Synopsis:

How far would you go to save those you love? 

Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion. 

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

Review:

There’s no finish line you need to cross to have lived a worthy life, Lowrie. You don’t need to achieve anything if you don’t want to.

This is the third book written by Lauren James I read and I came to the conclusion that she is a genius. 

This book came out before Covid times, so talking about a virus that brings the human race to the verge of extinction has its own amount of creepiness. This dystopian sci-fi takes place in a world where a mysterious virus spread among mankind and made them infertile. Fast forward one hundred years and only a small number of humans are left. They all live in London (they moved for practicalities) and there are only two children left, our main characters of this story – Lowrie and Shen. And then one day another mysterious illness is spreading and it seems the end of the human population is coming even closer. Lowrie and Shen try their best to save their parents and the people they love, investigating and focusing on the past and the origin of the virus that started everything.

One of the best features of Lauren James’s stories is that nothing is what it seems. There is always a moment of “WTF” that will throw you out of the road. She has this gift of surprising the reader with unexpected mind-blowing plot twists. This book is so detailed and it all makes sense in its own craziness of virus and fertility, I was not surprised to find out James has a Masters degree in Chemistry and Physics. The level of details in the story is astonishing, including the news feed and social posts from the past. 

I will never stop praising this writer, this story was absolutely fascinating in every aspect, including the characters with their own diversity. I mean, honestly, instead of another Dune, they should really get this kind of story on the big screen. I really enjoyed the scenario depicted in this story of a London with flooded tube lines and collapsing buildings.

It is absolutely brilliant but I keep going back and forth with the final rating. I couldn’t help but find this story incredibly sad. Especially the ending… I think other readers may say “Well, this is what you should expect from a dystopian sci-fi”. Other readers may still find a glimpse of hope in it, but… I can’t (lol?).  

Overall, it’s deeply sad and dark, but incredibly well-written, and it will probably haunt me forever. I will carry this bittersweet feeling in my heart for a while. In conclusion, the review is: you must read this. Also, I am very tempted to pick up mudlarking on the Themes as well, haha. Lauren James is one of the most brilliant minds out there, I can’t recommend her books enough.