When the Floods Came – Clare Morrall
First things first I’mma eat your brains – wait, that’s Nicki, I’m not gonna do that… First things first I’m going to thank Bookbridgr and Hodder and Staughton books for sending this to me. Second I’m going to draw your attention to how pretty this cover is and third, I’m going to tell you all about this book cos reading it was a bit of an adventure. Also the posting of this was kinda appropriate cos Storm Angus was raging and my local Asda got flooded just when I needed a lightbulb.
For 22-year-old Roza Polanski, life with her family in their isolated tower block is relatively comfortable. She’s safe, happy enough. But when a stranger called Aashay Kent arrives, everything changes. At first he’s a welcome addition, his magnetism drawing the Polanskis out of their shells, promising an alternative to a lonely existence. But Roza can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to Aashay than he’s letting on. Is there more to life beyond their isolated bubble? Is it true that children are being kidnapped? And what will it cost to find out?
So basic premise, in what is one of the more believable dystopian futures, the earth has been ravished by extreme weather and a horrible disease which has wiped out almost everyone, apart from the anti social and the immune, Roza and her family are immune and are pretty much the only people left alive in Birmingham after most of the rest of the UK decided to move to Brighton. I don’t blame them, Brighton is wonderful! Though there is a serious lack of affordable housing, so I hope that in this dystopian future there was a bit more housing to go around. Anyway, Roza and her family hang out in Birmingham avoiding the awful weather, being suspicious whenever they cross paths with another human and working from home using whats left of the internet, which apparently can continue without the aid of engineers or people in IT. She also spends her time skyping a chap called Hector who lives in Brighton and who she intends to marry (they met online, its like Tinder but way more serious) because the disease wiped out almost everyone and very few fertile people are left so marrying random people you meet on the internet and procreating with them is pretty much the only way the humans can continue to exist. The government insist on it actually. This fact, as alluded to in the blurb, is also the reason why so many children do keep disappearing and why Roza’s parents are so right to be wary of any other people they come across.
Indeed they are Nick Miller. Indeed they are. Especially child stealing ones. Overall, I really enjoyed this. It was a believable dystopia, if there is such a thing, but it was also a great story. There was a lot of intricate world building which is always welcome when describing a futuristic world where things have gone horribly wrong. My only real beef (or tofu for the non meat eaters out there) with the narration is that there was a tendency for the story to go off on a tangent and meander its way back to the original point, by which time I was like, wait… why was that important again?
This was definitely a slow burner, but its one of those delicious ones that you don’t mind waiting for because the scenic route is just so nicely done. Usually when you read a futuristic dystopia its all ACTION ACTION ACTION like Bruce Willis might as well be wearing a vest, packing weapons and reading the whole thing to you very loudly, this was much softer, it allowed you to get really immersed and the meandering nature of the narration allowed me to get to know Roza and her family and the world in which they’ve found themselves before the intensity of the story really began. I think the pacing is one of the key things about this book that made it so enjoyable, dystopias are usually so intense, so it was nice to be eased in gently with this.
I don’t know if its just because the protagonist is called Roza, but I pictured Aashay to look like Pimento from Brooklyn 99…
Overall, this is an interesting and imaginative story, though similar in places to Children of Men, and is very well executed. The main thing for me with this was that this was completely viable! Without wanting to get preachy or political, the weather is getting a tad cray on this planet and its all down to the way we look after it and honestly, who is to say that random extreme weather patterns won’t at some point in the future cause the mass of destruction seen in this book? How do we know that weird mutated viruses won’t decimate the planet?!
Wow, what a cheery note to end on….