Cover Image: The Violence

The Violence

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Member Reviews

I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t get into this one. I’m not sure what it was exactly. It seemed ridiculous to me and hard to suspend disbelief when it’s so out there. This one was a miss for me.
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“Never make yourself smaller to suit someone who wants to feel big.”

This is a tough one to review - mostly because my very favorite things about this book would be spoilers. The Violence is really about (at least) two things. First, the violence illness, which makes people going about their normal activities turn homicidal and then forget what happened. And also, the violence that happens with abuse, which was more disturbing and chilling than the illness.

We see the story through the eyes of three women - Chelsea, who lives a seemingly perfect life that is really full of fear of any transgression. Ella, Chelsea's daughter. And Patricia, Chelsea's mother, who is demanding and critical. I thought all of their stories were interesting and...that's all I can say about without spoilers.

But big shoutout to the idea of including underground professional wrestling. I knew that was coming, couldn't imagine how it would work, but that group of people was probably my favorite part of the book.

Finally, I just want to compliment Delilah Dawson - she wrote this book from a deeply personal place and experience, and that shows. Her experience, compassion, and empathy make this story come to life, in all of its violence.
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Hopefully, if you pick this up, you know from the title what you're getting into, but yeah, this is an incredibly violent novel. It's also fantastic and unapologetically feminist. . 

In the near future, the country's falling apart, as Trump and the Republicans are back in power, and undercutting infrastructure once again. So when a new disease hits, no one is prepared, especially for one so hard to isolate. In warmer climates, people will in a blink turn into unstoppable killing machines, beating a person to death and then immediately forgetting that it happened and moving on with their lives.

Set against this are three women, each abused by men in different ways. Chelsea married her high school sweetheart after he got her pregnant, and his controlling ways eventually turned physical. Her mother has let herself essentially be arm candy for her latest husband, and in turn has frozen out Chelsea and her grandchildren. And Chelsea's teen daughter has realized that her "perfect" boyfriend is controlling and potentially violent, just liker her father.

As The Violence (as the disease is named) takes its toll on Florida, all three find themselves dealing not only with their own oppression, but also the disease itself and the new ways society is changing. 

As noted, there's a ton of actual violence here, but the characters are strong and keep things moving forward. There's only one point where we get deus-ex-Violence (one character is literally saved when a bout of the disease comes on), and each of the three women is believable and well-developed, keeping their stories interesting even when it's not always easy to cheer their choices. There's some cheesiness (a Violence-themed pro wrestling organization plays a large role in the story), but it never overwhelms the rest of the book.
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This was the second post-covid book centered around women I've read (which seems like kind of an odd subgenre) but it was still fairly enjoyable. The book was definitely difficult to read in terms of the subject matter, but I never quite connected. At times it seemed dark for the sake of being dark. Chelsea wasn't quite likable, but with a character like that, I can't quite blame her.
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This was a great, gripping story that was strongly grounded in a pandemic reality, though admittedly, I would have loved it even without that added layer of extra tension. The core of the story itself - and I mean the abusive relationships and violence at the hands of men - was emotionally gripping enough! This book had me by the throat from the first chapter. Some of its steam deflated along the way (the first 1/3 was intensely suffocating and almost paralyzingly scary), but it remained a thoroughly captivating read through and through.

Told in multiple POVs, this book follows three generations of women in one family, all entangled together in a web of ongoing abuse and suffering caused by the men in their life. From the power tripping, violent husband who enjoys choking his wife unconscious, to a rich and powerful judge treating his wife as nothing more than an accessory to be discarded when no longer needed, this book explores different degrees of emotional and physical abuse, and it does so in an engrossing, unflinching manner.

I thought this book was spot on. The pandemic part was okay, I guess, but I was mainly here for the family dynamics and calling out the patriarchy. That part was flawless.
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I've never read anything like this before. This story follows 3 generations of Martin women, all very different from one another, but as we learn over the course of the book that they have more in common than they think. THE VIOLENCE takes place in 2025, where we are post-COVID, but are suddenly thrust into another pandemic. One where one suddenly loses control and kills the person closest to them. From that initial case, the world is once again thrust into chaos, and lines in the sand drawn. Chelsea, the mother and second generation of women, notably goings a WWE style wrestling endeavor in order to try and access a better life for her and her kids. Over the course of this book, the women learn what it means to be themselves and take back their own stories.

