Boys are being trained at one school for geniuses, girls at another. Neither knows the other exists—until now. The New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box invites you into a world of secrets in this unusual coming-of-age story.
Malerman makes the horror of this impossible experiment appear completely plausible while thoughtfully contemplating grand issues like nature versus nurture, gender roles, and scientific ethics—all of that, plus he manages to create a satisfyingly oppressive atmosphere. And yet, for all of this serious intensity, Inspection feels effortless; the story flows easily and at a compelling pace: think Shirley Jackson writing Lord of the Flies (1954). Hand to fans of Margaret Atwood or Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005).
Wild concept meets richly imagined narrative ... There is a Hogwartsian flavor as Malerman shows us around and explains how this closed-up world works ... Malerman’s writing is matter-of-fact, non-showy ... How the children were first rounded up requires a leap, and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that a giant laboratory in the woods—several miles of forest separate the two camps—has somehow gone unnoticed for a dozen years or more. Minor leaps. Check your own talents for close inspection at the door and go for an entertaining ride. Malerman’s world-building is rich, and Inspection’s quick chapters and brisk style make for a relentless, twisty read.
A novel whose premise is also claustrophobic and unsettling, but more ambitious than that of Bird Box ... The fact that the children are referred to by letters, instead of names, makes it difficult to differentiate all of them ... rich with dread and builds to a dramatic climax ... Malerman reminds us the real horror is not the blood that will splatter the towers. It is not the loss of innocence precisely, but something subtler and more poignant — the malevolence that could see yearning and love as something negative in the first place ... The children are not in cages in Malerman’s eerie new book. But they are lab rats.