Rawrrbecca Reads: Severance by Ling Ma


Post Apocalyptic / Published by Text Publishing in 2018

New York, Hong Kong, Shen Fever, The Facility, Relationships

Candace Chen finds herself with a group of survivors. They’ve also managed to avoid the outbreak of Shen Fever, a virus spreading across the globe. 

Throughout the book, the timeline switches frequently, we learn of Candace’s upbringing and learn a lot about her parents and their experience moving from China to the USA. We also see into Candace’s relationship with Jonathon, her ex-boyfriend, and how their differentiating views eventually drove them apart. 

“You think this is freedom but I still see the bare, painstakingly cheap way you live, the scrimping and saving, and that is not freedom either.”
 We then follow her in the present day, and how Bob, self-appointed leader of this particular group of survivors plans on getting them to safety.

It is too depressing, too soul-crushingly sad, to reminisce. The past is a black hole, cut into the present day like a wound, and if you come too close, you can get sucked in. You have to keep moving. 

The change in the timeline kept me coming back

The pace throughout the book can be a little slow in places, but I found the back and forth to different parts of Candace’s life a welcome change, and meant that I got through the book quickly. I was always eager to find out what happened next, I can definitely say this book kept me guessing until the end.

Candace has got me asking a lot of questions

By the end of the book, I felt like I’d got to know Candace really well, and I liked her personality a lot. She was determined, independent, and not afraid to take risks. However, and I can’t say too much here without spoiling it, there are several things that went over my head throughout the book, but once I reached the end I was left wondering. Oh! I thought. Do all of these little things, accompanied by how the story comes to a close, actually lead to this? 

It’s got me thinking that’s for sure, I’ve been trawling through Reddit and Goodreads for theories!

Intrigued. Angry. Hopeful. Compassionate

The book was certainly a rollercoaster of emotions. I went through hopeful phases, compassionate phases, phases where I was irritated by some of the survivors and very angry and ticked off with one character in particular. I’ll let you figure out who. Most of all though, as I mentioned above, the ending just got me feeling like, hold on was that it? Wait a minute. What if this means this? Oh! 

I wasn’t expecting to feel that way once I’d finished, but I’m really grateful it happened like that. I almost want to read it again already!