Welcome to my stop in the This Fragile Earth book tour! Thank you so much to RandomThingsTours for including me in this tour, and the publisher Gollancz for my review copy. This in no way affects my opinion.
Title: This Fragile Earth
Author: Susannah Wise
Release Date: 24th June 2021
What would you do to protect your family if the world stopped working?
Not long from now, in a recognisable yet changed London, Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. They’ve only really stayed together for the sake of their six year old son, Jed. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working. Unable to use their phones, pay for anything, even open the smart door to their flat, Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world.
But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe.
A shocking incident sends Signy and Jed on the run, desperate to flee London and escape to the small village where Signy grew up. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. But she has no idea what is waiting for them outside the city…
Dystopian is a sub-genre that I am just starting to investigate, and I think This Fragile Earth was definitely a good place to start. This Fragile Earth puts family at the centre of the story and focuses on what happens when humanity goes too far.
Typically characters are my favourite part of a book, but sadly with This Fragile Earth, they fell a little bit short of my expectations. I liked the principal elements of the characters, but it felt as if something was missing to make them feel whole. Signy was an interesting character to read from, especially as she was very much an unreliable narrator. I usually like an unreliable narrator, but there was just something slightly off about the way that she was behaving that I couldn’t connect to. When it comes to Signy’s son Jed, I was very confused. He was meant to be six, but he never read as if he was six. He would speak and behave very young at points, which led me to believe that he was much younger, but he would be explaining Quantum Mechanics to his mother at other moments. I would have loved for there to have been two children so both parts could be there, but there was a differentiation.
When it comes to the worldbuilding in This Fragile Earth, I really liked the way that Susannah Wise described the setting because I could imagine just what it looked like. It felt so real, and I could just imagine London looking just the way that she described it. I also loved her worldbuilding and descriptions at the end of the book, but I won’t spoil why I liked it, but just know it was worth the journey. I also have to talk about the atmosphere! The atmosphere crept up on me throughout the book, and it really ramped up the tension towards the end. It had just the right amount of terror and creepiness to keep me wanting more without getting too scared. This Fragile Earth has certainly made me want to keep lots of bottled water and tinned food in the house!
The only other thing that I would have loved was a bit more of a longer ending. The book itself is only 350 pages long, and I would have loved for it to be longer, so the ending didn’t feel quite so abrupt. But I did like the direction that Susannah Wise took it; it fit the book’s themes and showed that there is still hope after everything.
Overall, I enjoyed my time reading This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise and would recommend picking it up if you love very realistic dystopian. I can’t wait to see what Susannah Wise is going to release next!