Dark Lullaby - Polly Ho-Yen Review
Writer: Polly Ho-Yen
Publisher: Titan Books
Reviewed By: Dean Asquith
My Rating: 🏹🏹🏹🏹
For fans of Black Mirror and The Handmaid’s Tale, a mother desperately tries to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored.
The world is suffering an infertility crisis, the last natural birth was over twenty years ago and now the only way to conceive is through a painful fertility treatment. Any children born are strictly monitored, and if you are deemed an unfit parent then your child is extracted. After witnessing so many struggling to conceive – and then keep – their babies, Kit thought she didn’t want children. But then she meets Thomas and they have a baby girl, Mimi. Soon the small mistakes build up and suddenly Kit is faced with the possibility of losing her daughter, and she is forced to ask herself how far she will go to keep her family together.
Polly Ho-Yen has an exceptional ability to build a world in your mind. She does this through eloquent descriptions and vivid character creation. I was instantly transported into the mind of Kit, I had become a part of her doubts, her worries, her happiness and her determination. It was such an inclusive feeling, very rare in the reading world.
The author's writing style in this book is very different to any novel I have read before. Polly Ho-Yen bounces us from past to present in each ‘chapter’. This results in cliffhanger after cliffhanger which plays havoc with my anxiety but in a very intriguing, thrilling way. Polly has a beautiful way of terrifying you in one moment then overloading you with adoration of characters in the next instance.
Kit’s story emanates with me on deep levels. I myself have 2 little girls and the thought of being in Kit’s situation terrifies me. Not only because of Polly’s exceptional writing, but through the likelihood of that version of society actually becoming more than fiction. Honestly, I feel like it could happen within some societies in real life. A horrific notion.
I spent 85% of my time reading this, sat in pure terror. Even so, I was gripped entirely and struggled to tear myself away. This carpet bomb of cliffhangers approach generated great feelings of ‘just one more chapter,’ so much so that I stayed up for hours at a time reading this. I highly recommend giving this story a read, but beware, this is a heavy, psychologically impactful read that will both terrify and delight. Congratulations Polly Ho-Yen for a superb book that is sure to make some bestsellers lists.