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The Migration

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The Migration PDF, ePub eBook 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 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.

30 review for The Migration

  1. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    I’m often the first to gripe about novels being labelled as YA fiction just because they have teenage characters in them... but occasionally it's the other way round. The Migration is packaged as a science fiction novel for an adult audience; it comes garlanded with quotes from the likes of the Guardian and SFX; it has been published by adult literary/SF imprints (Titan Books in the UK, Random House in Canada). And this seems curious to me, because the majority of the book reads like a fantasy a I’m often the first to gripe about novels being labelled as YA fiction just because they have teenage characters in them... but occasionally it's the other way round. The Migration is packaged as a science fiction novel for an adult audience; it comes garlanded with quotes from the likes of the Guardian and SFX; it has been published by adult literary/SF imprints (Titan Books in the UK, Random House in Canada). And this seems curious to me, because the majority of the book reads like a fantasy adventure for teens, and I feel it would have much greater appeal for younger readers. The plot centres on a mysterious new condition afflicting young people: Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome (or JI2). 17-year-old Sophie's little sister, Kira, is one of the first to be affected, after a case of chickenpox leaves her immune system weakened. The family move from Toronto to stay with Sophie and Kira's aunt Irene in Oxford, England, where they hope to find better treatment for Kira's condition. Irene is an academic whose research into the Black Death uncovers historical parallels with JI2. We can infer that the story is taking place in a near-future setting, and climate change forms a key part of the backdrop. I liked the first third, during which the writing reminded me a little of Nina Allan, a high compliment indeed. But the middle third involves so many implausibilities that I began to lose confidence – and interest – in the story. Unfortunately, it had lost me almost entirely by the time the really dramatic stuff started happening, and I only skimmed through to the end because I'd invested quite a lot of time in it up to that point. Neither the fantasy aspect nor Sophie as a character are particularly interesting, and the less said about the unnecessary romantic subplot (another YA hallmark) the better. (Personal rating would be around 2 stars, but I'm not formally adding it because I think that would be unfair. This was a clear case of book/reader incompatibility, and if it'd been tagged as YA, which I feel would be correct, I'd never have picked it up.) TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    2.5 stars Thank you @titan_books for providing me with a copy of The Migration to read and review! I thought I would love this one but sadly it ended up being not for me - however, there is a lot of merit to it, and hopefully that will come across in my review! . All across the world, young people are being diagnosed with J12, a mysterious illness with a growing mortality rate but when the patients are dying, they aren’t staying dead... When you say it like that, it’s understandable why it might be 2.5 stars Thank you @titan_books for providing me with a copy of The Migration to read and review! I thought I would love this one but sadly it ended up being not for me - however, there is a lot of merit to it, and hopefully that will come across in my review! . All across the world, young people are being diagnosed with J12, a mysterious illness with a growing mortality rate but when the patients are dying, they aren’t staying dead... When you say it like that, it’s understandable why it might be appropriate to deem it ‘evocative of Pet Sematary’ but really the similarities stop there. It’s not a raw, creepy tale of grief, but an interesting ‘cli-fi’ story, and I appreciated Marshall’s commentary on climate change. . But I thought the Black Death link would play a larger part in the story, and was a bit disappointed when the main character’s cool auntie with a PhD sort of got shunted off to one side, that strand just felt underdeveloped. As with any dystopian tale though, there’s good use of newspaper articles, medical reports and even DMs to show the devastating effects of the new order and the ins and outs of the changes affecting the world’s youth. . My biggest issue was that much of the story was told through dialogue, and I found it a bit stilted and clunky. The main character is 17 so maybe the tone was just a bit young for me!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)

