Welcome to London, but not as you know it. Oxford Street burned for three weeks; Regent’s Park has been bombed; the British Museum is occupied b those with nowhere else to go.
Lalla has grown up sheltered from the chaos by her visionary father, but now she’s sixteen, he decides it’s time to use their escape route – a ship big enough to save five hundred people. Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla’s unease grows. Where are they going? What does her father really want? What is the price of salvation?
I absolutely love to read post-apocalyptic novels. I love the thrill, suspense, and tension it entices within me as I imagine being stuck in the world that has declined; a world where nobody is safe and no-one can be trusted. The concept of this type of post-apocalyptic novel really drew me in with the whole biblical imagery surrounding a ship that can carry only five hundred people reminiscent of Noah’s Ark and the animals he sheltered. Coupled with the unease hinted at within the synopsis, I felt that I was about to read a book that would hold a lot of suspense and mystery surrounding events to come. However, this was nothing like what I read.
“I knew nothing. Except that I was lucky, and that was only because my parents kept telling me so.”
The opening of the novel drew me in initially. There was a lot of questions surrounding how the world had succumbed to its current state, how and why Lalla and her family were more well-off than those living in the streets, as well as questions surrounding the ship – these were questions that Lalla herself was asking as well. Events moved quickly and brought you to the ship within the first one hundred pages bringing fear, animosity, and a sense of privilege. However, once these five hundred people had entered the ship and it had set sail, I found the book began to drag. The events before me became mundane and boring as the words struggled to hold my attention. I felt that relationships were rushed into development with no real chance for friendship or love to build and, even though the point is to show that the days were repetitive, it really dragged through the writing. I couldn’t carry on reading and after around the halfway mark, I finally had to DNF the book.
“When things fall apart, you cannot save everything.”
With all of this in mind, I found it very hard to focus on events to come. I couldn’t see myself enjoying this book with the page after page of everyday tasks, unreal relationships, and the sense that nothing was really being pushed forward. Yes, the ship was moving towards a destination, and of course there were major changes aboard the ship that affected Lalla’s feelings and viewpoint towards what was happening, but it didn’t hold my attention enough to make me truly question where they were heading or why they were on the ship. This really disappointed me as I really wanted to enjoy this book but overall, I found it to be lacking in any attempt to hold my attention.