In The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien, Myrra is a contract worker on her way to a new world. For generations, she and her ancestors have served the ruling class on the ship. One day, she learns of a horrible secret – the ship is breaking apart and will not complete its journey. As the only person who knows this and is on the run for a crime she didn’t commit, Myrra has to decide how to live as the world gives way.
“‘That’s what we do,’ She said, almost to herself. ‘We fix what we can, and we move forward’” – Marissa Levien, The World Gives Way
The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien is one of the most interesting post-apocalyptic books that I’ve read. While dire the book doesn’t always focus on that but instead the people who are living through this experience. In addition, the book reads like a non-traditional noir at the beginning with a detective after a suspect of a horrible crime. But switches part way through to focus on what it is like at the end.
Another special thing about the book was the commentary on class. The main character, Myrra comes from the working class of the ship whose ancestors sold them into servitude to get them a spot on the ship. Even in a society as advanced as one that can physically create a whole new world, there is massive inequality.
I’m glad that Levien committed to the ending that she set out at the beginning. It’s obvious from the first few pages that the ending is the world as the people in this society know it ending. There are so many points where Levien could have changed the story and written a happy ending but she didn’t. She instead leaned into the characters and their experience so the book became a beautiful example of how to move through the final days. It showed the chaos, the deep sadness, regret, and finally the acceptance of the ending that no one wanted.
I recommend The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien if you’re interested in light sci-fi and civilization coming to terms with its end.
I received an e-book arc of The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien from the publisher Redhook Books.
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