House has written a postapocalyptic epic that is quiet and lyrical without losing its sense of danger and deprivation, set in a world where the powerful took and took until there was nothing left. But there’s not nothing, as Lark reminds us and as Seamus reminds him ... An emotional testament to the power of hope.
The not-too-distant dystopia of House’s latest becomes a vehicle for the author to tell a compelling story about a refugee crisis. Because House takes the story out of a contemporary context, readers can more easily empathize with the novel’s refugees rather than focusing on real-world quandaries.
House delivers this straightforward adventure with efficiency and poignancy, capturing the brief idyll of freedom Lark and his family enjoyed before leaving and the newfound appreciation he has for an environment and liberal society that are both rapidly collapsing. And the novel’s style has a clarity and rough-hewn simplicity that bring the story’s conflicts into sharp relief ... The novel’s chief flaw is its overfamiliarity, to the point of almost feeling like a pastiche of dystopian-novel plots and styles ... House seamlessly works in present-day concerns about rampant fundamentalism and willful ignorance about climate catastrophe, but for anybody well versed in the genre, this will feel like well-trod ground ... A cleareyed and engaging, if familiar, apocalyptic yarn.