Book Review| Dark Lullaby by Polly Ho-Yen: A thrilling, dystopian sci-fi novel with a story that illuminates the experience of womanhood

Dark Lullaby is set in a not too distant dystopian future. It follows Kit and her sister Evie as they struggle to have children in a Britain ruled by an authoritarian government. Birth rates have dropped as having a baby naturally has become a near impossibility. In an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, families do everything they can to stay together.

This book is stunning and it really does reflect the current climate of political turmoil that seems to have a grip on the world. Polly Ho-Yen brilliantly intertwines science fiction with everyday pressures experienced by women due to gender stereotypes to create a thrilling dystopian tale. I was gripped all the way through the story. I found Kit’s voice completely relatable. I empathised with both Kit and Evie as they battled society’s expectations of them as women while still dealing with their own wants and needs.

I loved the parts where Kit stumbled through her own thoughts when making decisions. The narrative of Kit felt genuine. She perfectly reflected what a struggle it is to be ‘Every Woman’. Ho-Yen cleverly uses the punishments the government give on women who decide not to have a baby to replicate the pressures woman feel to get pregnant in reality as they approach their 30s. Similarly, Ho-Yen also uses the ‘OSIP’ as a tool to replicate the feeling that new mothers often experience of being under a microscope in their communities. When it comes to matters related to pregnancy and child rearing, women always seem to bear the brunt of responsibility. In Dark Lullaby, Polly Ho-Yen has created an important feminist novel that exposes the stresses that women face due to their gender as part of a wider community.

I think this book is a fantastic, thrilling sci-fi read. If you love The Handmaid’s Tale, The Power or even if you love Bridget Jones’ Diary, this book is for you. Dark Lullaby is a perfect novel for our times.

Dark Lullaby is available from Titan Books. Click here to grab yourself a copy.

THUMBNAIL CREDIT: Photo by Ömürden Cengiz on Unsplash

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