Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Review: THE WORLD GIVES WAY by Marissa Levien

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Myrra lives on a spaceship the size of Switzerland, one that’s been shooting through space for over a hundred years. The entire world she knows—the only world her parents and grandparents knew—is this spaceship. And it’s failing.

The World Gives Way is a debut sci-fi dystopian novel, and it’s exactly what I needed right now. I love dystopian stories and I’ve been trying to get more into science fiction, plus with the secretive elements and dramatic irony, this book was right up my alley.

Myrra is an indentured contract worker, has been since she was five, working for the highest bidder. She was most recently working for the Carlyles when she found out the world she lives on is cracked and failing, and there’s no way to fix it. Humanity has only two months left until everything ends. When the Carlyles end up dead, Myrra takes on the responsibility of caring for their now-orphaned daughter, Charlotte. She takes Charlotte and sets out on a journey, which is the bulk of this novel. 

We have another POV, that of Tobias, an employee at the New London Security Bureau. He’s assigned to solve the mystery around a case involving a wealthy government official and his wife found dead, their daughter missing, and their servant on the run after stealing some of the couple’s items. Sound like anyone we know?

I loved the juxtaposition of switching between chapters from the woman on the run and chapters from the man who’s looking for her. This made for lots of good moments when I as the reader knew more than the characters and was excited to see how the story would play out. 

This is a light sci-fi, one that I would recommend for beginners to science fiction. For much of the story, you actually forget it’s science fiction because the story doesn’t focus on that. The spaceship is set up like earth, with simulated seasons and weather and sky patterns. There are mountains and seas and beaches and caves and various cities with a train system that connects them all. It feels like earth for the most part, but then little details pop up here and there to remind the reader that the story doesn’t actually take place on earth. I really liked that because while I do love science fiction, I really struggle to read space-based science fiction, and this didn’t feel like it took place in space at all. 

There’s also the dystopian aspect that earth is no longer habitable so the human population is on its way to a new planet to live, one that will take hundreds of years to get to. We don’t get much detail on what caused the people to emigrate from earth, which is something I would have liked to learn, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much. There is also not much detail about the logistics of a spaceship that big being built and how that all came to be, but we do get to see some of the behind-the-scenes workings of the ship, and I did enjoy that part. 

The World Gives Way was unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved it; I loved the setting and the journey and the characters and the non-traditional but inevitable ending. This book is about finding hope in hopeless situations and making the best of it. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in sci-fi or dystopian novels. Marissa Levien wrote a wonderful story and I know I’ll be watching out for other books from her in the future. The audiobook narrator also performed splendidly and really made the story come to life for me. 

I received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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