Kingdom of Needle and Bone
We live in an age of wonders.Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.How wrong we could be.It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.We live in an age of monsters.

Kingdom of Needle and Bone Details

TitleKingdom of Needle and Bone
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 31st, 2018
PublisherSubterranean Press
ISBN-139781596068711
Rating
GenreHorror, Science Fiction, Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy, Medical, Novella

Kingdom of Needle and Bone Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    thanks, assholes! for some reason, the synopsis for this one didn’t excite me - no zombies, no sentient tapeworms, no killer mermaids, just a faceless, familiar threat: regular old disease. i didn’t grab the novella right away on netgalley, but when i finally did commit to it, i realized how stupid i had been, and i was like YOU DUMMY, THIS IS MIRA GRANT!!!!because one of the best things about her books has always been the amount of medical detail, and how convincing, how chillingly plausible th thanks, assholes! for some reason, the synopsis for this one didn’t excite me - no zombies, no sentient tapeworms, no killer mermaids, just a faceless, familiar threat: regular old disease. i didn’t grab the novella right away on netgalley, but when i finally did commit to it, i realized how stupid i had been, and i was like YOU DUMMY, THIS IS MIRA GRANT!!!!because one of the best things about her books has always been the amount of medical detail, and how convincing, how chillingly plausible those facts have made her stories seem. so horrific, so credible. so, yeah, this is “just” about disease. it is “just” about what could happen if the anti-vaxxers keep pushing medical information into the world that is much less convincing than what supports mira grant’s “this is how we could have zombies” speculation. and in this case, “just” becomes so much more pants-shittingly terrifying than any creature-based horror tale could. because the truth is, with enough misinformed douchebags out there, we could be totally wiped out. and misinformed douchebags with the power to wipe us all out is something i have already learned to fear way more than killer mermaids.i would love to see this developed into a longer series, the way her novella Rolling in the Deep eventually led to more more more. dr. gauley is wonderfully flawed in that way very specific to mira grant, particularly her dr./mad scientist characters, and she could easily carry a series, with brooke and sandy and mark rounding out her quirky and meticulously diverse team of pals and colleagues. i’m glad i was able to read this, and i’m glad mira grant is such a powerhouse of productivity, because knowing her, if she wanted to, she could have a trilogy set in this world written in 2-3 months, tops. and it would be magnificent. *******************************************thank you, netgalley! review TK.*******************************************another $40 novella from subterranean that i am too poor to justify buying. https://subterraneanpress.com/slider-...someone buy it and read it to me over the phone!come to my blog!
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    "We never think about what our choices are going to mean for the lives of the ones we love," said Izzy. "We only think about what they're going to mean for us. If we're lucky, we're not the only ones who have to live with them.To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.... that is the question!This book started out STRONG for me. Patient zero, Lisa Morris is an eight-year-old girl on vacation with her family. She wakes up one day not feeling well, but it is the last day at the amusement park and she wants "We never think about what our choices are going to mean for the lives of the ones we love," said Izzy. "We only think about what they're going to mean for us. If we're lucky, we're not the only ones who have to live with them.To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.... that is the question!This book started out STRONG for me. Patient zero, Lisa Morris is an eight-year-old girl on vacation with her family. She wakes up one day not feeling well, but it is the last day at the amusement park and she wants to have fun, so she doesn't say anything. She's eight, she wants to have fun, who can blame her? But unfortunately, she had a virus and "the virus always spreads." Dr. Isabella Gauley is a pediatrician and Lisa's aunt. When her sister brings a very sick, Lisa to see her sister it becomes evident, that this is not your run of the mill virus- it's a deadly one. This is a short book, but the Author covers a lot in the minimal pages she has. I found after a strong beginning which had me feeling for Lisa and her family, the middle lagged a little. There are those for vaccines, those against, those trying to study the survivors of the virus, and those who lost their family members. There are some family issues going on as well in this book and I wondered what is this all for and then *BAM* that twist at the end, I did not see coming. Oh Baby! I am pretty sure there is going to be another book in this series. I'm pretty sure this is the prequel and I know that I will be reading the next book if said book does in fact come out.So why 3 stars? BTW- 3 stars means I liked it. The book began brilliantly and ended with a shocking twist. But the middle, at times, left me feeling underwhelmed. I liked some of the characters, but I did not feel for them as I did little Lisa at the beginning of the book. Having said that, I think this book(series?) is going places. Grant left me wanting more with that twist. I love when a book leaves me with my mouth hanging open. A solid read that I hope is going to result in a full-fledged novel with the continuation of this story.Thank you to Subterranean Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.Read more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    It starts with one little girl, the reappearance of a disease that should have long since been eradicated by vaccines, slowly making its way back into the world as anti-vaxxer movements rise. But this disease has a new strain, and it’s leaving wreckage in its wake—forcing infamous vaccine activist and pediatrician Isabella Gauley to choose between ethics and life. For anyone unaware, Mira Grant is Seanan McGuire’s pseudonym, and if you’ve followed my reviews any length of time, you’ll know I a It starts with one little girl, the reappearance of a disease that should have long since been eradicated by vaccines, slowly making its way back into the world as anti-vaxxer movements rise. But this disease has a new strain, and it’s leaving wreckage in its wake—forcing infamous vaccine activist and pediatrician Isabella Gauley to choose between ethics and life. For anyone unaware, Mira Grant is Seanan McGuire’s pseudonym, and if you’ve followed my reviews any length of time, you’ll know I adore Seanan McGuire and have 5-starred everything I’ve ever read by her. This was my first read of hers under the Mira moniker, though, and as I’ve heard the writing styles vary between the names, I was only hopeful that I’d love it just as much as everything else. → L I K E S : The vaccine will protect the immunized children, and the unimmunized will remain pure, untouched by the filthy manmade miracle of modern medicine. Their bodies will be lowered into their graves devoid of the imaginary poisons that have replaced smallpox and polio and measles as the bogeymen haunting a parent’s heart. Thankfully, I was not disappointed in the slightest—this novella is an excellent read that I couldn’t put down and had to read in one quick sitting because it pulled me in so quickly. As always, I loved the writing style as a whole; while I recognized some differences between it and her Seanan McGuire “voice”, I also saw a lot of similarities that had me feeling right at home from the first chapter. It didn’t really matter whether Morris’s disease was manmade or not. It was a killer either way. I also found the plot fascinating and relevant; despite the fact that it’s a sci-fi/horror crossover, it definitely struck me as the sort of thing we could see happen right here in our own world, which is a terrifying thought. I found that she did an excellent job of giving us enough medical information to really be engaging and complex, without ever beating the reader over the head with terminology or making the text dry and slow. The outbreak was beyond control long before anyone realized it was happening. Finally, the characters are enjoyable (and diverse), and while they don’t always do the right things, their motives are never hard to recognize or relate to—aside from the twist ending, which I won’t spoil for you, but I’ll say that I thought it was executed brilliantly. → D I S L I K E S : Of such small moments are disasters made. I think the only complaint I have is that there’s not quite enough of anything here. It’s a wonderful read, but it absolutely feels like it should be a prequel novella, not the full story (knowing Mira’s track record, though—looking at you, Rolling in the Deep—I’m definitely crossing my fingers for a follow-up!). → F I N A L THOUGHTS : Overall, while I wanted a little more from the story, I was pleased with Kingdom of Needle and Bone and am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this. I pre-ordered the Subterranean Press hardback months ago, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review this early, and now I am definitely pleased that I know I have one of those limited copies on its way to me later this month, because this is definitely a story I will happily revisit in the future. → RECOMMENDING TO… : I recommend this to any fans of Mira Grant’s/Seanan McGuire’s writing and anyone who enjoys character-driven sci-fi/horror crossovers that focus on medical epidemics. I do not recommend this book for anyone belonging to the anti-vaxxer movement, because… well, you will probably find yourself offended.Content warnings for child death, epidemics, murderAll quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Subterranean Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!---Buddy read with Kaleena, who unfortunately did not love this story, but who wrote a very valid and thoughtful review as well! ♥
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  • Lena
    January 1, 1970
    “That’s the thing about monsters, Angie,” said Izzy, lowering the gun. “It takes one to know one.” Oh My God Mira Grant!You gave me chills and they’re multiplying. But I’m smiling through my palpitations because this story was an outstanding medical doomsday drama with a hopeful ending.And a twist the black heart of me enjoyed! Thanks again Karen, there’s a reason I have shelf named after you!
