Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I suspect this will prove to be a marmite of a book: people will love it or hate it. I definitely don't hate it, but I'm not quite sure I love it either.
This is not the fault of the author. This book is typical Mira Grant--well researched, thought out, and written. The POV here is omniscient, an unusual choice for this kind of book (previous Grant books have been first- or tight third-person narratives), but the reason why becomes apparent at the end. What's also apparent from the get-go is the author's dislike (to put it mildly) of the anti-vaxx crowd, and the reader soon realizes this is a thought experiment of what could happen if they get their way.
To go along with this, there are a lot of medical ethics conundrums in this book. In particular, the bodily autonomy argument as used by anti-vaxxers (co-opted from the anti-choice movement) is one I've never thought of before. (Is this argument a thing in the real world?) This becomes the central theme of the book, and is what leads our protagonist--more of an anti-hero, in this case--to do what she does. This is made clear in the creepy, abrupt ending, which reverses everything the reader has previously comprehended about Dr. Isabelle Gauley and her story. The ending is not pleasant, but it has stuck in my mind for days.
I think this story is crying out for a full novel. I hope the response to this novella is such that Mira Grant decides to write it.
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