Page Count 320
Publication date July 2020/ Publisher Titan
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.
The last Tremblay novel I read was The Cabin At The End Of The World, I took it with me whilst I holidayed, in a remote cabin- I am that kinda girl.
(Five star read by the way, an absolutely terrifying home invasion with gay rep, I rec to any horror fan.)
So of course here I am in the middle of the Coronavirus reading all about a pandemic! As if PT’s writing isn’t atmospheric enough, this adds a whole new layer of immersion. The timing of his book release is wild.
True to form the novel opens with a dirty great BANG. We’re given only moments to greet Natalie before disaster strikes in violent glory.
Now I like to think I’m a fast reader but I seriously whizzed through this book, at times I’m not sure I remembered to breathe.
The speed of infection rates, the face masks and the discussion over PPE shortages in the first chapters is uncomfortably similar to life in 2020. Whilst I’m not hiding in my home per se, I am quarantined- so it’s easy to imagine the characters claustrophobia and fear of the outside world.
When pregnant Natalie is bitten by the infected the countdown begins. With her best friend and doctor ‘Rams’ by her side the two race against time across a city in turmoil to deliver both Natalie and her unborn baby safely.
I really enjoyed the way Tremblay worked character development into Survivor Song. Using a phone app Natalie records messages to her unborn child, filling them with anecdotes, advice and random facts about herself, her husband and Rams.
It was an endearing touch and builds a brilliant connection between the reader and characters, heightening the investment and resulting tension.
Watch out for the strategically placed, intentionally blank pages too, my heart skipped a beat!
Survivor Song is both terrifying and beautiful. Highly recommend.