The Migration by Helen Marshall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An exceptional, beautifully written debut novel by one of the best modern fantasists this side of Kelly Link. Against a backdrop of ever-increasing storms and floods, seventeen-year-old Sophie’s younger sister, Kira, is diagnosed with a mysterious new disease called JI2. It’s deadly and only affects the young, but as Sophie comes to discover, there’s a lot more to JI2 than anyone thinks. Because it doesn’t just kill those who are diagnosed with it, it transforms them into something both beautiful and frighteningly inhuman.
Marshall brings to the novel a deep knowledge of infectious diseases, climate change, and plague history, especially the Black Plague in the 14th century, which comes to play a surprisingly relevant role, both thematically and scientifically. All the strengths she exhibited so powerfully in her short fiction are on full display in here: an extraordinary imagination, superb prose, and strong characterization.
THE MIGRATION is something special. I’ve been a fan of Marshall’s work for a long time, ever since her award-winning first collection HAIR SIDE, FLESH SIDE in 2012, but now more than ever I can’t wait to see what comes next.
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