jacey: (Default)
[personal profile] jacey
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Grigsby's debut novel, 'Smoke Eaters' so grabbed the chance of getting a review ARC of this from Netgalley. It doesn't disappoint, though it's a very different read.

With advancing, apocalyptic climate change the government has solved its overpopulation problem by sending unwanted boys to fight in some (probably deliberately orchestrated) war and the girls are shipped into space, to Oublliette. The clue is in the name. Once there they are forgotten. Oubliette is technologically advanced, and potentially a safe haven that some of the politicians back home fancy might be worth taking back from the shippees, but on Oubliette gang violence is the norm. Food is scarce (sent from Earth), and the three main gangs fight for it – though one gang has taken to cannibalism rather than rely on the tasteless 'manna'. Sarah Pao is a new shippee who falls in with Lena 'Horror' Horowitz's gang who call themselves Daughters of Forgotten Light. It's a time when an uneasy truce has been negotiated between gangs, but that's about to crack because along with the girls on the last shipment, there's a baby, something never seen in Oubliette and each gang wants the baby for its own. In the meantime, in parallel with the happenings on Oubliette, Senator Linda Dolfuse (who has recently given up her own baby for adoption) is on earth, trying to discover the truth about what really happens on Oubliette.

This isn't a book for the squeamish. It stares violence unflinchingly in the face. The women and girls (some as young as ten) of Oubliette are a product of the system and they do what they must to survive. It isn't always a comfortable book, but it's gripping. There are one or two things that suffer from a little technical handwaving, in particular how one of the Daughters is able to fly a spaceship, but that's a minor gripe. The ending is bloody, but satisfying.
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