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  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book I have read by Mira Grant although I am from familiar with her other writings under the name Seanan MaGuire. I understood that Grant’s books leaned toward horror which is not a genre that I typically read, however I was intrigued by the description of a viral epidemic and how it disrupted, first Canada, and then the greater world in several waves of massive loss of life. This is a fairly short book and I will try to avoid spoilers. The main character and her sisters suffer This is the first book I have read by Mira Grant although I am from familiar with her other writings under the name Seanan MaGuire. I understood that Grant’s books leaned toward horror which is not a genre that I typically read, however I was intrigued by the description of a viral epidemic and how it disrupted, first Canada, and then the greater world in several waves of massive loss of life. This is a fairly short book and I will try to avoid spoilers. The main character and her sisters suffer a loss in the very beginning of the story. The dynamics between the three sisters is complex and they are enmeshed both emotionally and politically. Seemingly at the center of the conflict is the question of bodily autonomy versus required vaccinations, yet a different underlying issue is foreshadowed and leads to a horrific twist at the end. I found the characters well drawn and was glad I took a chance and tried a Mira Grant story. Thank you NetGalley!
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  • Devann
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalleyI know I know, I read this one waaaaay early, but I love this author so much and also it's Sci-Fi September [at least for me] so I figured I would just go for it. This book definitely has more in common with her older works like Parasitology and Newsflesh than her newer stuff. Grant's popular books have always been categorized by their creepy but incredibly plausible medical horror and there is pretty much nothing more believable in this day and I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalleyI know I know, I read this one waaaaay early, but I love this author so much and also it's Sci-Fi September [at least for me] so I figured I would just go for it. This book definitely has more in common with her older works like Parasitology and Newsflesh than her newer stuff. Grant's popular books have always been categorized by their creepy but incredibly plausible medical horror and there is pretty much nothing more believable in this day and age than anti-vaxxers bringing about some kind of super-disease apocalypse. I really liked the overall concept of this book and also found all the characters to be incredibly real and 3-dimensional [even if most of them were not necessarily likable while making hard choices, but I think that adds to the realistic nature of the whole thing]. The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is because it did seem to me like it could have been a little bit longer. The ending came up pretty abruptly [and it took me a minute to understand some things revealed towards the end] and made the whole thing seem a bit like a prequel to a longer story. It still stands alone pretty decently, but I think that she could easily continue with another book.
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  • ☕ Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    Relevant and scary I was hooked from the start RTC.
  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    I was super excited when the blurb for this came out because I am a big Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant fan, and the subject of the book sounded right up my alley. Crazy disease that knocks out a bunch of the world? I'm in!The book started off exciting- you're immediately introduced to poor patient zero- Lisa, the niece of the protagonist of the book. However, she quickly dies before you can get too attached. The book largely felt like a prequel to the Real Book. I felt a bit detached as I was reading I was super excited when the blurb for this came out because I am a big Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant fan, and the subject of the book sounded right up my alley. Crazy disease that knocks out a bunch of the world? I'm in!The book started off exciting- you're immediately introduced to poor patient zero- Lisa, the niece of the protagonist of the book. However, she quickly dies before you can get too attached. The book largely felt like a prequel to the Real Book. I felt a bit detached as I was reading and didn't connect or wasn't made to care for the characters enough to feel fully invested in the story. The story felt cursory and not detailed/rich enough. There was a hint of an interesting backstory, but as soon as it got more intriguing, the book ended, and the backstory wasn't explored. Thank you to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for the ARC!
