Whether Violent or Natural by Natasha Calder
Whether Violent or Natural by Natasha Calder is set in a dystopian future, in the aftermath of complete antibiotic resistance that has wiped out most of humanity on Earth. It’s a truly, terrifying, thought provoking, brutal and all too real look into the future. As Science Fiction books go, this one certainly didn’t disappoint on any level.
As the blurb above states, the story focuses on Kit and Crevan, their symbiotic, complex relationship and their existence on a remote island. The fear of discovery by the mysterious Backbiters means they only venture out at night, keeping their fitness levels up in case of attack from the nearby mainland. After all, they are well stocked in their secure hideaway and its abundant surroundings, so all the better to avoid unwanted attention.
In this world plagued by mutating bacteria, prevention of contamination is all consuming. The remaining survivors must do what they can to survive infection, including avoiding any other humans. When a woman washes ashore, barely alive, the real story begins. Kit and Crevan are always on the same wavelength so when Crevan wishes to save the woman and Kit disagrees, tension ramps up, events escalate and buried secrets surface. Is this idyllic existence all it seems or is the truth too much to bear?
Whether Violent or Natural is a visceral and tension filled read. The flow of language reads effortlessly, and the combination of short and long chapters paces the story brilliantly and allows the sense of menace to ebb and flow. The story is told from Kit`s point of view. In this, Natasha Calder has created such an authentic voice for Kit and her complexities, she makes a compelling narrator.
Kit and Crevan are both vibrant characters, they jump off the page. Kit with her sense of childlike wonder belies her core of steel and Crevan`s values are unshakable and his loyalty admirable. The world building here is sublime, imaginative, and twisty, lending itself to an extremely tangible setting. In the event of an apocalypse, Kit and Crevan`s island home is definitely the place to be.
In the many dystopian novels out there at the moment, if you want to read something a little different then Whether Violent or Natural by Natasha Calder is the one for you. As debut solo novels go, I can’t wait to read what comes next from Natasha. I thoroughly enjoyed this dark, thrilling read, I finished it in three days. Truthfully, I was a little sad to take my leave of Kit and Crevan and their beautiful island. I may well head back for a visit, very soon.
(c) Karen Slammon
Order your copy online here.