The Migration by Helen Marshall
Genre: Horror | Science Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Published on 5th March 2019 by Titan Books
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Received for free from publishers in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: Creepy and atmospheric, evocative of Stephen King’s classic Pet Sematary , The Migration is a story of sisterhood, transformation, and the limitations of love, from a thrilling new voice in Canadian fiction.
When I was younger I didn’t know a thing about death. I thought it meant stillness, a body gone limp. A marionette with its strings cut. Death was like a long vacation–a going away.
Storms and flooding are worsening around the world, and a mysterious immune disorder has begun to afflict the young. Sophie Perella is about to begin her senior year of high school in Toronto when her little sister, Kira, is diagnosed. Their parents’ marriage falters under the strain, and Sophie’s mother takes the girls to Oxford, England, to live with their Aunt Irene. An Oxford University professor and historical epidemiologist obsessed with relics of the Black Death, Irene works with a centre that specializes in treating people with the illness. She is a friend to Sophie, and offers a window into a strange and ancient history of human plague and recovery. Sophie just wants to understand what’s happening now; but as mortality rates climb, and reports emerge of bodily tremors in the deceased, it becomes clear there is nothing normal about this condition–and that the dead aren’t staying dead. When Kira succumbs, Sophie faces an unimaginable choice: let go of the sister she knows, or take action to embrace something terrifying and new.
Tender and chilling, unsettling and hopeful, The Migration is a story of a young woman’s dawning awareness of mortality and the power of the human heart to thrive in cataclysmic circumstances.
Then of course I ignore all sane thoughts and say yes to reviewing The Migration because everyone needs some great horror in their life. That is exactly what Helen Marshall gives us with this book.
The Migration is an interesting and seemless mix between horror and science fiction, portraying our world as we know it but much further down the line of global warming. Storms are such a commonality that at times power is hard to keep stable.
Sophie has recently moved to live with her Aunt Irene in England where they’ll be closer to better medical help for her sister, Kira, who’s one of the first to be diagnosed with a new disease that seems to be spreading amongst kids and teens with no real cure in sight.
I really felt for Sophie as she has a lot on her plate to deal with; sick sister, new school, worried mother. I think she feels like very real narrator and has a lot of love for her family. Plus I loved that she is one of the few people who want to get to the bottom of this virus that is draining her sister’s life.
The illness has been at the centre of a lot of deaths but they’re not everything they seem as the bodies start to jitter afterwards. Authorities are doing the best to keep it under wraps but Sophie pursues the truth so she can accept what her sister is going through.
Aunt Irene was also a favourite character for me to read about as she provided Sophie with some stability and distraction, allowing her to explore her worries and grief in a way that works well for her. Rather than just shutting it up inside her and pretending there wasn’t an issue in the world.
Even though The Migration is set in our world there is still plenty of wonder due to what is happening to the children that are “infected” and provides a good reminder and warning to take better care of our planet so we can see it take better care of us.
I was truly whisked away in this story and the ending brought me tears of happiness. It was refreshing to see that when the truth came out, a few were able to stand up and support Sophie in what she had to look forward too.
This has definitely made its way to my favourites shelf and I’ll be recommending it to as many people as possible.
If you’re a fan of The Girl with All the Gifts kind of horror because of its – and uplifting vibe then The Migration is definitely in the right strain of horror for you too.
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