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  • Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    ~*Check out my blog over at The Bent Bookworm!*~I am officially blown away. This little novella was amazing in both its detail and capacity for evoking emotions. I am absolutely stunned, and as a medical professional I am HARD to impress with books of this subject matter. Usually I find myself rolling my eyes so hard they hurt when reading books with doctors or nurses as the main characters, but not so with Kingdom of Needle and Bone!While this is, technically, a science fiction/apocalyptic nove ~*Check out my blog over at The Bent Bookworm!*~I am officially blown away. This little novella was amazing in both its detail and capacity for evoking emotions. I am absolutely stunned, and as a medical professional I am HARD to impress with books of this subject matter. Usually I find myself rolling my eyes so hard they hurt when reading books with doctors or nurses as the main characters, but not so with Kingdom of Needle and Bone!While this is, technically, a science fiction/apocalyptic novel, it felt so close to what could or might happen that I found my heart pounding in my chest, my throat constricting with pain for the loss experienced by the characters. It is just close enough to the truth to be a truly uncomfortable read, and that makes it powerful. I loved Dr. Isabel, who truly cares about people and does everything in her power to help them, but who is also coldly logical to the very, very bitter end. How far is too far, to protect the ones we love? To protect the world? Somehow even in these few pages, Mira Grant manages to explore the age old question - do we act based on the greater good, or for the good of the few closest to us? Which makes us a monster?I only wish this novella had been a full length book. I was not ready to leave any of the characters behind, I wanted more of their stories. I will definitely be reading more of Mira Grant's books, as well as looking out for her other books written under the name Seanan McGuire.Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Google+
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  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    2.6This is the 7th work by this author that I’ve read and as much as I wanted to like it, I had a hard time getting into it. The biggest issue to me is that throughout much of it, the book reads more like an angry op-ed piece than a novella. The language gets very heavy-handed, preachy, and condescending to the point it sounded more like the author was just talking to me rather than that I was reading in-world dialogue. I am a bit sympathetic with that tendency given the subject matter. The anti 2.6This is the 7th work by this author that I’ve read and as much as I wanted to like it, I had a hard time getting into it. The biggest issue to me is that throughout much of it, the book reads more like an angry op-ed piece than a novella. The language gets very heavy-handed, preachy, and condescending to the point it sounded more like the author was just talking to me rather than that I was reading in-world dialogue. I am a bit sympathetic with that tendency given the subject matter. The anti-vaxxer movement is dangerous even in very small numbers and this book is just one thought experiment illustrating why that’s the case. As well, it’s a very frustrating movement to deal with given the shoddy grounds and willful ignorance it’s based on. Granted, “giving the other side a fair portrayal” is not the point of this book and I don't really expect that, especially given how hard it would be to achieve, But the way so much of this book is written, I doubt it would change any anti-vaxxer’s mind given how condescending it comes off. If that conversion’s not the point of the painstakingly drawn out explanations, I’m not sure what is. All that said, the preachiness wouldn’t be a huge deal if it were more occasional. I could get over that even if those parts were a little boring. But given the short length of the novella format, this issue also gets in the way of there even being much book left to enjoy. The plot is very brief and has few actual plot points to it. When I thought about how little actually happens in the book, I was kind of surprised it took even the short two hours it took to read. The scenes that are there are often rushed. Much of the progression is achieved through sweeping summaries. Given the brevity and scarcity of actual in-scene storytelling, the characterization is left flimsy given the little time and attention allowed each character. I had some trouble remembering who was who because the story felt like it was taking a backseat to the grandstanding. This weakened some of the points in the story that had the potential to be much more powerful.There were definitely some good aspects to this book. The plot that was there ended up being pretty cool with some nice twists that could’ve been even better if I’d had more time with the characters. Despite the preachiness, the characters, even the “good guys,” still manage to show more gray morality from time to time and some of the bigger character moments that did get screentime were pretty strong. With more subtlety and nuance, I think the themes could’ve been illustrated much better, but they are there and they are very important. I suppose one benefit of the preachiness is that the information is fairly clear and approachable. I imagine if you really are in the dark on this issue, this book could be helpful in explaining some of the big issues in this area, despite it being a work of fiction. In the end, there was still just too much that got in the way for me to enjoy this one that much. If you’re interested in a book exploring the medical horror of potential fallout from the anti-vaccination movement, you might enjoy this one. But for the most part, I’d say skip it. Mira Grant has several other books you’d probably enjoy more. After all, my biggest disappointment is that I know she can do a lot better.I was provided an advanced copy by NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own.
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  • Deborah Ross
    January 1, 1970
    Kingdom of Needle and Bone belongs in the tradition of epidemic thrillers, always a favorite of mine for their medical neepery. In this story, a measles-like a virus (“Morris’s Disease”) results in a loss of immunity to all pathogens. Besides the illness itself, with its fever, rashes, and so forth, the patient’s immune system loses the ability to “remember” being exposed to any other infection. Therefore no immunization to any disease gives protection. The mortality rate from this disease is ve Kingdom of Needle and Bone belongs in the tradition of epidemic thrillers, always a favorite of mine for their medical neepery. In this story, a measles-like a virus (“Morris’s Disease”) results in a loss of immunity to all pathogens. Besides the illness itself, with its fever, rashes, and so forth, the patient’s immune system loses the ability to “remember” being exposed to any other infection. Therefore no immunization to any disease gives protection. The mortality rate from this disease is very high, but worse yet is that the survivors are left without the ability to fight off future infections of any type. The only way they can survive is by complete quarantine, which figures prominently in the story.The story begins with journalistic descriptions of Patient Zero, her fatal illness, and the spread of the disease, which is highly contagious and easily spread by contact with inanimate objects such as door knobs. A more personal view of the unfolding catastrophe comes through the point of view of that child's aunt, Dr. Isabelle Gauley, a physician who later devises a strategy to save humankind from the epidemic. Some medical thrillers jump from one point of view to the next, showing the many different and varied experiences as characters either succumb to whatever plague has arisen or take part in finding a solution. By focusing on just one character who has a personal relationship to the first victim and who also has complicated relationships with other members of her family, Grant skillfully sets up the surprising twist at the end. Cataclysmic historical events — like the Black Plague of the 14th Century CE — affect multitudes but can be emotionally remote unless dramatized through the lives of individual characters. Grant achieves both the world-changing nature of a pandemic and the intimate journey and ultimate personal responsibility of a small set of characters.One of the most interesting aspect of this story, a biting social commentary on public issues today, is the question of personal bodily autonomy. Widespread refusal to vaccinate children lowers herd immunity to the point that communicable diseases easily spread. We see that today in unprotected populations with outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles, whooping cough, and polio. Faced with a high mortality rate from highly infectious Morris's Disease, public health authorities in Kingdom of Needle and Bone mandate immunization with rare medical exceptions. That raises the question about which principle takes precedence: the individual right of self-determination or the health and the very lives of the community, especially those who are immunocompromised and cannot be vaccinated. The central character, Dr. Gauley, argues:“There are always going to be people who insist that vaccination is a personal choice, and that if we take that choice away, we must necessarily take other choices away — that the right to refuse a vaccine is the same as the right to refuse to donate a kidney, or the right to say that no one else is allowed to use your body as a life support system without your full and knowing consent.”Following the principle of unintended consequences, pro-vaccination public health officials find themselves unwillingly allied with anti-abortion forces who see both as a violation of bodily autonomy. But where does personal liberty end and survival of the human species prevail?This thoughtful medical thriller adds a nuanced moral perspective without bashing the reader over the head with any particular viewpoint, and while engaging the reader in a fast-paced, absorbing read. The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no one bribed me to say anything about it.
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  • Kaleena ★ Reader Voracious
    January 1, 1970
    "Of such small moments are disasters made." Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. This is my first Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) read and while I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of right book, wrong reader. "Many of them would continue to leave their homes even as they began feeling unwell. The virus would spread. The virus always spreads." Lisa Morris is an 8 year "Of such small moments are disasters made." Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. This is my first Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) read and while I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of right book, wrong reader. "Many of them would continue to leave their homes even as they began feeling unwell. The virus would spread. The virus always spreads." Lisa Morris is an 8 year old girl on vacation in Florida. She is starting to feel a little sick, but it is their last day and she doesn't want to miss out on going to the amusement park for one last time. By the time she gets home to California, she's very sick and thanks to trams, rides, and airplane rides -- so are hundreds of others. Lisa's Patient Zero of the Morris Disease outbreak and the first casualty. The world is forever changed.The third person omniscient narrative style just didn't work for me here. The first 20% or so felt like a report, and even after the narrative voice kind of shifted to focus a bit on Dr. Izzy Gauley I never really connected with any of the characters. The novella is definitely plot driven, and the consequence of the narrative voice for me was that it was hard to care about the characters. A world that had been willing to reject the efficacy of vaccines suddenly found itself on the verge of being forced to live without them, and it was not prepared." I found the continual reminder of herd immunity and the issue of the anti-vaccine movement to be on the heavy handed side. Initially I was very interested in that as a starting point for this speculative fiction piece on potential outbreaks, but it was harped on so repetitively throughout the narrative that I became almost numb to it. It also seemed like an odd choice to me given the fact that the story is told in third-person omniscient: had it been a first-person narrative the repetition would have at least made a bit more sense to me (although I still would have been annoyed). Overall the narrative style of this book was not for me, but I really enjoyed the overall plot and twist at the end. In talking with Destiny, I have learned that the narrative style is the author's stylistic choice, so I definitely would recommend this novella to fans of Mira Grant.REPRESENTATION: lgbtiap+ (gay side characters), the world is effortlessly racially diverseCONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS: death, grief, loss of a loved oneMany thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication. Buddy read with DestinyBlog | Twitter | Pinterest!
