Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

Bio-Thriller Meets Activism

4 out of 5 stars

So, Mira Grant, the pen-name of Seanan McGuire – is easily one of the authors that reestablished my love of fiction.  Especially bio-thrillers that the likes of Crichton used to write. Her Newsflesh series is still one of the books that I think about often.  So, when I saw that there was another book that came out where the description talked about disease and destruction I knew I had to take the dive.

First of all, I really enjoyed the book.  It was short and reminded me a bit of the novella’s in the Newsflesh world that I enjoy so much. Because it was so short I ended up starting and finishing it in one day.

The story itself is interesting – I loved where she went with it and I thought that she was mixing a little bit of activism in with her thriller.  I say this because there was a lot of talk about vaccines (it’s one of the major themes of the story).  The opening line is literally “…people want to make this about politics: want to pretend there aren’t consequences for choosing not to immunize a child”.  Another major talking point is abortion – but the story isn’t about abortion at all – there was just a lot of talk about bodily autonomy.

The disease(s) that Grant introduces (or re-introduces in some circumstances) was fascinating.  She goes into great detail about how it started and what it did.  There were some lines in the opening of the book that just chilled me to the bone. She wrote about someone unknowingly spreading the contagion in an almost poetic way.

I absolutely flew through this book and I thought that the number of quotable lines was up there with the Feed books.  I probably have to re-read this just to pull some of my favorites out.  Grant/McGuire is a master of writing insanely quotable lines and Kingdom is no different.

The final reveal, without spoiling anything, genuinely shocked me.  It probably shouldn’t have, but it left me reeling.  I just sat after the book finished (since it ended pretty much at the final reveal) stunned, not sure what to do or think.

Overall, if you liked Grant’s Newsflesh series – I think you’ll like this.  As I said above – it definitely reminded me of the Newsflesh novella’s both in length and feel.

Now, I don’t complain often about books or even repeating lines in books but the number of times that the phrase “herd immunity” was uttered in Kingdom was too much (something like 11 times in under 200 pages).  There was even a point where it was said 3 times in 1 page including this line ““Herd immunity,” she said, over and over again, until she wanted to scream. “It’s all about building herd immunity.”” I know that’s how people speak (especially people who are trying to get their point across) but it just kinda bugged me. I even feel guilty including it here, but I know that some other people will notice it, so I thought I’d call out my only major frustration.

Book Description:

Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant (Narrated by Cris Dukehart)Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
Published by Tantor Audio on April 30th 2019
Genres: Bio-Thriller
Format: Audiobook

Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.

Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can't have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn't be here to talk about them. They don't matter. They're never coming back.

It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it's too late: Morris's disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that's happened. She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.

Also by this author: All the Pretty Little Horses, Coming To You Live, Into the Drowning Deep,


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