Title: The Violence
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Publication: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Thriller/Dystopian Fiction
Pages: 495 (Kindle Version)
Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
A mysterious plague that causes random bouts of violence is sweeping the nation. Now three generations of women must navigate their chilling new reality in this moving exploration of identity, cycles of abuse, and hope.
Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.
But Chelsea’s husband has turned their home into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, cutting off her independence, autonomy, and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, who is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of an ideal family than she is with her daughter’s actual well-being. And Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is–until a mysterious illness sweeps the nation.
Known as The Violence, this illness causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bouts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. But for Chelsea, the chaos and confusion the virus causes is an opportunity–and inspires a plan to liberate herself from her abuser.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I love a good dystopian thriller and Delilah S. Lawson’s sounded unique. It takes place post Covid, which is always fun to think about, but another type of pandemic has taken over and it’s a terrifying kind.
The story follows Chelsea, her daughters, and her mother through a time when a new illness, The Violence, is running amok and they honestly don’t know how to stop it. Chelsea is a mother of two and man she has it rough. Her husband is a royal jerk. I have other colorful words, but for the sake of this review, I’ll stick with jerk. He’s highly abusive in all senses of the word. Emotionally and physically and Chelsea handles it while trying to protect her daughters. I felt so much for Chelsea. I was mad that she hadn’t left already and I was sad that she had to endure literally walking on eggshells almost her entire marriage worrying about what might set off the dreaded man of the house. The kids broke my heart because you know how traumatizing that could be. This could be very triggering for someone who has been in a abusive situation. So trigger warning!
I love how unique the illness is in this book. It’s also extremely terrifying to even consider, which makes this a nail-biter. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I thought the way Dawson told the story, broken into three basic stories most of the time from three different viewpoints, would bother me, but I really enjoyed watching the same story unfold but from those perspectives. In times of high stress and crisis, it’s always nice to see how different people react, and I think Dawson did a phenomenal job of showing us different reactions.
I especially loved some of the side characters you meet along the way while reading this book. I’m a big fan of really good side and supporting characters and this one had a lot. I love the RV kids (that’s my unofficial name for them), or the fighters (again, my own name). These people were quirky and fun and added so much to the depth of the story.
My one and only drawback that held me back from a full five star review was the length of the story. That may seem weird to some, but 500-ish pages is a lot for a book these days it seems, and can be done very well. This was mostly done well. However, I think that there were many times that we read very descriptive parts that could have been trimmed down with the same information and effect, but also sections that were already explained once before. Maybe not exactly, but general feelings or how they feel about a certain situation. There were a few times I had to force myself not to skip a paragraph just to get past a description.
With that said, I would never have skipped far, even though I didn’t actually skip, only because I really wanted to watch the story play out. I was intrigued from the very beginning and until the very last page. Dawson took a genre that you feel has been overdone at times with the dystopian vibe and gave it a fresh new twist that was more terrifying than all it’s predecessors. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an edge-of-your-seat, thriller with a catch around every corner.