My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book makes me feel unsettled for a few reasons. Before I get into them, let me say first and foremost I REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoyed reading it.
That said, spoilers ahead
So, the whole thing with the human underlanders knowingly creating a biological weapon AND it’s cure feels a lot like what’s happening with the EBOLA virus. Except to my knowledge, that wasn’t created in a lab. However, we do have a cure for it yet we still let people we view as lesser (we meaning white people as a whole and people we view as lesser meaning anyone not white primarily black people) continue to die from it. Kind of how the human underlanders were completely prepared and willing to let the gnawers (rats) die from it for their thirst for weaponry and ruling/controlling vast parts of land (and if that doesn’t sound like white colonization then you might need to re-read your history).
The second reason was the story of Hamnet running away and why and then surviving in the jungle. This comes in multiple parts. The first being his initial reason for running away. He was coerced into mass genocide and realised when it was too late what he was talked into doing and how bad it was. Basically the humans wanted an apple grove they had planted for the rats back and sent Hamnet and his army into a surprise attack on the rats and the rats put their babies in caves for protection while they fought. Hamnet following orders, released a few places in the dam and because it was so old the pressure of the water burst it and flooded the caves with the babies and he could hear them crying out for help and tried to start to save them but was unsuccessful in saving a lot of them due to too much water way too quickly. So that was the initial reason for him fleeing. Because he didn’t want to kill anymore and be a murderer. He was already haunted enough by the screams and sounds of the drowning baby rats that he didn’t need more. So he fled to the jungle knowing that he couldn’t come back and refuse to fight and learned that there are other ways to solve things than fighting. He makes friends with an iguana and from it learns some of the lessons in how to solve things without violence. Which is something that the world has yet to learn (and most white people because let’s just start things off with violence amiright?) and needs to learn if we’re going to get anywhere in this world.
I realise this is me kind of projecting onto a children’s book but on the same hand I also realise it could have been a subtle thing that Collins intentionally put into the book.
All in all I’m very emotional after finishing this and think this is a very good book for people to read.
Buy it here: