- 4 out of 5 Stars
- Hardcover, Limited, 128 pages
- Expected publication: December 31st, 2018 by Subterranean Press
- Original Title – Kingdom of Needle and Bone
- ISBN159606871X (ISBN13: 9781596068711)
- Edition Language
- English URL https://subterraneanpress.com/kingdom-of-needle-and bone
From the publisher, “We live in an age of wonders.
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.
How wrong we could be.
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.
We live in an age of monsters.”
Humans can be many things. Saviors and Sinners. Hunters and the hunted. Monsters or the divine. We are given ample opportunity to show our true colors during our lifetimes. Often humanities true colors are somewhere in the grey area as no one is any one thing and as such, we are a collection of moments. Most writers often overlook the many faces of human nature, but great writers give a plurality to their characters. It may not be easy to understand who is good and evil without thinking about it, but isn’t that real life? Mira Grant aka Seanan Mcguire is one of those great writers that celebrate the pluralism of morality in her characters, and this novella is an excellent example of this.
Dr. Izzy Gauley, the protagonist, is as morally gray as any character could be. She is distraught, caught in the guilt of her previous choices, and she must continually make ethically ambiguous decisions to further what she believes is the truly right thing. Those choices may or may not bring the entire proverbial glass house on top of herself. Much of the plot hinges on whether her choices in this story are wicked and self-serving or genuinely in the best interest of all are up to the reader. She is a good character. But, this is not surprising as Mira Grant has a tendency to write real people.
The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant
“…Salvation at the tip of a needle”
Plot-wise, Grant has written a novella that is absolutely terrifying to a parent. What happens when herd immunity fails? The whole premise is based on a parent’s worst nightmare, losing their children. Even worse is that it is through the parents own actions that global calamity happens. Although the delivery of the message regarding immunizations and the importance thereof is a bit ham-fisted at times, her point comes across. Vaccinations are essential and the backbone of a healthy society. What I really liked about the plot is that it developed from, “How important immunizations are,” to a discussion on bodily autonomy. Do we sacrifice bodily freedom for the sake of a healthy society? A very real and prescient argument that could play out in the courts in the next upcoming years.
I hope to see this turn into a full-fledged series. There is enough meat on the bones of this novella to expand the characters and plot into a great story very much in the vein of the “Newsflesh” series.
I am so glad the Mira Grant is such a prolific author. I enjoy her work often and repeatedly. She is one of the few authors that seem to be just as good on a reread as it was initially. I can’t tell you how many times I have read Newsflesh and October Daye. If you have an opportunity to check out this novella, I dearly hope you do.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.
Ooooo! Gonna keep an eye out for this one, I love Mira Grant!
It is a fantastis short story. I’d love it if she did a full series on this.