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  • Gerardo Delgadillo
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.5 out of 5 stars!KINGDOM OF NEEDLE AND BONE has a very interesting premise that I find quite intriguing! I was totally immersed in this novel. However, I was worried I’d received an incomplete e-book because the progress was advancing too fast. And then, boom, the book ended when it got super interesting.I wanted more!I got the same feeling I experienced while reading THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin, where the first 100 pages I received an ARC e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.5 out of 5 stars!KINGDOM OF NEEDLE AND BONE has a very interesting premise that I find quite intriguing! I was totally immersed in this novel. However, I was worried I’d received an incomplete e-book because the progress was advancing too fast. And then, boom, the book ended when it got super interesting.I wanted more!I got the same feeling I experienced while reading THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin, where the first 100 pages are an extremely interesting introduction to what happens next. In that case, I felt a bit cheated when suddenly a chapter starts with “One hundred years later” or something like that. Again, I wanted more of those masterfully crafted first 100 pages.In the KINGDOM OF NEEDLE AND BONE case, I didn’t feel cheated–just wanted more and more and more. But maybe, this short novel is the intro to another, more lengthy one?Highly recommended! Just beware: This novel is short and the story feels rushed toward the end.More on my blog: https://gerardowrites.wordpress.com/2...
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  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsMira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire loves a good biological horror story. And you don't need to look very far afield for sci-fi inspiration these days when you look at the current news with things like measles outbreaks surging in the face of anti-vaxxer madness. Writing on a topic in which she excels- the non-selective brutality of viruses and potential for disastrous mistakes with genetic engineering- McGuire envisions a world in which herd immunity to measles has broken down because there 4.5 StarsMira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire loves a good biological horror story. And you don't need to look very far afield for sci-fi inspiration these days when you look at the current news with things like measles outbreaks surging in the face of anti-vaxxer madness. Writing on a topic in which she excels- the non-selective brutality of viruses and potential for disastrous mistakes with genetic engineering- McGuire envisions a world in which herd immunity to measles has broken down because there is no longer a protective veil of a substantial vaccinated population. It is a world which the death toll from a new strain of a virus similar to measles dwarfs that of the Spanish Flu of 1918. But what if such a virus also damaged your immune system's ability to form new immune reactions to other diseases? From a scientific standpoint it's not too far a stretch, and from a social/public health standpoint, you're talking about the potential to wipe out wide swaths of the earth's population. Isolating the uninfected seems likely to be the only way to secure the species' future.While this book, to some extent, covers conceptual terrain that McGuire/Grant has previously covered in her Newsflesh series, Kingdom of Needle and Bone makes a marked departure from her previous works in terms of it's overtly political stance and its crystal clear thoughts on things like social welfare (greater common good) and reproductive choice. Longtime readers of McGuire will not be particularly surprised. This is a very important topic, swathed in the velvet of fiction. It's a bold stance in that many in the sciences will applaud.I'll be discussing this book on the blog with Alex and Janelle. KIngdom of Needle and Bone releases on Monday, December 31st.
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    This book is terrifying because it's actually a possibility, and it made me so angry! Get vaccinated!!! It's a fast read and one you won't soon forget. Thank you NetGalley and publisher for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
  • Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Subterranean Press. Trigger warnings: severe illness, death, child death.Lisa Morris is patient zero for a deadly new strain of measles that vaccines can’t hold out against. Not only does it cause waves of death all over the world, it cripples the immune systems of those who survive, rendering vaccines for measles and other long-conquered diseases such as mumps and whooping cough ineffective. In a last ditch effort to save humanity I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Subterranean Press. Trigger warnings: severe illness, death, child death.Lisa Morris is patient zero for a deadly new strain of measles that vaccines can’t hold out against. Not only does it cause waves of death all over the world, it cripples the immune systems of those who survive, rendering vaccines for measles and other long-conquered diseases such as mumps and whooping cough ineffective. In a last ditch effort to save humanity, Lisa’s aunt, Dr. Isabella Gauley, tries to quarantine healthy survivors on an island funded by wealthy donors, but it won’t erase her guilt.I’ll follow Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire just about anywhere she wants to take me in her fiction, but Kingdom of Needle & Bone isn’t one of her best. Horror has a long-standing role in providing political and social commentary, but there comes a point where the agenda overwhelms the storytelling. This novel is almost all agenda in a pro-vaccine crusade, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I’d like to give a copy to every anti-vaccine parent out there who puts the rest of the world at risk with their poorly researched choices. (Don’t @ me until you’ve read this book.) However, the novel isn’t strong on plot or character, and I know Grant is skilled enough to send a message while still telling a good story (see the Newsflesh trilogy for more). That just isn’t the case here.The characters are surprisingly flat for a Grant novel, as she manages to flesh out characters in far fewer pages in the Wayward Children novellas. The main character, Dr. Gauley, is more or less a cardboard cutout of a doctor who’s willing to be ruthless if it means saving lives. There are some interesting dynamics with her two sisters, one who lost a daughter and the other who never met a cause for activism she couldn’t drive into the ground, but the relationships don’t get enough page time to feel complex. The scant details of the minor characters have already faded, but the characters aren’t the point of the novel. They’re vehicles to deliver the message and little more. The plot is more straightforward than I was expecting, and rather than follow the characters closely through the setup of the island quarantine, it’s streamlined quite a bit to get to its point. There’s a lot more exposition than action. The end has a plot twist, but in order to be truly shocking, we need a better understanding of the characters and what they might plausibly do under extreme circumstances, so it’s a lukewarm surprise at best.The novel is strong in a few areas. While the scientific explanations can be a little overwhelming, it’s mainly because it doesn’t have the plot/character to balance them out. In a longer, more-developed novel, I think they would have been fine. Grant’s science is always well-researched, accessible to the novice, and terrifyingly plausible; I’m now frightened by what I know about “herd immunity.” The debate over whether vaccines should be mandatory or an issue of bodily autonomy are well-described, though the novel makes no pretense about being unbiased. If you’re looking for a short, gruesome, and scarily accurate fable about why vaccines are a necessary evil, look no further.I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Humans can be many things. Saviors. Sinners. Hunters. Hunted. Monsters, or the divine. We are given ample opportunity to show our true colors during our lifetimes. Often our true colors are somewhere in the grey area as no one is any one thing. We are a collection of moments. Most writers often overlook the many faces of human nature. But great writers give a plurality to their characters. It may not be easy to understand who is good and evil without thinking about it, but isn't that real life? Humans can be many things. Saviors. Sinners. Hunters. Hunted. Monsters, or the divine. We are given ample opportunity to show our true colors during our lifetimes. Often our true colors are somewhere in the grey area as no one is any one thing. We are a collection of moments. Most writers often overlook the many faces of human nature. But great writers give