In this "magical, terrifying, and whimsical debut" (Publishers Weekly starred review), a biological disaster reverberates in Ohio Amish country long after the near-extinction of humankind. A young woman must try to save what remains of the human race. A "mesmerizing end-of-the-world adventure" (Kirkus Reviews) that is "nothing short of a storytelling masterwork." (BlueInk Review in Booklist)
Root is…different. Though raised in a fearful society that reveres conformity, she's irreverent, outspoken, and deeply curious. Her congenital blindness sets her even further apart.
Centuries after the Reckoning, a biotech disaster, savage chimeras still threaten human survival. When Root hears a voice that no one else can hear, she flees into the wilderness. Outcast and hunted, she must confront a dire threat to her people--and unravel the mystery of who she really is.
This magical, terrifying, and whimsical debut is a genuinely original and immersive take on post-apocalyptic SF. Several generations after an illness called the Nothing turned people into chimeras and destroyed civilization, only Amish culture has survived. Root, the blind daughter of the village weaver, asks too many questions and is often suspected of being infected with the Nothing. She grudgingly accepts her otherness within her regimented life until a tragedy in the community causes her to hear a voice that no one else can. Pushed to her limits and forced to question everything she has been taught, Root finds herself solely responsible for the fate of the world. In a departure from tales of grim technological nightmares, this not-quite-dystopian novel focuses on folk storytelling with Root at its center, now old and recounting her life story to future generations and the personal nature of questioning what is normal. Every word is placed as carefully as a quilt square. This is a welcome breath of fresh air and calm after the apocalyptic storm. (BookLife)
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Nothing Within
This is a fantastic, excellently written story. I'm putting along side my Ursula Leguin, Octavia Butler, Cormac McCarthy, McCammon, and even near my Gene Wolfes. It is awesome. Wonderful world building- a strange world, both human and homelike, and then strange and menacing.
I loved how the arc of the story travelled forward from the past to illuminate the present in gradual, tantalizing steps until the strange reality the characters lived in grew more solid and understandable.
It was, is, entirely plausible that a culture like the Amish, or the Mennonites, or some comparable culture would survive a civilizational collapse. I loved the juxtaposition of such an essentially gentle culture with the harsh exigencies of collapse.
Root! What can I say? I loved her narrative voice, her strength, her entire journey and evolution.
So, awesome story!