Book Title: The Rending and the NestI got a review copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Author: Kaethe Schwehn
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Goodreads Summary: When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost.
Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object--and other women of Zion follow suit--the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn't return, Mira must decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.
What did I think?
I've read this book a week ago and I am still thinking about it. What a read! Throughout, I kept wondering: do I like this? Is this too weird? Is this brilliant? Or not?
I still haven't found the answer to most of these questions. What I can say is, I did enjoy the read and I read it in one sitting. The pacing is great (if you enjoy character driven stories), the world engrossing, and the characters are well developed.
I really connected with the main character and Mira is the main reason this book kept my attention. I liked reading about her experiences and her life in this weird new world.
But...the story is just so bizarre and absurd. Women give birth to inanimate objects, like vases, dolls and decorative birds. Kaethe Schwehn writes a lot of poetry, and I feel like this book is more a metaphor than a coherent story. The writing itself is also very poetic, which I liked but might put a few people off.
The plot takes a while to get going. The antagonist does not show up until almost halfway through the book, which might ruin the pacing for readers who don't enjoy the main character as much, and ultimately I do think it was a tad too weird for me.
There is no explanation given to the reader about the state of the world. Why has everyone disappeared? Where did they go? But that is okay, at no point did I feel like we're missing out by not getting an explanation or that an explanation would make the book better.
If you liked Station Eleven, enjoy slow burning books and find the premise of The Rending and the Nest interesting, give it a shot.