This book is not typically what I'd pick up for a number of reasons but I picked this one up because I've enjoyed other books by Dawson and because of the killer (pun intended) cover. Overall, I was really surprised and impressed by this book. These characters are vividly created and as wild as the concept of The Violence is, Dawson really makes it feel tangible and accessible as she connects it to our current present. As I read on, I found myself invested in the Martin family, even though I sometimes was frustrated by their decisions. This is a book I'd recommend to readers looking for generational family stories that feature women who learn to stand up for themselves after abuse. If you're a wrestling fan or have personal gripes with the state of Florida, you'll probably enjoy this book!
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I was so thankful to get this from Netgalley to review because this is my most favorite of all the genres and I was so glad I enjoyed this book after all the hype I heard surrounding it! Fun characters, a plot that kept me turning the pages, a really fun read. Highly recommend to book clubs! Great fun to discuss after reading with friends!
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DNF after about 40 pages, this was not the book for me. But if you read the blurb and think hmm should I try it, you definietely should, you never know what is for you until you try!
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You think COVID is bad, wait until you get THE VIOLENCE. Welcome to the post-COVID world where anyone can get THE VIOLENCE. A disease that causes its victim to kill whomever is in their way. They have no recollection of it and come out of an episode in a haze. If you're reported with The Violence, then you're sent to a camp. You want to vaccine? That'll be $10,000 please and thank you. 'Cause you know, we ALL have that kind of money hanging around. Once again, the world helps the rich... sounds all too familiar, eh?

While this disease is definitely a major point of the story and plays its own part, the main focus is on Chelsea's family dynamic and what they are enduring. While it may seem much for three generations to go through the same abuse... it's also quite truthful in how the dynamics we see as children can bleed into our adult lives. I fell in love with the kids, Ella and Brooklyn and my favorite arc was of a character I won't mention but that I was happy to see.

Now, regardless of the title, I didn't think there was *too* much violence within the pages - at least not for the 500+ pages that we get. But I also read a lot of horror so my idea of a lot of violence is probably different than yours. Not to say that some scenes may shock you so those with a low tolerance may find it a bit gruesome. I did kind of have to laugh at the VFR - which is basically pro wrestling for those with The Violence and while that might have been a little shark jumpy, let's be real - I could absolutely see people doing this because unfortunately... that is how this world works.

The narrator was amazing and for such a long book, I was riveted from the very beginning and well worth the 18+ hours of listening. Come for The Violence, stay for all the underlying themes and domestic suspense.
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An interesting dystopian novel about 3 generations of women dealing with domestic violence and class issues. I didn’t like how much Covid was referenced but otherwise it was a good read.
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"The Violence" by Delilah S. Dawson is a very unique type of book.  The story begins after COVID  is over and a new pandemic takes hold causing people suffering from it to become violent and in some cases kill others.  After an episode happens, the person afflicted has no memory of their violent behavior.  The story follows three different women: a wealthy mother who came from an impoverished background, her daughter who is married to a man who abuses her, and her daughter who is 17 years old.  The main story is about the abused wife, but as the story progresses, her mother and daughter have their own chapters.  As time goes on, people learn how to contain the violent behavior of others.

Due to the extreme nature of the violence, this book is not for everyone.  There is a content warning from the author before the story begins.  I still thought the book was excellent despite the violence and would recommend it to those who can handle the story.
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This book was really good, very tight, super intense… and I don’t think I can finish it. I don’t know what I was thinking when I requested it, other than I’m a fan of Delilah in general. Thrillers are not my cup of tea, usually. I’m anxious by nature so I don’t enjoy making myself extra tense for fun.

I think I got between 40-60% of the way through the book, and I’m tempted to do something I would normally never do: read the end and see how it turns out before continuing. This book is not rom-com, romance novel, happily-ever-after fluff. Despite having supernatural elements, this is *not* fantasy. It is deadly serious. Generational trauma stemming from emotional and physical violence is absolutely real, even if the Violence referred to in the book is not. Every generation somehow manages to find new and different ways to fuck up the next generation, and that fact seems to be the foundation of the whole story.

Having been in an abusive relationship in the past, and with choking being a particularly sensitive trigger for me, I simply cannot continue with the book knowing that David – the abusive husband and father – has a 100% chance of showing up again. I want to know how it ends. This book has been haunting me since I put it down several weeks ago. So when I’m feeling stronger I might just skip to the end to see how the story turns out so that I can hopefully let the whole thing go.