a plurality to their characters. It may not be easy to understand who is good and evil without thinking about it, but isn't that real life? Mira Grant aka Seanan Mcguire is one of those great writers that celebrate the pluralism of morality in her characters, and this novella is an excellent example of this. Dr. Izzy Gauley, the protagonist, is as morally gray as any character could be. She is distraught and caught in the guilt of her previous choices, and she must continually make ethically ambiguous decisions to further what she believes is the truly right thing. Those choices may or may not bring the entire proverbial glass house on top of herself. Much of the plot hinges on whether her choices in this story are wicked and self-serving or genuinely in the best interest of all are up to the reader. She is a good character. But, this is not surprising as Mira Grant tends to write real people. Plot-wise, Grant has written a novella that is terrifying to a parent. What happens when herd immunity fails? The whole premise is based on a parent's worst nightmare, losing their children. Even worse is that it is through the parents own actions that global calamity happens. Although the delivery of the message regarding immunizations and the importance thereof is a bit ham-fisted at times, her point comes across. Vaccinations are essential and the backbone of a healthy society. What I liked about the plot is that it developed from, "How important immunizations are," to a discussion on bodily autonomy. Do we sacrifice bodily freedom for the sake of a healthy society? This argument is a very real and prescient argument that could play out in the courts in the next upcoming years.I hope to see this turn into a full-fledged series. There is enough meat on the bones of this novella to expand the characters and plot into a great story very much in the vein of the "Newsflesh" series. I am so glad the Mira Grant is such a prolific author. I enjoy her work often and repeatedly. She is one of the few authors that seem to be just as good on a reread as it was initially. I can't tell you how many times I have read Newsflesh and October Daye. If you have an opportunity to check out this novella, I dearly hope you do. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley.Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) is one of those authors whose work I will always read, regardless of topic. "Kingdom of Needle and Bone" is another solid horror novella, one that I actually found far more disturbing then "Rolling in the Deep" since this one feels eerily plausible. "Kingdom" starts out with the outbreak of a new and deadly form of measles, one that spreads all the more quickly due to the growing rate of unvaccinated people. The first confirmed vic Electronic ARC provided by NetGalley.Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) is one of those authors whose work I will always read, regardless of topic. "Kingdom of Needle and Bone" is another solid horror novella, one that I actually found far more disturbing then "Rolling in the Deep" since this one feels eerily plausible. "Kingdom" starts out with the outbreak of a new and deadly form of measles, one that spreads all the more quickly due to the growing rate of unvaccinated people. The first confirmed victim is the eight year old niece of our protagonist, Dr. Isabella Gauley. What Dr. Gauley does in her efforts to save as many as possible, and her reasons for doing it, inform the rest of the story. I actually had a tough time making it through this book. Not because there's anything wrong with the writing or story, but because the descriptions of dead and dying children were hard to deal with (this is a problem that has popped up more and more since my son was born. Amazing how much worse things like this read when your brain has a face to put on everything). Parents of young children might want to be prepared for this before reading. "Kingdom of Needle and Bone" presents a good story, but there are some details that feel a bit thin and glossed over, mostly due to the length of the book. I wouldn't be surprised if readers clamor for a sequel once this is out. This is another good horror novella from Mira Grant, just be aware if you think you might be bothered reading about the scarily plausible pandemic.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    A chilling and very necessary novella speculating about the possible repercussions of the incredibly dangerous anti-vaxxing movement. We get a pretty significant bomb dropped at the end of the book which had me super excited, only to feel almost immediately let down when the book came to an abrupt ending almost immediately afterward without a satisfactory explanation of the aforementioned bombshell. Otherwise, no complaints. *I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest A chilling and very necessary novella speculating about the possible repercussions of the incredibly dangerous anti-vaxxing movement. We get a pretty significant bomb dropped at the end of the book which had me super excited, only to feel almost immediately let down when the book came to an abrupt ending almost immediately afterward without a satisfactory explanation of the aforementioned bombshell. Otherwise, no complaints. *I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Alysa H.
    January 1, 1970
    A chilling indictment of the antivax movement, built on a fairly realistic sci-fi tale of what could happen if antivaxxers are allowed to continue their ignorant proselytizing. The writing is impactful, and the length is just about right for the story being told, although the ending feels rushed and a few extra pages of character work would have helped give a better understanding of certain characters' actions and motivations. 4.5 stars, rounding up. It's a great novella.** I received a Review C A chilling indictment of the antivax movement, built on a fairly realistic sci-fi tale of what could happen if antivaxxers are allowed to continue their ignorant proselytizing. The writing is impactful, and the length is just about right for the story being told, although the ending feels rushed and a few extra pages of character work would have helped give a better understanding of certain characters' actions and motivations. 4.5 stars, rounding up. It's a great novella.** I received a Review Copy of this book via NetGalley **
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come upon release
  • Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
    January 1, 1970
    This horror novella doesn’t rely on zombies, killer mermaids, or final girls. Instead, Mira Grant looks at the rise of the anti-vaxxer movement and what happens when herd immunity is compromised.The story starts with patient zero: Lisa Morris, an eight-year-old girl who begins to feel sick at Disney world. Less than a week later, she is dead, and the virus that killed her spreads quickly, decimating the world’s children. And it gets worse: all those who were infected now have compromised immune This horror novella doesn’t rely on zombies, killer mermaids, or final girls. Instead, Mira Grant looks at the rise of the anti-vaxxer movement and what happens when herd immunity is compromised.The story starts with patient zero: Lisa Morris, an eight-year-old girl who begins to feel sick at Disney world. Less than a week later, she is dead, and the virus that killed her spreads quickly, decimating the world’s children. And it gets worse: all those who were infected now have compromised immune systems, basically rendering herd immunity impossible and opening the way for ever more devastating surges of disease.Kingdom of Needle and Bone is one of those science fiction stories that has a wonderful concept but falters when it comes to the actual narrative elements of plot and characters. The story just happens so fast with little time to really dig into the characterization. This novella is all about the ideas and it reads like an extended, “what if?” speculation. It’s some great speculation (and don’t you just hate the anti-vaxxer movement?), but there was a great, personal story with the protagonist, but it ended up buried, making the ending twist less impactful than it otherwise could have been. Also, to be honest, I’ve seen that ending twist five million times before so it didn’t exactly feel new.The thematic material was interesting too, as Kingdom of Needle and Bone explores the idea of vaccination, especially how vaccination isn’t just about you. Whether or not you vaccinate yourself or your children has larger impacts beyond your family, especially for those who immune compromised and need herd immunity to survive.So in sum: Kingdom of Needle and Bone is chockful of interesting ideas, but it would have benefited from more space to let those ideas develop and give the characters room to shine. This concept may have worked better as a novel or series than a single novella.I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.Review from The Illustrated Page.
