-destroying was done with good descriptions and the emotions from Angela added depth.
This book is not a run of the mill apocalypse rather it is a critique on 21st century family life. The family is disconnected even though they have so many ways to connect. They only care about themselves or when they do care about each other it is still for entirely selfish reasons. If I had known the authors other works I might have expected this, but this was my first Liam Brown book and I expected a straightforward apocalypse but instead I got a bit more.
Overall I enjoyed the book and think it is worthwhile to recommend to others who enjoy apocalypse books.
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