Book Review: Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Book Review: Survivor Song by Paul TremblaySurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 7th July 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

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. 

As Paul Tremblay books go, this one Survivor Song isn’t my favourite. It’s another one of those books that left me wondering what the point of it was. Survivor Song is a story about two women called Rams and Natalie who are trying to get to a medical clinic during a mutated rabies outbreak. Sounds fun, right?

Not so much, unfortunately. I think I would have enjoyed Survivor Song a lot more if it had taken place over a longer period of time. After finishing the book, I felt like I had been reading about one of those 24 hour horror situations. You know, like Bugs in Supernatural? Everything is horrible for a short period of time and is never really fixed, nor do you really get a proper conclusion.

I’m a bit disappointed in this book as I was expecting it to be more like A Head Full of Ghosts or The Cabin at the End of the World, where you don’t really know what reality is any more and the books are slightly more open ending and open to interpretation. Survivor Song was a lot more straight laced and thus, not anything stand-out in the genre.

I did enjoy how topical it is, with the whole virus outbreak and all. So there’s that.

If you’re looking for a quick horror book about almost-zombies then sure, pick this one up. But I don’t think it brings anything new to the genre and it’s not on par with the rest of Tremblay’s work.

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