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  • Lauren loves llamas
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, but I cannot resist a Mira Grant novel. For those not in the know, Mira Grant is one of Seanan McGuire’s pen names, and I’m a ridiculous superfan of hers. The only other Mira Grant I’d read was her killer mermaids book, Into the Drowning Deep, which I absolutely adored, so even if the blurb didn’t initially sound like something in my wheelhouse, I was eager to read it. Oh boy, I was not disappointed!“A world that had been willing to reject the efficacy of v I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, but I cannot resist a Mira Grant novel. For those not in the know, Mira Grant is one of Seanan McGuire’s pen names, and I’m a ridiculous superfan of hers. The only other Mira Grant I’d read was her killer mermaids book, Into the Drowning Deep, which I absolutely adored, so even if the blurb didn’t initially sound like something in my wheelhouse, I was eager to read it. Oh boy, I was not disappointed!“A world that had been willing to reject the efficacy of vaccines suddenly found itself on the verge of being forced to live without them, and it was not prepared.”Morris’ disease – named after the first known patient, Lisa Morris – has swept across the world, killing millions and leaving the survivors searching for answers. Though most agree that the disease was too well-engineered to be anything other than a human creation, no group ever took credit for it, and most of the public blame falls on anti-vaxxers for weakening the herd immunity and allowing the pandemic to take hold and spread. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, the disease has had both personal and professional ramifications, as Lisa was her niece and Izzy is one of the few remaining pediatricians, whose offices are protested at like today’s abortion clinics. When shocking new ramifications of the disease are discovered, Izzy makes choices that both connect and separate her from her surviving sisters, Angela and Brooke.“A single person could transform everything. She had started off doing everything she did for Lisa’s sake, and now, with Lisa gone, she was still doing it all for the little girl who had loved her, and trusted her, and died under her care.”For me, this is a story about three sisters – Izzy, Angela, and Brooke – bound together by the death of their niece and daughter, Lisa. Izzy focuses on being a doctor and trying to convince parents to vaccinate their (remaining) kids. Brooke mourns her daughter in her own quiet way. Angela, on the other hand, is drawn to vaccination activism, inciting the groups protesting outside Izzy’s office and always eager to provide another soundbite for the media. While they’re each mourning Lisa, they do it in their own ways, often setting them at odds with each other.“We have quarantine. Quarantine says that the government can impede your ordinary movement if you present a danger to others. Vaccination should be treated as something on the same level. You get vaccinated, not because you want to protect yourself, but because you want to be a part of society, and being a part of society means protecting everyone around you.”The novella itself is quite addictive, and I devoured it in one sitting. Ms. Grant is excellent at creating a sense of unease that permeates the book, even when the main characters are – should be – happy and hopeful, the sort of readerly equivalent of the feeling that there’s something hiding in the dark at the edges of your vision. Her characters, too, leap off the page, including the main character, Dr. Isabella Gauley, who could’ve easily fallen into the typical mad scientist stereotype but instead has so much more depth. I thought Ms. Grant did a great job also of giving enough medical background to make it chillingly realistic but not so much as to bog down the story. The thought of some sort of superbug wiping out millions of people is, unfortunately, too realistic. Unfortunately, it also turned into a bit of a screed about mandatory vaccination and bodily autonomy, and the whole anti-vax movement. While I felt this was warranted, especially as we’re coming at it from the point of someone who’s failed to save so many children, it was a bit too much, and also the reason why I only rated this four stars instead of five.“I’m really hoping that your desire to do good is going to outweigh your desire to follow the rules. So what do you say? Will the two of you run away from home with me, so that we can try to save the world?”There’s a nice twist at the end of the novella that definitely put a new spin on the actions of certain characters throughout the book. Who are the monsters? Is it the uncaring disease itself, the anti-vax crowd that lessened the herd immunity, the radical groups that have linked mandatory vaccinations with anti-abortion rhetoric, the parents who love their children enough to sacrifice them in order to save them? And in trying to fight these monsters, how far do we go before we become monsters ourselves?While I very much hope that Ms. Grant chooses to treat this as the beginning of a series, I also feel that it’s pretty well wrapped up in and of itself. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a quick and engrossing sci-fi horror read!I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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  • Liz (Quirky Cat)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Kingdom of Needle and Bone through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Kingdom of Needle and Bone is Mira Grant’s (AKA Seanan McGuire) latest novella, and it is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, I was about eighty percent of the way through this novella when I realized I have compulsively sanitized my hands more than six times while reading. Unlike Mira Grant’s other works, this novella is entirely human. There are no mythical creatures swimming throu I received a copy of Kingdom of Needle and Bone through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Kingdom of Needle and Bone is Mira Grant’s (AKA Seanan McGuire) latest novella, and it is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, I was about eighty percent of the way through this novella when I realized I have compulsively sanitized my hands more than six times while reading. Unlike Mira Grant’s other works, this novella is entirely human. There are no mythical creatures swimming through the ocean terrorizing the characters, there’s no zombies munching on anybody. This is all about humans, diseases, and how we handle a crisis. While I would have read this novella regardless, because of the author, I would like to think that the cover would have caught my attention and made me tempted to read it. The cover itself is quite beautiful, but also does a fantastic job portraying the subject inside. Before I begin my review, I just want to make a quick note. While I’m sure you’ll be able to grab a digital copy of this novella at any time, I know that the print run for it is rather limited (I think it’s around one thousand copies – which isn’t much when you think about it). So if you want a copy you should grab it from Subterranean Press while you can. (view spoiler)[ Warnings first: Kingdom of Needle and Bone covers a lot of heavy subjects, specifically those revolving around disease and outbreaks. If you’re prone to being freaked out while talking or thinking about sick people, this may not be a good call for you. Also, Mira Grant did a wonderful job of bringing the tragedy of it all down to a human level, but that also makes you that much more aware of the people affected, including children. Kingdom of Needle and Bone is one of the heavier novellas I’ve read this month, and I don’t have any regrets about that. I read it all in one sitting, and part of me even wished that there was more to it when it was all over. I would love to see a novel or two set in this world. Morris’s disease isn’t a real disease, but it sure felt like it while I was reading. The disease is based off of real-life Measles, but with even more dreadful results. I love that Mira Grant had them name the disease after the first known victim – that made it all feel so much more real. I feel like that is something that would have been done in real life. The thought of it all sent chills down my spine. Mira Grant did a brilliant job of blending science and science fiction here. While there were leaps made here, they were all done in disturbingly believable ways. The reason a disease like Morris’s could take hold to begin with, the hidden side effects of a disease like that, the following outbreaks, and the panic. It all made sense, and that’s the most disturbing part. It would have been a lot easier to digest if we could just brush it off as ‘typical science fiction’ but the truth of the matter is that we can’t. There was absolutely a political statement being made in this novella, and I applaud Mira Grant for doing so. That may be my bias showing, since I wholeheartedly agree with the points that were being made here. More than that though, Mira Grant explored the complexities of the political side of this sort of situation. How something that seems so simple can get all twisted up and torn apart, thanks in part to human nature and politics. This was a chilling read, through and through. I loved every moment of it, from the parts that really did hit me quite hard, to the parts that made me stop and think about the logistics of everything. It was all brilliantly written. I know it’s early to talk of it, but I can’t wait to see what her next novel or novella will be about. (hide spoiler)]For more reviews, check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
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  • BOOKISHPISCES
    January 1, 1970
    "I'm sorry, Dr. Gauley. But the ruling of the United States Commission for resolution of Morris's Disease is no."─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───Synopsis:When young Lisa Morris begins to feel ill during a family vacation her parents chalked it up to her just being under the weather. When her father began to feel ill he chalked it up to jet lag. When everyone that came into contact with Lisa began dying her aunt, a well versed pediatrician, knew that there was something more sinister at hand.─── ・ 。゚☆: "I'm sorry, Dr. Gauley. But the ruling of the United States Commission for resolution of Morris's Disease is no."