This book has such a good premise. It is absolutely saying valid and worthwhile things. Unfortunately, my personal history screams at me louder than the book’s message, so I won’t be able to finish this one. However, if you enjoy this genre and think you can handle the subject matter, I’d absolutely encourage you to give it a try.
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I will be thinking about this book for a long time. It was infuriating because its depictions of domestic violence were so accurate. And The Violence itself was an intriguing/terrifying concept, especially as it was written right on the heels of covid. The characters were well-written and I cared deeply about all of them.
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Don't read this book.
I like to thank NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this early, however it took me so long to even finish this book.
The whole plot happened in like the first 100 pages, the rest just felt like a different story.

I was expecting gore, horror, thrills, but instead I got a domestic abuse and a side of a narcissistic grandmother.

Don't waste your time reading this book it's not worth it.
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On the heels of Covid, a new plague is ravaging the American South and the southern continents. Dubbed the Violence, this virus is carried by mosquitoes and causes those affected with it to disassociate and commit horrific acts of violence against whatever person or object happens to be in closest proximity to them. In this dangerous new reality, Florida housewife Chelsea Martin sees an opportunity to escape from her abusive husband. And that's just the beginning of a journey for three generations of women who must learn to navigate a frightening new world, while also trying to recover from the generational trauma that shaped their pre-Violence lives.

The Violence is a novel that doesn't fit easily into any one genre. It's post-apocalyptic, it's a feminist manifesto, it's a domestic drama; there are elements of satire and it gets a little political. Delilah Dawson uses all of these elements to explore cycles of abuse in a novel that I'm sure was therapeutic to write, given her personal experiences with domestic violence, which she discusses in an Author's Note at the beginning of the book. It's clear that she has love for her characters, and that loves shines through her writing and makes the reader love and root for them, too. Dawson's writing is crisp and propulsive, and she perfectly balances scenes of graphic violence with moments of compassion and empathy. It's a lot, and it's long, but it all somehow worked for me in the end.

Ultimately, despite its extremely graphic content, The Violence feels like a story of healing and hope, a celebration of the human spirit that can endure so much and come out the other side even stronger than before. It's like nothing I've ever read before, and it's a book that will stick with me.

Trigger warnings: graphic violence, emotional and physical abuse, mentions of sexual abuse that occurs off-page, mentions of self-harm, animal cruelty, Covid.
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The Violence is a thriller, a horror story, and a story that examines family dynamics. As a new pandemic takes over the community causing increasingly violent attacks. Chelsea Martin considers a way to potentially keep her feelings safe. I loved the multiple viewpoints and strong female characters, but be warned that this book is violent - emotionally, physically, and every other way you can imagine! 

CW: In addition to the physical abuse in the book, there is some animal abuse as well.
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I loved the plot of this book. I thought it was a very good storyline with likable characters that you can't help but root for.
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary copy
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The Violence ~ Delilah S. Dawson 
As a fan of what I call Stabby-Stabby books this one drew me in with the cover. No synopsis needed. A red cover signifying anger and a giant knife tells you all you need to know. 
Post-pandemic life trying to get back to normal only to have a new pandemic rise up. Only this plague makes people have random bouts of deadly violence. This book also deals with domestic violence and what women put up with on their quest to extract themselves from cycles of abuse. For Chelsea Martin the Violence might be her way out of an abusive marriage. With two daughters and a narcissistic mother., navigating this new plague, and an uncertain future leaves Chelsea and her daughters with difficult choices. Chaos, rage, and violent murders paint the pages of this sci-fi thriller. Leaving you to question how far would you go and to what lengths, to save yourself and your children. Nail biter to the end.
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In a post-COVID world a new virus is spreading - The Violence. Once infected, anyone can turn into a mindless killing machine and nothing will stop them until their target is dead. This book is violent and gory. The author does not skimp on the grotesque details that follow a violent Storm. 

I am surprised by how much fun this book was. I thought this would be a thriller/horror, but at times it was darkly humorous. Between the first instance of the Violence at a big box store to the poking fun at Florida stereotypes (Florida Woman), I just had so much fun reading this book. The whole second half with Chelsea’s new career was borderline absurd and all of the new characters were incredibly enjoyable. 

Definitely look up trigger warnings before reading because there are plenty. Knowing the author’s own history from the author’s note definitely made the story more powerful. I loved the ending. It was incredibly satisfying to see all of the women rise up from under the thumbs of their abusers. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine for the advanced copy.
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This was such a fun and entertaining read!! I was hooked from the beginning, loved the characters, and was quite surprised by the unexpected humor throw in. 

Thank you Netgalley for my copy of this entertaining book.
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