    If you’re looking for a thought-provoking sf novel then look no further. This debut is coming out from Titan Books in March and it affected me deeply. It follows teenage sisters Sophie and Kira who have recently moved to live with their aunt in Oxford. Kira has been diagnosed with JI2, a mysterious autoimmune condition that has suddenly started to affect teens. Nobody knows what is causing it or what the long term prognosis will be, only that a shocking number of young adults are dying from it. A If you’re looking for a thought-provoking sf novel then look no further. This debut is coming out from Titan Books in March and it affected me deeply. It follows teenage sisters Sophie and Kira who have recently moved to live with their aunt in Oxford. Kira has been diagnosed with JI2, a mysterious autoimmune condition that has suddenly started to affect teens. Nobody knows what is causing it or what the long term prognosis will be, only that a shocking number of young adults are dying from it. As the death toll climbs strange rumours start to circulate about post-mortem symptoms. Are the children really dead? Or have they become something else? The story unfolds against a backdrop of climate change and geopolitical upheaval. As the sea levels rise and terrible storms batter the UK, Sophie, Kira and a whole generation of children become increasingly uninterested in the old order. A new age is dawning and they are bearing the cost. Although The Migration doesn’t explicitly address the politics of the 2010s, it perfectly captures the undercurrents of disenfranchisement, anger and disbelief that characterise a generation. Although Marshall’s response is absolutely science fictional it offers both a warning and a sense of hope. And it’s beautifully written too. Definitely recommended. I will be seeking out Helen’s short fiction now. #bookstagram #bookreview #sf #sciencefiction #speculativefiction #themigrationbook #booktuber #books

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    A moving and timely novel about the impact of climatic catastrophe on humanity. Building on the precedence of the Black Death almost 700 years ago, disease is linked to disaster. Above all else, though, The Migration tells the tale of two sisters who move to Oxford from Canada to seek a cure for the younger girl's mysterious immune disorder which is begin to afflict large numbers of young people across the globe. Disturbing, morbid and bleak in places, it is also uplifting and beautifully writte A moving and timely novel about the impact of climatic catastrophe on humanity. Building on the precedence of the Black Death almost 700 years ago, disease is linked to disaster. Above all else, though, The Migration tells the tale of two sisters who move to Oxford from Canada to seek a cure for the younger girl's mysterious immune disorder which is begin to afflict large numbers of young people across the globe. Disturbing, morbid and bleak in places, it is also uplifting and beautifully written in places. The novel is written from the perspective of the (almost) 18-year-old Sophie and so it is the world through an older teenager's eyes that we see here. As an Oxfordian, the book's location provided me with added interest! A fast and engrossing read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kim Wilkins

    If Connie Willis and Stephen King wrote a book together, they might come up with something half as good as this astonishingly accomplished debut novel. I was hooked from the first page, but the compelling narrative pace belies the story's complexity and layers, its ability to conjure up horrors and wonders, its deft ear for language and imagery. I am at a loss to explain how Marshall has made what is essentially an intimate, first-person story into such an epic tale of apocalypse and plague, and If Connie Willis and Stephen King wrote a book together, they might come up with something half as good as this astonishingly accomplished debut novel. I was hooked from the first page, but the compelling narrative pace belies the story's complexity and layers, its ability to conjure up horrors and wonders, its deft ear for language and imagery. I am at a loss to explain how Marshall has made what is essentially an intimate, first-person story into such an epic tale of apocalypse and plague, and ultimately hope. This is a stunning novel, going straight to my "best books ever" list. I can't recommend it highly enough.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    *Review copy provided by publisher* Sophie's little sister Kira was one of the first to become ill. A simple case of the chicken pox, then complications, leaving her with what was to become known as Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The family travels to Oxford in the hope the research being done there can help Kira's new condition. The Migration ticked all my boxes, I love stories about climate and diseases, plus it was beautifully written with a very human story at the heart. Helen *Review copy provided by publisher* Sophie's little sister Kira was one of the first to become ill. A simple case of the chicken pox, then complications, leaving her with what was to become known as Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The family travels to Oxford in the hope the research being done there can help Kira's new condition. The Migration ticked all my boxes, I love stories about climate and diseases, plus it was beautifully written with a very human story at the heart. Helen Marshall specialises in the study of the Black Death, and that does feel like the basis for this story. The period of the plague coincided with extreme weather, some think that the storms pushed the black rats north into Britain. In her novel, she explores the connection between climate change and disease, and ponders if our very DNA will adapt to survive these threats. It also explores the generational divide to a lesser extent. It's only children getting ill, and in one scene and adult confronts Sophie, telling her she is to blame. Just as many people like to blame younger generations for matters out of their control. I wonder if reading Origins earlier in the year put me in the right frame of mind for this. Life has always found a way to survive through apocalypse, species adapt, evolve, become something new. Even if the ages of humans is coming to an end, the Earth will cleanse itself and start again. A lot of these types of books can leave you with a feeling of despair but The Migration served up a portion of hope. I loved this book so much, and I have highlighted a huge amount of quotes. I highly recommend you read this if like cli-fi or thoughtful stories.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Interview with Helen Marshall on her novel Migration, writing, and inspirations. | More2Read “The dead should stay dead.” There is an unknown, the source and the end of those that have been infected by an outbreak, one that affected young people, an insidious strain of J12, a Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Sophie, a likeable and memorable character, is on a mission to discover the fates of those that die from this virus or bacterium, and as her sister, who has the disease, shifts in Interview with Helen Marshall on her novel Migration, writing, and inspirations. | More2Read “The dead should stay dead.” There is an unknown, the source and the end of those that have been infected by an outbreak, one that affected young people, an insidious strain of J12, a Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Sophie, a likeable and memorable character, is on a mission to discover the fates of those that die from this virus or bacterium, and as her sister, who has the disease, shifts into decline and death, she wants to find out her real end. A cremation would be the end of the discovering and so something that must be stopped. Majestic, mysterious, and haunting story, hypnotically taking you under it wings and unraveling though the voice of seventeen year old Sophie. The metamorphosis, the becoming, all immersive reading having you refuse to close the wings of the book or descend the tale into darkness by powering off. The author has done a great job with unraveling the story with an economy of words played out in a melody of sentences that evoke mystery, vividness, the pace, the chaos, with discovery and transformations in this memorable tale dealing with realms unknown, plague, cataclysmic events, death, loss and possible reassuring the disquieting of their end. This novel was provided kindly by Titan books and recommended by author Paul Tremblay in a recent interview I had with him, it did not disappoint.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ithil

