Review by Knicky L. Abbott
Author name: Lorraine Wilson
Book Title: This Is Our Undoing
Could you condemn one child to save another?
In a near-future Europe fracturing under climate change and far-right politics, biologist Lina Stephenson works in the remote Rila Mountains, safely away from London State. When an old enemy dies, Lina’s dangerous past resurfaces, putting her family’s lives at risk.
Trapped with her vulnerable sister alongside the dead man’s family, Lina is facing pressure from all sides: her enemy’s eldest son is determined to destroy her in his search for vengeance, whilst his youngest carries a sinister secret…
…But the forest is hiding its own threats and as a catastrophic storm closes in, Lina realises that if she is to save her family, she must become a monster.
Publication date: 3rd August, 2021
Available formats: Paperback, Hardcover and Kindle from Amazon
Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/This-Our-Undoing-Lorraine-Wilson-ebook/dp/B0942QJHMB
This is Our Undoing is a near-future dystopian novel set in Bulgaria amidst climate politics, human trafficking, and monsters both supernatural and man-made. It intimately follows protagonist Lina Stephenson, a biologist with a dangerous past that has followed her to the isolating Rila Mountains and the sinister beauty of its surrounding forests, in the form of an old adversary’s strange family and the wake of his murder. The disastrous climate storm approaching the mountains is not the only storm Lina has to weather, and I was completely gripped by how she would survive either, in the end.
From the story’s onset the suspense is believable, and I was invested in what was taking place and how the characters would interrelate. Much of this has to do with the subtle spin of author Lorraine Wilson’s stunning prose. The delicacy of her words weaves a web of suspense that I earnestly became entrapped in. The unfolding scenes are powerful and penetratingly tense, on both an interpersonal level as well as that of the overarching plot. I got goose bumps time and again.
Lina’s superbly rendered emotional landscape, which she occupies so frequently and fully, is also a point of interest – very compelling, and in equal turns vibrant and nuanced. The dance between this internal landscape and the landscape and magical realism of the mountains and forest itself, is exquisite and masterfully executed. The powerful, emotionally wrought scenes surrounding her, with their realistic streams of consciousness and fantastic dialogue, make Lina an engrossing character to follow.
I loved how impossible it was to tell the truth of things in this story right until the very end, where the truth – finally revealed – was the only thing that made sense, even if I didn’t see it coming. And so satisfying! Even before the appearance of monsters and Otherness is made on the peripheries of this tale, I was invested in the murder mystery in which the characters were entrenched, as well as all the other characters themselves, not just Lina. I didn’t always agree with their decisions, but I cared! There are also darker things than the monsters in the woods in this book.
The tapestry of this story is so gorgeously and subtly woven that once it became clear, the impact of it was just like a tornado manifesting, from unseen elements, in a seemingly clear sky. The hybridity of magic and science, the masterful characterization, the beautifully paced world-building, all coalesced into my undoing. I cannot recommend this book enough.
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