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
Synopsis:
When young Lisa Morris begins to feel ill during a family vacation her parents chalked it up to her just being under the weather. When her father began to feel ill he chalked it up to jet lag. When everyone that came into contact with Lisa began dying her aunt, a well versed pediatrician, knew that there was something more sinister at hand.
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
When her whole world is turned upside down by a disease that kills just as quickly as it spreads Dr. Isabelle Gauley takes the weight of the world on her shoulders to save what semblance of health the remaining population has left. Wrought with grief and over worked after the introduction of Morris's Disease, Dr. Gauley races against time and political unrest to find a cure. This story will spark intense internal debate as it unfolds when autonomy and the survival of the human race is threatened in this fast paced dystopian novella. Goodreads synopsis here.
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
This DRC was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. This in no way sways my opinion of the novella.
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
My thoughts:
This was a book I requested off a whim because I was intrigued by the cover and then the synopsis grabbed me. It's about 130 pages and I finished it in a couple of hours overall, the formatting of this on my e-reader wasn't the best but it didn't hinder the story for me personally. I hadn't ever read a story with the premise of a plague wiping out a massive percentage of the population so expect macabre vibes throughout this novel. The author kept the key characters to a minimum which made it easy to follow what was going on, I believe the story progressed as it should have and there were no lulls in the plot. I pretty much devoured this guys. There wasn't an overwhelming amount of science so for anyone who's worried about not being able to understand don't worry! I was really pleased with the last couple of chapters because I thought the story was wrapping up and then the author threw in one last plot twist to leave my heart racing. The only reason this wasn't a 5-Star read was because of the formatting issues which are important when it comes to the overall cohesiveness of the story. This shouldn't be a problem with the hardback that will be published in December!
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
Characters:
Isabelle Gauley: This story is told from her POV and you can really see her progression from hopelessness to "I'm just gonna get this done by myself" She is a very strong lead and is meticulous in her planning and execution of her ideas. You can tell that she's weary but she's never been used to not trying to save people so she just can't stop. She has two sisters Brooke who adopted Lisa, and Angela who opposes literally everything she stands for. In the end you're gonna be pretty amazed at what she does because I was sitting there after the novel like "This is one bad ass woman".
Mark & Sandy: These were Isabelle's colleagues who are with her until the end. Surprisingly the author provided enough character building with these two that I found myself loving them which is impressive considering how short this story was. I'm very happy with these two as characters and the roles that they play within the plot.
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
Wrap-up:
If you're a fan of dystopian sci-fi and some politics thrown in there or even a fan of the game Pandemic I would recommend this book to you wholeheartedly. I will be reading Mira Grant's other works whenever I can. I rated this novel 4.9/5 🌟─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
"If there is any mercy in this story, it is that she did not suffer when she reached the end. She was no longer there to understand what suffering was"
─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───
Until next time! ✨www.bookishpisces.wordpress.com
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE Mira Grant (AND Seanan McGuire) and find her productivity astonishing - not just for sheer volume, which is impressive and entails multiple series from different author voices concurrently, but also for the consistently solid and varied quality of her titles. This woman publishes half a dozen books a year, minimum, under her various writing personas, and nearly each one hits it out of the park... I just love her writing style - no matter what name/intensity level she is writing under, the I LOVE Mira Grant (AND Seanan McGuire) and find her productivity astonishing - not just for sheer volume, which is impressive and entails multiple series from different author voices concurrently, but also for the consistently solid and varied quality of her titles. This woman publishes half a dozen books a year, minimum, under her various writing personas, and nearly each one hits it out of the park... I just love her writing style - no matter what name/intensity level she is writing under, the stories and characters are always complex, well thought out, and utterly original. This latest is no exception...It's a post-apocalyptic tale of a slightly different kind in that the world is not yet destroyed, but hovering on the verge of being so. And the apocalypse is, once again, of our own making. This time the issue is immunity - specifically herd immunity, and how it is being decimated by anti-vaccination fanatics. In a tale both timely and timeless, Grant uses her singular gift to present an entirely plausible and horrifyingly real vision of the world we may well find ourselves in if we continue to allow non-science (no coincidence that sounds so similar to "nonsense" in my mind) to chip away at the worldwide protection that vaccines provide all of us.The characters are flawed and fraught with quirks and foibles, as is typical for Grant/McGuire. As with all of Grant's heroines, there's a dark side to protecting the people you love - I get that and love the way it renders her characters so human (even when they're not). The plot is fast-paced and full of windy, twisty intersections that keep you furiously flipping pages until the bitter end. I found the ending a little oblique - and I'm still not sure if that's a compliment or complaint. Things came to a head and then the book ended in a "resolution" that didn't exactly, really, totally resolve or explain anything but left lingering, niggling doubts and questions in my head in a way that I'm still sorting through. Maybe that's the point - and if so, brava. Even if it's not, it made me think beyond the end of the book, and that's a success in itself. There's potential for more here, and I for one would be delighted to see it. The future is highly uncertain in Dr. Izzy's world and there are myriad opportunities to take that uncertainty and expand upon it as well as nudge it in new, tangential, directions. But the book also reads as a full and complete story, and I enjoyed it for that as well. Given Grant's productivity, and proclivity, I wouldn't be surprised if we were able to revisit the post-Morris's Disease world - and hopefully learn a few more valuable lessons whilst there...