    I received a promotional copy in exchange of an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion. First, the cover called my attention, then Gaiman’s quote on the front cover did the rest. When I read the synopsis I knew this novel would be straight up my alley. Though I do have to say, I don’t know where the comparative with King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ came from, or at least, I did not though it was appropriate at all. Maybe I just interpreted the novel in a different light. The set up for this stor I received a promotional copy in exchange of an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion. First, the cover called my attention, then Gaiman’s quote on the front cover did the rest. When I read the synopsis I knew this novel would be straight up my alley. Though I do have to say, I don’t know where the comparative with King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ came from, or at least, I did not though it was appropriate at all. Maybe I just interpreted the novel in a different light. The set up for this story is a nearly apocalyptic world in which floods, earthquakes and storms are the everyday breakfast. In this setting, a mysterious immune disorder starts affecting teenagers and kids. Sophie’s sister has this condition, and nothing seems to be helping to heal or palliate this condition. What it is know is contradictory and not very accurate. The story focuses on Sophie, on how all of this is affecting her. And I do have to say that I felt the story heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. It is not the tale of a heroine, but the story of a normal girl in horrible circumstances. And I think this Is what I enjoyed the most. It is the fact that you can relate so much to Sophie. How she deals with her sister, the disease, how her live changes… I think I read the story in a couple of days as I was very intrigued on how everything would evolve and end. Not everything is explained, but I just think this makes the whole story more terrific, as usually the unknown is more scary than a rational explanation. I loved how delicately threaded the story is. The prose is beautiful and it has a great contrast with some of the descriptions. For me it was very visual, almost like a film. Weather you are a fan of dystopias, mysterious diseases or just stories of coming of age and how to deal with life and try to be happy you’ll definitely should give it a try.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Robinson

    3.5-4 Review to come for Ink Heist :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andreia

    I shouldn’t start my review by saying this but I read this book because of its cover and because Neil Gaiman said he liked it. Whatever book Neil Gaiman enjoys, I know for a fact that I’ll enjoy it, too. I’m not going to be dramatic and tell you that The Migration was the exception to the rule. I didn’t love it but I was still hooked from the beginning until the very end. The Migration is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. It’s about how humanity deals with change, how Diseas I shouldn’t start my review by saying this but I read this book because of its cover and because Neil Gaiman said he liked it. Whatever book Neil Gaiman enjoys, I know for a fact that I’ll enjoy it, too. I’m not going to be dramatic and tell you that The Migration was the exception to the rule. I didn’t love it but I was still hooked from the beginning until the very end. The Migration is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. It’s about how humanity deals with change, how Disease X (click on the link to know more) could be about transformation, not destruction, and it’s about grief, acceptance, family bonds, and the inevitability of the end of the human race as we know it. It’s disturbing, provocative, almost absurd, but it is also stunning in a twisted way, like threatening, angry waves crashing against the wooden structure of a house. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the parallel that is established between the Black Death (which very much happened and was very much real) and the new, unknown disease that’s affecting young people in the pre-apocalyptical world the author created. Helen Marshall’s research on real epidemics, history and medicine shines through every chapter in this book and it’s absolutely fascinating. I learned so much and I really appreciate it when an author does her research and doesn’t keep it to herself. The Migration is also beautifully written. Helen Marshall’s writing is consistent with her plot ideas: it’s imaginative, dark, invasive. It lures you into hidden places and it either kisses you or stabs you in the neck. Above all, this novel is the greatest question of all: what if the human race is not extinguished but transformed into something else, something we’ve never seen before? Let’s hope that whatever we become, we turn out to be better than what we are now. Follow Parabatai Reviews for more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Kaufmann

