Author: Tim Lebbon
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre(s): Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Review Spoilers: Mild
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These days post-apocalyptic fiction is everywhere. Every week it seems like half a dozen of these books come out. But what about the actual apocalyptic books? There aren’t too many that actually focus on how the world goes to hell. The Silence is one of those rare exceptions and it’s a fantastically dark and a times terrifying read.
One of the best parts about the book is how real it feels. Now, the scenario isn’t realistic at all. In the book underground creatures that spread quickly like a plague start wiping out all of human civilization in just days. Starting in Eastern Europe they start moving their way towards the United Kingdom – where the book is set. What’s real about the book is how the story is told.
Social media plays a very big part in the way The Silence is told.
Allison, one of the two main characters, is deaf and relies very heavily on her iPad and social media to interact with the world. This gives us a unique way to see the global crisis unfold. We get little snippets of Youtube videos, Twitter posts, and more throughout as people try their best to survive. It’s an invaluable means of information – and a hive of misinformation and fear.
That’s what’s so great and real about it. This is a modern apocalypse that unfolds in the pages as Allison and her family survive. Terrible things happen, not just to the world around them, but to the ones they love. They make mistakes – a lot of them. They make poor choices. There’s a real sense of danger in this book because between the social media and Allison’s family just being so normal nothing necessarily feels like things are going to work out.
This swarm of creatures is deadly. And they reproduce exponentially, turning the bodies of their victims into incubators. They hunt by sound. Make a noise – any noise – and you’re dead. Allison’s family uses sign language and that’s a cool aspect of the world building. Of course they put a lot of emphasis on Allison knowing how to live in a silent world but… I’m half deaf and let me tell you: I make a shit ton of noise unintentionally. So I’m not really sure how helpful a deaf person would in helping other people live without making sound outside of the obvious advantage of sign language.
Still, all of this together with a deaf protagonist?
Kind of awesome. It’s very rare that I can see myself in characters in pop culture in general. In horror – one of my favorite genres – it’s far rarer. So it’s pretty cool to have Allison take such a central role in this book (she is, admittedly, one of two main characters – the other being her father, Huw). Diversity really does matter.
I highly recommend The Silence if for no reason other than the fact that this is one of the only books that has ever given me nightmares. I’m not kidding. The way this story was told became so real to me that I was having dreams about flying deathbringers and peoples’ Twitter posts. It’s a quick, easy, and terrifying read. Tim Lebbon gets it absolutely right with this one. Definitely a must read for horror fans.