I’ve accepted that the theme of this review and my next one is just going to be “books that are extremely hard to describe without giving too much away, but that I really loved”.
So. The Core of the Sun in set in a world in which women have been “evolved” with eugenics to belong to one of two classes. The eloi are feminine, submissive, and “wife material”. The morlocks are not feminine, think for themselves, and are doomed to physical labor or to die in obscurity. Yes, the book acknowledges the origins of those two terms early on and often. Our main character passes as an eloi, but is actually a morlock.
Also in this world, all addictive substances or substances deemed dangerous are banned. This includes chili peppers and any other hot food or spice. These items have created a subculture of chili junkies, who seek out a fix in any way they can. Our main character is a junkie, and also a dealer. Within the first chapter, she has put chili spice inside her vagina as a way to test its potency. That’s when you know you’re in for a wild ride with this book. It actually reminded me of the book Vurt by Jeff Noon, perhaps only because of the odd addictive substances: in Vurt it’s feathers.
Yet the book isn’t just a crazy ride. It’s also deeply sad, critical of gender roles, and very philosophical. Alternating between moving slowly/focusing on inner thoughts and fast-paced action, I found myself completely unable to put this book down. It is highly recommended for any fan of The Handmaid’s Tale or other dystopian novels focusing on sexism.