    An exceptional, beautifully written debut novel by one of the best modern fantasists this side of Kelly Link. Against a backdrop of ever-increasing storms and floods, seventeen-year-old Sophie's younger sister, Kira, is diagnosed with a mysterious new disease called JI2. It's deadly and only affects the young, but as Sophie comes to discover, there's a lot more to JI2 than anyone thinks. Because it doesn't just kill those who are diagnosed with it, it transforms them into something both beautifu An exceptional, beautifully written debut novel by one of the best modern fantasists this side of Kelly Link. Against a backdrop of ever-increasing storms and floods, seventeen-year-old Sophie's younger sister, Kira, is diagnosed with a mysterious new disease called JI2. It's deadly and only affects the young, but as Sophie comes to discover, there's a lot more to JI2 than anyone thinks. Because it doesn't just kill those who are diagnosed with it, it transforms them into something both beautiful and frighteningly inhuman. Marshall brings to the novel a deep knowledge of infectious diseases, climate change, and plague history, especially the Black Plague in the 14th century, which comes to play a surprisingly relevant role, both thematically and scientifically. All the strengths she exhibited so powerfully in her short fiction are on full display here: an extraordinary imagination, superb prose, and strong characterization. THE MIGRATION is something special. I've been a fan of Marshall's work for a long time, ever since her award-winning first collection HAIR SIDE, FLESH SIDE in 2012, but now more than ever I can't wait to see what comes next.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Avery Delany

    A huge thank you to Titan Books for providing me with an advanced reader copy of The Migration in exchange for an honest review. When I read the synopsis for The Migration I was ALL over this book. In my email to Titan Books to request an ARC of it, I recounted the story of little 7/8 year old me carrying around my Encyclopedia of British History everywhere so that I could teach everyone about Black Death (my obsession at the time) to show how me and this book would be a perfect match for each A huge thank you to Titan Books for providing me with an advanced reader copy of The Migration in exchange for an honest review. When I read the synopsis for The Migration I was ALL over this book. In my email to Titan Books to request an ARC of it, I recounted the story of little 7/8 year old me carrying around my Encyclopedia of British History everywhere so that I could teach everyone about Black Death (my obsession at the time) to show how me and this book would be a perfect match for each other. I received my ARC a few days ago and can't wait to get stuck in!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Piña

    Helen tiene ideas geniales y un estilo inmersivo, así que hay mucho aquí que me agrada. No me gustó el diálogo tan constante y a veces innecesario, pero las ideas que explora aquí son increíblemente relevantes. Podría parecer que generaciones más jóvenes pierden interés en involucrarse con el mundo y adquirir talentos o conocimientos pero la verdad es que simplemente viven de acuerdo a las necesidades de los tiempos que les tocan y valoran las cosas de acuerdo a un contexto completamente diferent Helen tiene ideas geniales y un estilo inmersivo, así que hay mucho aquí que me agrada. No me gustó el diálogo tan constante y a veces innecesario, pero las ideas que explora aquí son increíblemente relevantes. Podría parecer que generaciones más jóvenes pierden interés en involucrarse con el mundo y adquirir talentos o conocimientos pero la verdad es que simplemente viven de acuerdo a las necesidades de los tiempos que les tocan y valoran las cosas de acuerdo a un contexto completamente diferente que los que quedaron atrás. Por eso es fascinante leer personajes jóvenes que representan nuevas generaciones y nuevas formas de pensar. Ante retos nuevos, las respuestas también lo son. Esto viene al caso porque siento que poco a poco, la moralidad de los personajes en este tipo de libro ha ido cambiando. La ficción especulativa siempre aborda la relación del humano con su entorno, con la tecnología y con la sociedad, pero aunque las visiones son siempre muy humanas, es interesante ver como con el tiempo van tomando matices particulares.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Speculative climate fiction at its best. The scope of this story is perfect—we hone in on the 17yo protagonist and her personal experiences amidst some terrifying changes to her life and family. There are frequent background reminders of the bizarre weather changes, but the story itself is not preachy at all—a lovely balance of character and speculative idea.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hattie

