In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.
Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.
Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink.
Paul Tremblay once again demonstrates his mastery in this chilling and all-too-plausible novel that will leave readers racing through the pages . . . and shake them to their core.
Title: Survivor Song | Author: Paul Tremblay | Publisher: William Morrow | Pub. Date: 7 July 2020 | Pages: 320| ISBN: 9780062679161) | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Source: Received a copy from publisher for review consideration | Starred Review
Survivor Song Review
“…I shouldn’t talk about fortnights, weeks, and time. It’s too much. Time is too heavy. It really does have weight you can feel but you can’t measure.” – Paul Tremblay, Survivor Song
In late 2018-2019, this book was written and turned into the publisher. With no idea what 2020 would bring, Paul Tremblay’s newest book, Survivor Song, is sure to be an eerie and disturbing read for quite a few people. As a devout reader of apocalyptic stories, I have become somewhat immune to the horrors presented in this genre. Even for me, this one was a gut punch; I had to sit back a few times and take a deep breath.
If you are interested in hearing more about how this book came about and Tremblay’s own feelings on releasing a book about a virus in the midst of a pandemic he couldn’t possibly have predicted, check out this podcast episode from InkHeist.
Usually an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic book is wide in scope. Huge amounts of characters and a vast landscape are sort of hallmarks for the sub-genre. In Survivor Song, Tremblay scales this back and readers find themselves focused on just 4 characters (mostly) and one small place on the map. This has the effect of making the terror and anxiety all the more personal as we are invested solely in the results of one situation. Think if King had used a laser focus on Frannie or another of his characters in The Stand or if McCammon had done the same in Swan Song. We are forced into this microcosm of the country and all the worries and stress we’ve had ourselves during our own REAL pandemic are gathered around us. It is quite the experience.
I like the structural manipulation Tremblay uses. There are sections of text messages, blank spaces, and other quirks, but they aren’t just there to be witty or to “show off”. They hold purpose and add depth to the narrative. There are also switches in POV and interludes which also serve to provide the reader with a unique experience.
Honestly, I loved the book. Tremblay continues to focus on family, whether it’s blood relations or the family we choose; all the aspects of his writing that I have come to love are on full display. It is such a quick read because it is near impossible to put down. Set aside some time to get lost in this one. Tremblay remains one of my favorite authors and his work is an instant buy for me.
You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.
Tracy joined Sc-Fi and Scary in September 2018. She reviews horror books for the site and bemoans our general lack of grammar, but puts up with us because she loves us anyway. Feel free to reach out on Twitter and Instagram at @tracy_reads79, or on Goodreads as well!
Tracy is also part of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.