Thursday, October 24, 2019

Severance (Ling Ma)

When Shen Fever sweeps many parts of the world, Candace Chen is stuck in New York City. But this novel is not about your typical "zombie apocalypse," which, in my opinion, is very tiresome. There is no cure for this disease, and sufferers relive their day-to-day tasks (like setting the table and driving a cab) over and over again. Severance is even scarier than the zombie genre because you feel like it could actually happen.

Candace drifts along every day troubleshooting Bibles at a publishing company. Her life is so routine oriented that she barely notices when strange things start to happen. Little by little, people get sick, subways shut down, and people flee the city. Her manager gives a group of employees (including Candace) an offer they can't refuse to stay in New York to keep the company running. Soon though, even her coworkers flee, and Candace finds herself entirely alone.

Severance goes back and forth in time between when the fever was starting and when Candace joined up with a group of survivors. Learning about Candace's family history, along with seeing New York emptying out during the outbreak, was very interesting. The time with the survivors, not so much. And the unsatisfying ending is very frustrating. But, all in all, Ling Ma does a good job of creating a world outside of the ordinary.