    An easy quick read but ultimately unconvincing. Hinted at themes that were never fully explored which was disappointing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lainie Nelson

    Wanted to give this a 3 and a half. I quite enjoyed this, a good spin on the disease / outbreak story with some climate change stuff thrown in. Did find it a bit predictable but it was a enjoyable ride.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hannett

    What a brilliant, beautiful, devastating book. I cried and cried and cried and loved every word of it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ What a brilliant, beautiful, devastating book. I cried and cried and cried and loved every word of it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  18. 5 out of 5

    T.O. Munro

    This Review of an ARC of the migration first appeared on The Fantasy-Hive website in March 2019 There are aspects of Helen Marshall’s debut that feel like a young adult work – a young female protagonist in a collapsing contemporary society haunted by family woes and with an ephemeral promise of romance. However, in the skilled yet accessible writing and the poetic themes the author explores, The Migration reads more like literary fiction. Helen Marshall is an accomplished writer who has cut her t This Review of an ARC of the migration first appeared on The Fantasy-Hive website in March 2019 There are aspects of Helen Marshall’s debut that feel like a young adult work – a young female protagonist in a collapsing contemporary society haunted by family woes and with an ephemeral promise of romance. However, in the skilled yet accessible writing and the poetic themes the author explores, The Migration reads more like literary fiction. Helen Marshall is an accomplished writer who has cut her teeth on award-winning short stories. It is no surprise then that this thought-provoking and enjoyable story does not feel like a first novel. I didn’t read the blurb before I started this book, and I am glad that I didn’t. There are a few small spoilers within it that I am glad I didn’t know before I came across them in the text. It is perhaps significant that one of the back cover comments is from M.R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts, for there is another story best read from totally cold to allow its plot reveals every bit of freshness they deserve. In the same way, this is a difficult review to write because some of the images from nature that The Migration conjured in my mind are themselves too big a giveaway to mention here. Suffice to say the setting spans crises on a global and an individual scale. The long-heralded fruits of climate change are being felt the world over, while a strange disease has arisen that afflicts only the young. These disasters are brought into sharp relief through the eyes of Sophie Perella. Not just threatened with flood inundation in the riverside cottage she now calls home, and not merely fearful for her sister Kira, one of the first to be diagnosed, but also afflicted by the transatlantic displacement from her native Canada to her aunt’s house in Oxford. Having dragged two daughters across a narrower span of sea from Kent to Belfast, I have seen at close hand the challenges that sets for adolescent social integration. Sophie experiences that same disconnection from the support networks of her friends, the difficulties of finding a way to study in an entirely different education system, of finding a way to pick up the threads of her own future. These dilemmas are given added urgency with the challenge of Kira’s sickness. Marshall gives her invented plague a certain strangeness of symptoms. Sufferers are afflicted by sleepiness and loss of focus – occasional absences of attention – the petit mal, yet with some aspects of haemophilia. It presents as a subtle illness that defies diagnosis except by a formal test and whose progression is at first unknown, unfathomable. This is not the plague of other apocalyptic stories, with sweats and fevers, buboes and messy death. Marshall herself spent time as an Oxford-based post-doctoral researcher into the literature around the time of the Black Death. This experience informs the character of Sophie’s aunt, whose research into old plagues puts her in demand as scientists battle to understand this new pandemic. As she and Sophie work together, it seems the past may have something to tell them and that there may be a link between an illness that impairs the judgement of the young, and the inundation threatening to flood the world. I have to say that I love Julia Lloyd’s cover for the UK version of the book. It captures the strangeness of the story to my eye, hints of shapes, glimpses of patterns, a touch of science, that become easier to appreciate as you read on and the story develops. To say more would probably be too spoilerish, but I have rarely found a cover so seemingly abstract, yet which resonated so well with the unfolding story it introduced. Despite the global crises, Marshall’s story remains tightly focussed on its first-person protagonist Sophie and her response to the various challenges and traumas she encounters. Sophie finds allies in strange places, from dark hospital corridors to college greens beneath the shadow of dreaming spires. There are the familiar teenage themes of parties and staying out late and alarming the adults, but all against