My friend and fellow Spellbound Scribe Adriana Ryan‘s book, World of Shell and Bone, was released on 7 December. I finished reading it yesterday whilst at the doctor, and after posting my review on Amazon, I wanted to share this wonderful debut novel with you.
From the very first chapter, Adriana creates a chilling juxtaposition of an ancient assumption about women: that our only value comes from bearing children. Instead of the traditional meaning imposed by a patriarchal society, in World of Shell and Bone it has become a value judgment in an entirely matriarchal society struggling to repopulate the earth after a nuclear disaster that wiped out most of humanity.
The gender relations in the book create a polarity of the extremes of both sexes — from the government regime’s hatred and disdain of men (who presided over the world’s destruction and carry the blame) to the Rads and their pejorative terms toward women and a the threat of sexual violence hovering beneath their words. In that world, protagonist Vika Cannon is funneled through changing expectations, desperation, and her emotions for a man assigned to her. Her world is reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 dystopia in that everyone watches everyone for signs of treason, and where people vanish under the weight of hearsay alone.
World of Shell and Bone is an adult dystopian novel that takes place in our world — sixty years in the future when nuclear war has reduced it to mutations and acid rain.
I definitely recommend World of Shell and Bone to anyone who is a fan of fast-paced plots driven by three dimensional characters and smooth, often beautiful prose. You won’t be disappointed.