In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect – altering genes that may cause illness, and more… Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now. But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…
Eve Smith writes speculative fiction – mainly about the things that scare her – which she attributes to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. Previously COO of an environmental charity, she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. Twitter @evecsmith; Instagram: evesmithauthor; Facebook: EveSmithAuthor and http://www.evesmithauthor.com.
My thoughts: Eve Smith doesn’t shy away from tackling big themes and controversial topics, such as this one – gene tweaking and rewriting unborn children’s DNA. With the development of CRISPR technology (the team won a Nobel for it) this has been debated – the idea of removing faults in DNA to eradicate some of the worst medical conditions has generated a lot of concern from the disabled community – if you could ensure your child wouldn’t get cancer or be born with Down’s Syndrome, would you?
Smith has taken this to extremes – Susan has part of her unborn daughter’s removed and replaced so that her husband is now technically the baby’s father. She also has genetic predisposition to addiction and heart problems removed. But once her daughter has got older, other issues start to emerge and it becomes increasingly political.
I felt for Simon, the husband, and Susan’s daughter, Zurel, who have no idea what’s happened and have to deal with the fallout after Susan’s clinic is doxxed and her details are released. Zurel loses all her privacy and she’s the victim, it’s just really sad. She’s only a child and hasn’t got the mental resources to manage all the revelations.
This book raises all sorts of questions and really made me think where I would stand in this sort of situation. I’m fascinated by all of this incredible technology and what it could mean for future humans, as is the author, so it’s something I have done some reading on elsewhere and honestly I don’t know where I fall, it can be really complex. Honestly the book was so compelling a read and so thought provoking I think it really needs multiple re-reads.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.