the backdrop of a strange unquantifiable danger that haunts the young people of The Migration. The adults, however, are the ones who struggle more with how climate and disease are changing the realities of their world. Scientists seek not so much to understand as to control the development of the disease, their medical intervention as unsubtle and ultimately ineffective as the sand bags that are dumped in cottage doorways to stave off the rising floods. Without ever quite tipping over into the mayhem of a zombie apocalypse story, Marshall still conveys a sense of a society that is fragmenting under pressure and in the process badly losing its moral compass. Sophie is let down by both her parents – each retreating in different ways from facing the mysterious illness that has gripped Kira. Sophie is the one left sharing a room, secrets, fears with Kira, and ultimately Sophie is the one seeking to preserve some kind of future for her sister in a moment of impulsiveness that fundamentally changes the story’s direction. Death stalks the story, from its opening line to its closing page. Throughout, Sophie struggles to come to terms with the way the horizons of her family and her generation are being brutally curtailed by illness and government, striving for meaning and purpose in the seemingly senseless. Marshall’s prose is fresh, simple, yet also powerful. “I tie knots in my memories, make a rope out of them to keep me sane. When I wake up there are those precious pockets of time when I forget what happened.” Sophie is a protagonist for whom we quickly care and fear, a heroine for whom we want the best – but it is in the nature of Marshall’s inventive story that we are surprised by the final outcome that we end up hoping for, for Sophie.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    Full disclosure: I met the author when I was on the board of directors of the Clarion West writing program and she was a student. However, I have followed her work since and not been disappointed. Most of what she writes might be classified in the "New Horror" category, but it's much more subtle than classic horror. It's moody, ambiguous, giving you a disquieting feeling before delivering a gut punch. This book is more of a straightforward apocalyptic outbreak novel, at least that's the McGuffin: Full disclosure: I met the author when I was on the board of directors of the Clarion West writing program and she was a student. However, I have followed her work since and not been disappointed. Most of what she writes might be classified in the "New Horror" category, but it's much more subtle than classic horror. It's moody, ambiguous, giving you a disquieting feeling before delivering a gut punch. This book is more of a straightforward apocalyptic outbreak novel, at least that's the McGuffin: a new fatal disease that only affects young people. What the book is really about are relationships between mothers and daughters, and between sisters. Although I am none of these, I was thoroughly engaged: I found the first-person voice of the older sister compelling, the dialogue authentic, and the sense of peril deftly handled as it gradually builds. Other than the mysterious illness, the fantasy element doesn't really come into play until the second half of the book, but it's nicely done and questions what was really happening in fragmentary reports of ancient (mainly medieval) plagues and disasters. While I didn't devour this in one sitting, I did read it in one day. It's a page turner. Pretty amazing for a first novel. Another full disclosure: I am Tuckerized on page 158 thanks to a fundraiser. But I would have read the book anyhow since I'll read anything that she writes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    2.5 rounded down to a 2 for the Stephen King Pet Cemetery reference. Pet Cemetery is my all time favourite book! So to read in the synopsis that there were Pet a Cemetery under tones I was extremely excited to read this. There is not one ounce of Stephen King in this book! Very disappointing. After I got over my disappointment I tried to get into the book on its own merits. It was just okay for me. The story was unique but not riveting. There was a touch of cli-fi, but not enough to explain what 2.5 rounded down to a 2 for the Stephen King Pet Cemetery reference. Pet Cemetery is my all time favourite book! So to read in the synopsis that there were Pet a Cemetery under tones I was extremely excited to read this. There is not one ounce of Stephen King in this book! Very disappointing. After I got over my disappointment I tried to get into the book on its own merits. It was just okay for me. The story was unique but not riveting. There was a touch of cli-fi, but not enough to explain what was happening to the teenagers. There was a bit of biological/plague history, but not enough to make comparisons to the story line. It was like this book kept giving me a taste of fantastic and then left me hungry. I do have to say that Marshall can definitely write! The way she uses descriptive writing is phenomenal! “Night falls like rain”, “driving down the hiway, trees passing by like water”. Unfortunately the whole package was off for me. And it might have just been the Stephen King reference that set me up. Wouldn’t really recommend this one. But interested in finding more from this author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sars

