Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 5. Chapters have titles

Other Possible Prompts: 23. An author with an X, Y, or Z in their name, 36. Recommended by a favorite author

Not a lot of prompts for this one! I want to be able to fill it in somewhere but none of these feel too good as a fit. I may end up moving this around later on.

I picked up Survivor Song last summer and finally got around to reading it this year. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t wow me. Let’s jump in!

A unique and very powerful, fast-moving strain of rabies has hit New England. People are quarantined to their homes until they can vaccinate enough animals to reduce the threat. Meanwhile, people getting bit are reacting within hours, becoming feverish, delusional, and very, very violent.

After nine-months pregnant Natalie is bitten by a crazed man who kills her husband, she meets up with her best friend, Rams – a pediatrician in the area who was about to be called in for her shift at the now overrun hospital. Time is running out for Natalie to receive the rabies vaccine to slow the spread – but what’s worse is that they cannot guarantee it will work. Navigating a world fraught with misinformation and government neglect, the two race to get Natalie to a working hospital to deliver her child before infection digs in its teeth.

First things first, this book is not for the faint of heart. Like, at all. There are some scenes so brutal and gory, I was gagging just reading them. I feel like it has to be, given the situation, but it can be really hard to read if you don’t like that stuff or can’t stomach it (which is me, most of the time).

It’s in these moments, though, of extreme gore or pain or anxiety, that I can see why Tremblay is a revered horror writer. He is quite good. The scenes he depicts are well written and most certainly horrifying….I just don’t know as if the apocalyptic stage is for him. I am curious to read some of his other, more paranormal/ghosty novels now. I might pick up one or two just for comparison’s sake.

This book is also quite difficult to read post-COVID quarantine, if that affected you mentally (which I think it has to all of us, in one form or another). You may think you’d be okay to read this, but there are some stark connections to humanity that don’t paint either situation in a pretty light – and it can be very hard to read without getting upset. Especially given its release time, and the dates that they used, I think it’s fairly obvious COVID was always meant to be the inspiration, but some of the similarities are jarring. People’s response to misinformation was especially nerve-wracking.

I found Natalie’s character to be quite annoying, which made me feel bad in the end, because she’s obviously going to be a quite different person in such a stressful situation. Rams handles it better, but Rams is also in a position to handle it better. I’d be freaking out if I were Natalie too…but her freaking out is pretty darn annoying sometimes.

I think this one just didn’t ~wow~ me. It’s pretty hard to wow me as of late. This is a good story but it just didn’t have me like “better recommend this to someone, stat”. Nah. Like I said though I think Tremblay spins a good yarn, maybe this just isn’t his wheelhouse. I think this one primarily became so popular because of COVID and the parallels between the two.

Have an awesome week, friends.


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