Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

"Everything isn't ending. Civilization is more resilient than people think."

Paul Tremblay's penchant for high-concept horror with down-to-earth character development has seen him ascend the ranks of modern American horror authors. With each new novel, his work becomes more terrifying and more emotionally impactful. In his latest novel Survivor Song, Tremblay writes one of his most compelling narratives to date. A twist of fate has made his imagined scenario in the book eerily mirror the current situation that much of the world is still grappling with. I've always been a fan of Tremblay, so I happily accepted a copy of Survivor Song from his publisher.

Before this year, it would have been hard to imagine a world riddled with a global health pandemic. That's exactly the premise Tremblay presents in this novel. A highly contagious strain of rabies with an accelerated incubation period has begun to ravage parts of the US. Cities have been shut down under government-mandated lockdowns, hospitals are at full capacity, and people are panicking. Individuals infected with the virus lose all semblance of normal human function. They become crazed zombies, infected with the unyielding need to bite and infect others.

The book opens with a bang as pregnant Natalie is helping her husband Paul unload groceries. Their whole city is on lockdown, so they are eager to safely get their items into the house. A moment of carelessness sees them leave their front door ajar, allowing an infected man to enter their home. In a flash, Paul is killed and Natalie is bitten in the arm. Fearful of infection and eager to keep her unborn child safe, she frantically drives to her friend Dr. Ramola's house. The two race against the clock of the impending infection to try to save the life of Natalie's child.

Survivor Song is Tremblay's most terrifying novel to date, made even more timely by the fact that it is publishing as the world deals with a real-life infectious virus. I was amazed at how closely Tremblay's fiction captured the scenario we are dealing with now. A year ago, I would have found a glorified zombie tale to be unbelievable, but now it is chillingly close to life. Beyond the plot, Tremblay inhabits his novel with believable characters who you can't help but root for. Flashbacks provide context for Natalie and Ramola's relationship, allowing the emotional stakes to soar alongside the journey to safety. Being that this novel is really close to our current life, I do think you need to be in the proper mood to read it. Still, there's no denying the craft, thoughtfulness, and escapism that Survivor Song provides. "This is not a fairy tale. this is a song."

For more information visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.
(2020, 29)

This entry was posted on Friday, July 10, 2020 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

29 Responses to “Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay”

  1. Sounds terrifying, intense and completely awesome. I totally want to read this one!

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  2. It does take on an extra level of horror when it hits so close to home. I would be too scared to read this one, but I do like the idea that the fear factor and action comes with good character development.

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    1. I think it is really the character development that makes it so terrifying. If I didn't care about the characters, I wouldn't be scared for them.

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  3. Oh this sounds good! I love dystopian novels and horror, zombies, outbreaks etc but man so many hit close to home with the current pandemic. Have you read Mira Grant? I highly recommend her NewsFlesh trilogy and PARASITOLOGY trilogy.

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    1. I haven't read her before, but I'm adding both trilogies to my TBR!

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  4. Most terrifying novel to date...intriguing

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    1. I think it freaked me out a bit more because it was so similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. Very true to real life at the moment!

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  5. I'm not so much for the zombies, but given the man-made disaster book bender I went on when COVID first hit, I might end up liking this one.

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    1. Maybe I should clarify a bit. Some characters refer to the infected people as zombies, but they really are just infected with this virus.

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  6. I briefly looked at this when it came out and thought it wasn't one for me. But I'm rethinking that after reading your review. It does sound very timely!

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    1. I'd urge you to give Tremblay a chance if you are even slightly interested. I've really enjoyed his novels.

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  7. Gosh, that really sounds good. I love the premise for this.

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  8. At least Covid doesn't turn us into rabid zombies! Although, I guess some people do behave a little like that nowadays, lol. I do enjoy end-of-the-world scenarios, zombie books, and such so I think I'd like this book.

    Did you watch Contagion? I watched it right after we started having lock downs, early on in our crisis and I was astounded by the similarities of what was going on.

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    1. I really enjoyed Contagion, but I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it since this pandemic broke out. It is crazy how much fiction has gotten right though!

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  9. Art imitating life - eek! So, when should I expect the zombies? As if the zombies weren't enough to get my heart pumping, they are also racing against the clock to save a child. Sounds like quite a rush.

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  10. I could not read a book like this right now! I feel like it would add stress to an already insanely stressful situation, haha. I'm happy you enjoyed it!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. I definitely had to be in the right mood for this one. I actually tried to start it back in March as things were just starting the the pandemic, but I couldn't do it. I'm glad I gave it another shot though!

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  11. but it sounds so good, despite how scary it sounds at a time like this.

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    1. It was really great! I think the fear really stems from it being so similar to real life.

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  12. Whew, this is certainly a book for our times, and I agree, I would have to be in the right mood for it. You, however, do write thoughtful reviews that always make me think, Ethan!

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    1. Thanks. I think you'd really like this one!

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  13. This seems like such a thrilling read - and timely, for sure. I hear such amazing things about Tremblay and it sounds like this one truly lives up to his other work.

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    1. In some ways it was very different from what he's done before, but still terrifying and great character work.

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  14. I've never read Tremblay, but this one sounds like one I would like. I'm going to see if my library has it ...

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    1. I really loved this one and The Cabin at the End of the World.

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  15. I admit, I have a tremendous sex drive. My boyfriend lives forty miles away. Click here and Check me out i am getting naked here ;)

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