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Review: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Blurb from Goodreads:
Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction.

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.
My Review:
This is an interesting dystopian novel with a narrative we've heard before -- plague destroys most of the world, especially most women, and those left are unable to birth live children. This book is told both through diary entries as well as a sort of omniscient narrator -- I actually appreciated both of these voices and views in which the story was told and it added to the story.  I've seen comparisons to Station Eleven but the language was not nearly as beautiful. The story and way in which it was told was compelling but it's definitely not on the level of some of my other favorite dystopians -- namely, Station Eleven, The Handmaid's Tale and Gold Fame Citrus -- despite a similar narrative.  Still, I enjoyed this and sped right through it. It also provided an exceptionally relevant and prescient commentary on how men behave and how they treat women when there is no society and nothing to lose.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife came out earlier this month on October 11, 2016 and you can purchase HERE. I definitely recommend this one if you like gritty dystopian.
In the days when the world had not yet fallen, the screaming of sirens was constant.  The structures that still held were the ones designed to cope with emergency and disaster, but none of them could work indefinitely. Desperation moved block by block,and people fought and fled. 
The died of the plague, and they died of proximity to each other. When there weren't enough people in charge of keeping the lights on, the cities went dark. When the sirens quit, the rules gave out. Some people had been waiting their whole lives to live lawlessly, and they were the first to take to the streets. Some people knew that would happen; they knew better than to open their doors when they heard cries of help. Others didn't. What disease cannot do, people accomplish with astonishing ease.


  1. Dystopias break my heart and I find them so hard to get into. This one sounds so intense and like it would break my heart.

  2. I don't read very many dystopians myself but I admit to being mighty curious about this one. I've enjoyed books told through diary entries and stuff like that so that part of this book draws me to it and now I'm adding the other books you mentioned to my wishlist as well. Thanks for the review Eva!

  3. This really sounds interesting. And funnily enough I was getting Handmaid's Tale vibes before you mentioned it. (I saw the movie many years ago but never read the novel.) Glad you enjoyed this one even if the writing was not on par with some of the others you mentioned.

  4. Sounds really interesting but I don't know if it's for me. Thanks for this review!

  5. It's been so long since I've read a dystopian novel. I don't even remember the last time. This one sounds so interesting though. Plus, I'm liking that cover :) Great review!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

  6. Hi, I just wanted to let you know I've nominated you for a Liebster Award!

  7. So, you know I love a dystopian and everything, but... it really sounds like I have read this book before, you know? The premise just seems SO overdone. But I do like the sounds of the grittiness and commentary... GAH, now I kind of want to read it hahah. Great review!


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