I’m going to have a really hard time reviewing this book, because it’s so damn grim. It’s also hard to full describe what the book is about without running into spoilers.
So, first, I’ll just try and describe the plot. This book is set in a world where a great disaster has somehow destroyed most things outside an island community of people who now live in an extremely structured, patriarchal society. Men function in their assigned roles based on their names and what men with those names have historically done, and young girls function as breeders to be married off. The book follows the perspectives of a handful of these young girls (and, briefly, one of the “adult”, married-off women), all of varying ages, as they slowly face the doom of their inevitable lives, and realize just how horrific their community is. Some try to change things. Some simply observe. And others just endure.
If this were a more stereotypical book, it would be about the successful rebellion of these girls, but that is not this book. If this were a more exploitative book, everything they suffer would be described in excruciating, disturbing detail, but that is also not this book. Much of the true horror here is made clear, but not described directly. It’s enough to need a trigger warning, though. The book is clearly written with deep empathy for the girls and women in the community, and sometimes even for the men. It is also deeply upsetting to read, and very grim.
I’d recommend it as a very well-written and interesting book. I would also recommend a chaser of something very happy after you read it.