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  • Rine Karr
    January 1, 1970
    (I received an advanced reader copy of Kingdom of Needle and Bone from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; thus, keep in mind, this review is based on an unpolished copy.)I recently finished Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire's Into the Drowning Deep and loved it. Killer mermaids, LGBTQ+ representation, disability representation, STEM representation, women scientists—what more could a reader want?! So when I saw this novella on Netgalley, I knew I had to read it.I never knew horror fiction was (I received an advanced reader copy of Kingdom of Needle and Bone from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; thus, keep in mind, this review is based on an unpolished copy.)I recently finished Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire's Into the Drowning Deep and loved it. Killer mermaids, LGBTQ+ representation, disability representation, STEM representation, women scientists—what more could a reader want?! So when I saw this novella on Netgalley, I knew I had to read it.I never knew horror fiction was something I could enjoy until I started reading Grant/McGuire. Now I'm hooked. Kingdom of Needle and Bone couldn't have been released at a more appropriate time too. With the number of children not being vaccinated by their parents/doctors, and the number of children (and immunocompromised adults) coming down with preventable diseases because of this (diseases like that polio-like illness—acute flaccid myelitis [AFM]—that the news and the CDC have been discussing every day lately), a story such as Kingdom of Needle and Bone is all too real.Like Into the Drowning Deep, everything about the science in Kingdom of Needle and Bone is based in reality. Grant has clearly done her research. I know this is fiction, but if you're an anti-vaxxer, you should read this book. Sometimes, fictional stories are needed to change people's minds; sometimes fiction can help snap someone back to reality.I think my only complaint about this novella is the length. I want more! It is a novella, of course, but I want a series of novellas. I want a full-length novel that takes place in the future, after the events of this novella, or perhaps even before.Then again, this novella was almost enough, given that the story isn't really about a catastrophic disease; it's really about the Morris sisters and their relationship.Other reviewer's mentioned being shocked by the twist at the end, but I sort of had it mostly pegged-down from the beginning. It is alluded to, a little bit, early on, and it was so much more juicy than the twist in Into the Drowning Deep, given that it related more to human nature than something in nature itself.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    (I received an ebook copy of this novella from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)"Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.How wrong we could be."Exactly how wrong we can be - as a species, collectively and individually - is at the heart of this medical horror novella by Mira Grant. I'm new to both medical horror and Mira Grant's work, but after this one, I think I'm hooked on both.The (I received an ebook copy of this novella from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)"Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.How wrong we could be."Exactly how wrong we can be - as a species, collectively and individually - is at the heart of this medical horror novella by Mira Grant. I'm new to both medical horror and Mira Grant's work, but after this one, I think I'm hooked on both.The story follows the aftermath of Morris' disease, a mutated form of measles with a higher-than-usual fatality rate and devastating consequences for the survivors. Dr. Isabella Gauley, a pediatrician whose niece is the unfortunate patient zero, faces ethical and legal quandaries left and right as she tries to continue her work in the aftermath. Whether she successfully threads the needle of wrong, right, and human is up to the perspective of the reader.I spent a lot of time as a kid reading and re-reading Michael Crichton novels, so when I say this story reminded me of Crichton at his best (with a heaping helping of additional emotional nuance), it is a high compliment. Grant has the same knack for building tension through prose that seems, on the micro level, nothing more than a dry recitation of facts - the number of kids on Lisa's bus, how many times she sneezed while riding it, etc. Individually, the facts mean little, but the macro picture they develop is horrifying. The science is grounded and plausible, even if I did have to Google to convince myself that measles really does give your immune system a kind of amnesia (it does, it's terrifying, please keep up with your vaccines).The pacing felt a little off, to me, but as an inexperienced horror reader, I'm not sure how much of that is my unfamiliarity with the conventions of the genre. The character development is not as full as I would generally like, but it's a novella and space is limited. The development that is present is efficient and varied enough to satisfy me.All told, I would recommend this novella to anyone curious about Mira Grant, medical horror, or just what the anti-vax movement might earn us in the near future.(Are your vaccines up to date? Are you sure?)Rating: 4.5/5
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  • Allan Dyen-Shapiro
    January 1, 1970
    This book had a political agenda, and that's fine with me. The antivaccine movement compromises herd immunity and results in the development of a new strain of measles that compromises all immunity. What I liked most about the book: interesting scenarios I hadn't seen explored elsewhere. The idea of a group that favors mandatory vaccination partnering with anti-abortion groups because laws on body autonomy need to be repealed--that was interesting. I liked the idea of the three sisters, survivor This book had a political agenda, and that's fine with me. The antivaccine movement compromises herd immunity and results in the development of a new strain of measles that compromises all immunity. What I liked most about the book: interesting scenarios I hadn't seen explored elsewhere. The idea of a group that favors mandatory vaccination partnering with anti-abortion groups because laws on body autonomy need to be repealed--that was interesting. I liked the idea of the three sisters, survivors, each with a central role to play in the novel. And Lear's kids had nothing on these women as far as conflict between siblings goes. And the hard SF aspects--quite plausible. Many details omitted, but that was fine, my mind could fill in multiple possible scenarios. Okay, I'm a Ph.D. biochemist, so implausible scenarios irk me more than they would irk most, but she did quite a good job with the science in my opinion. What I didn't like: it was obviously the first in a series, and thus the ending didn't satisfy. It wasn't really a standalone ending. And the last part came out of nowhere--I absolutely didn't see it foreshadowed. In a novel of triple the length, it would have come at a perfect place to be explored through flashback. As a conclusion, it jarred. Overall, I enjoyed it. Well worth the read.
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  • Lou Jacobs
    January 1, 1970
    A harrowing glimpse into the possible world of consequences of expansion of the anti-vaccination movement that plagues are society. The memory and consequences of the multiple childhood diseases has faded from our collective mind. The end result will be loss of herd immunity in our society. This tale starts with the feverish child LisaMorris not wanting to miss her last day for a chance to ride the roller coaster. Events quickly spiral out of control as she unknowingly infects hundreds of unsusp A harrowing glimpse into the possible world of consequences of expansion of the anti-vaccination movement that plagues are society. The memory and consequences of the multiple childhood diseases has faded from our collective mind. The end result will be loss of herd immunity in our society. This tale starts with the feverish child LisaMorris not wanting to miss her last day for a chance to ride the roller coaster. Events quickly spiral out of control as she unknowingly infects hundreds of unsuspecting adults and children with her virus particles. Without herd immunity being strong enough an epidemic ravages the US and then the world ... giving rise to the Morris Disease ... an apparent mutation from the common childhood disease measles. Unfortunately the disease also renders the individual virtually immunosuppressed. The fate and success of future generations is left in the hands of Lisa's aunt, Dr Isabella Gauley ... noted pediatrician and previous virology researcher.Thanks to Netgalley and SubTerranean Press for providing this wonderful novella in exchange for an honest review. @SubPress
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