    Okay, so I have a personal bias. I don’t know the author and I did pay for the book. I’d never even hear of Helen Marshall or this book two weeks ago. But I’m biased all the same. The story features Sophie, a girl from Toronto whose family moves to the UK when her sister develops an immune disorder. Sophie and her aunt have a keen interest in history and fallout surrounding the Black Death. Oh, and the world as we know it is ending. So here’s my bias: not only am I an immunocompromised Torontonia Okay, so I have a personal bias. I don’t know the author and I did pay for the book. I’d never even hear of Helen Marshall or this book two weeks ago. But I’m biased all the same. The story features Sophie, a girl from Toronto whose family moves to the UK when her sister develops an immune disorder. Sophie and her aunt have a keen interest in history and fallout surrounding the Black Death. Oh, and the world as we know it is ending. So here’s my bias: not only am I an immunocompromised Torontonian transplanted to the UK, who happens to have an interest in the Black Death, but I am writing a novel that spans Canada and the UK featuring a cast of characters preparing for the end of the world. One of my characters is a historian with a focus on the Black Death. This book was basically written for me, wasn’t it? It’s about as different from my book as it’s possible to be, yet the story was clearly written FOR ME. How often can you say that? Was it written for you too? I don’t know. If you like mid-apocalyptic character-driven YA science fiction, the answer is probably yes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Wonderful is what I've come to expect from Helen Marshall's work. Here, a book that begins with a new facet of a well-worn trope shifts gears to become something very different while maintaining the same dreary-dark mood. In its final moments, it shifts once again and achieves flight when the poetic prose Marshall holds close to her chest is released like—well, it's too on the nose, but I'll say anyway—a flock of birds. Helen Marshall always surprises, always dazzles, but always keeps us wrapped Wonderful is what I've come to expect from Helen Marshall's work. Here, a book that begins with a new facet of a well-worn trope shifts gears to become something very different while maintaining the same dreary-dark mood. In its final moments, it shifts once again and achieves flight when the poetic prose Marshall holds close to her chest is released like—well, it's too on the nose, but I'll say anyway—a flock of birds. Helen Marshall always surprises, always dazzles, but always keeps us wrapped in the warmth of humanity, of love, of that wonder of discovering we can take one small step into the place we've never before thought to wander, and become something more than we realized we could ever be.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Horror DNA

    The Migration will not be to everybody’s taste as ultimately it asks more questions than it answers, which is slightly frustrating. However, this genre-bending tale is carried by an authentic and moving teenage voice that is struggling to come to terms with a world which is evolving dangerously fast. Some may find the slow pace and lack of action to be a turn-off, but this book sits comfortably at the literary end of the apocalyptic book shelves and should not be confused with other over-the-top The Migration will not be to everybody’s taste as ultimately it asks more questions than it answers, which is slightly frustrating. However, this genre-bending tale is carried by an authentic and moving teenage voice that is struggling to come to terms with a world which is evolving dangerously fast. Some may find the slow pace and lack of action to be a turn-off, but this book sits comfortably at the literary end of the apocalyptic book shelves and should not be confused with other over-the-top action driven apocalyptic yarns. It is a very quiet book and has a pace which suits the story it is telling. You can read Tony's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carlie George

    Disclaimer: the author is a friend. Helen's writing, always lovely, is hauntingly beautiful here. The Migration is a lot of things at once: an apocalyptic novel, an outbreak novel, a meditation on death and transformation and evolution and acceptance. It's also a story about sisters, which is forever and always going to be my thing. Sophie's journey is equal parts sad and strange and uplifting, giving the whole novel an almost hopeful, aspirational vibe. It's not a story that can easily be catego Disclaimer: the author is a friend. Helen's writing, always lovely, is hauntingly beautiful here. The Migration is a lot of things at once: an apocalyptic novel, an outbreak novel, a meditation on death and transformation and evolution and acceptance. It's also a story about sisters, which is forever and always going to be my thing. Sophie's journey is equal parts sad and strange and uplifting, giving the whole novel an almost hopeful, aspirational vibe. It's not a story that can easily be categorized into one genre--I can imagine arguments for several, honestly--but at present, I'm personally leaning towards "optimistic body horror." Let me tell you, folks, I'm here for it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don't know how I keep stumbling upon young adult novels, since I tend to not like many of them. Lots of people probably really like this book, but it's not for me. Quick plot summary: The world is being subjected to natural disasters such as flooding causing lots of people to loose their homes as they are forced to move. However, that's not the main plot. The main story line is that young people all across the world are getting infected by a mysterious virus that causes them to take more risks w I don't know how I keep stumbling upon young adult novels, since I tend to not like many of them. Lots of people probably really like this book, but it's not for me. Quick plot summary: The world is being subjected to natural disasters such as flooding causing lots of people to loose their homes as they are forced to move. However, that's not the main plot. The main story line is that young people all across the world are getting infected by a mysterious virus that causes them to take more risks which eventually results in their death - but are they really dead? Across the world stories emerge of bodies who continue to move after they've been declared dead.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Coreena McBurnie

    I’ve never read a book quite like The Migration. It had me intrigued by the synopsis and then when I started reading, I was quickly engaged with the characters and the strange plight happening to the children around the world. The writing is lovely, conveying the attachment between the sisters and the difficulty that a chronic illness can take on a family. I especially loved the research and imagination shown by the author in developing this strange illness that is plaguing only children. There is I’ve never read a book quite like The Migration. It had me intrigued by the synopsis and then when I started reading, I was quickly engaged with the characters and the strange plight happening to the children around the world. The writing is lovely, conveying the attachment between the sisters and the difficulty that a chronic illness can take on a family. I especially loved the research and imagination shown by the author in developing this strange illness that is plaguing only children. There is a strange, almost sci-fi feel to this book and it won’t be for everyone but I did enjoy this flight of imagination. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chester Johnson

    A climate catastrophe story, one that never really goes into depth explaining what's actually happening to the world as a whole, but the catastrophe seems to be the trigger for a mysterious illness that affects children and teenagers, with very high mortality rates, and when these children die, they maintain a sort of existence in a state of metamorphosis....but into what............ A beautifully written novel that draws you in with its descriptive dialogue and characters all dealing with change A climate catastrophe story, one that never really goes into depth explaining what's actually happening to the world as a whole, but the catastrophe seems to be the trigger for a mysterious illness that affects children and teenagers, with very high mortality rates, and when these children die, they maintain a sort of existence in a state of metamorphosis....but into what............ A beautifully written novel that draws you in with its descriptive dialogue and characters all dealing with change on many levels, with the living, the dead, the climate, and in their relationships, and in what you believe can be possible. A solid 3 1/2 to 4 star out of 5 read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Johan

    First of all, forget about this book being likened to Pet Sematary by Stephen King, because they have very little in common. A young woman's sister dies from a new disease spreading among the young people of the world. But then another person dead from the same disease is discovered to have strange convulsions, long after death. The dead sister is squirreled away from the morgue, because what if...? The story, while dealing with a global pandemic, and possibly zombies (!? I won't tell), is more of First of all, forget about this book being likened to Pet Sematary by Stephen King, because they have very little in common. A young woman's sister dies from a new disease spreading among the young people of the world. But then another person dead from the same disease is discovered to have strange convulsions, long after death. The dead sister is squirreled away from the morgue, because what if...? The story, while dealing with a global pandemic, and possibly zombies (!? I won't tell), is more of a familial drama during these circumstances. There is climate talk and science fiction/horror, but those are the building blocks of the story, and not the actual story itself, which focuses more on relationships, trust, and hope. I enjoyed it. It's YA fiction, but not the obnoxious kind in any way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I thought this book was quite well written and there were certain individual passages that I loved, but the ending and some of the character development wasn’t the best. It is supposed to be aimed at adults but I feel it sat better as a YA book, not only because the main character is 17 but because of the other themes in the book. I thought it had more potential than it actually gave but it was relatively enjoyable. Probably won’t re-read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary Rousseau

    Didn’t quite deliver on its promise for me. The plot is interesting, about the spread of a mysterious disease amongst the young. However, I felt there were too many strands that didn’t quite develop. The links back to the spread of the Black Death, bits about climate change - it just felt like there were too many ideas crammed in. It did hold my attention, but I felt myself getting frustrated with it about 75% of the way through.

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