Cover Image: The Violence

The Violence

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Member Reviews

With a title like THE VIOLENCE, it's to be expected that Delilah Dawson's book deals with topics of violence, but some reviewers seems to still be caught off-guard by the levels of violence in the novel. To be clear upfront, this book contains domestic violence, including physical and emotional, as well as stranger violence and graphic animal abuse. The premise: set in a post-Covid era, the world is yet again besieged by a virus, this one turning its hosts into violent beings of rage who black out and kill others. The book follows a family of women including a grandmother, her daughter, and the daughter's two children, as they navigate the changing world while also trying to escape the violence they've lived alongside before this pandemic begins.

What I liked about this book is that it depicts flawed women who are each trying to survive male-perpetrated violence that has caused them to isolate from one another. While the pandemic has allowed them each to craft their own escapes, the price tag is high for them and for humanity. The book provides some great commentary on how abuse and violence that is conducted in public is deemed socially acceptable in ways that the pandemic-induced violence isn't. It also illustrates the pervasiveness of abuse

The book does run long and it often feels like I'm only skimming the surface of even the main characters and their motivations. I wanted the secondary world of the traveling wrestling show to be more fully realized and the characters there more developed. Also the cure for the violence is a bit hilarious rather than revolutionary. Still, if you're looking for a women-centered sci-fi/pandemic/thriller/coming of age book, this one might be a fit for you!
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The Violence is a very compelling novel, combining lots of interior monologue and soul-searching with action and interaction and, of course, violence.
Just as the world is recovering from COVID, a new pandemic comes along, causing people bitten by mosquitoes to occasionally become silent, focused rage monsters that don't stop until they kill their target or are restrained. This pandemic shifts some power dynamics, as the fear and potential changes, and of course it also brings out the worst in people, with quarantine camps, incredibly expensive private vaccines, and other situations.
Into this, we follow the 3 generations of women in a family, each of whom have had hard lives mainly controlled by men that were either opportunistic, abusive, or otherwise objectifying. Their new circumstances get them out of their habits and question how they have been living and bring strange new choices and paths.
Once the shifts go to all three in alternating chapters, some of the cliffhanger endings can be tough since you know you won't be back to that person for a while, but the scenarios and emotional depth are great, and very thought-provoking in terms of how people use/abuse power, live based on past trauma and choices, and how to change that.
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What an intense read! This one was so unique and hard to put down even though the content was hard to read.
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An interesting book that dealt with a different type of pandemic. Is it possible that violence is something that can be spread like a disease? The author did an amazing job describing what a violence pandemic would look like. The story was exciting and kept me cheering for the underdogs to win right up to the surprising end.
I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from Random House through NetGalley
#The Violence #NetGalley
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THIS BOOK! THIS BOOK! 

I loved it. It gave me the kind of horror I like. Not too much, very believable, not too little. 

It is a story about, well violence. Not just the new epidemic that is sweeping the nation, but also the domestic kind that is suffered on a daily basis. It started out with this hook, where we get a glimpse into what from the outside looks like a great family. But what is happening behind closed doors, isn't that great.. It is violent, it is cruel, it is outright wrong. A man using his power against a woman, and his children to do what he wants, how he wants. It had my hackles up. And then The Violence starts to sweep the nation, the woman decides to take that into her advantage and get herself a better life.

This was not just some gruesome, gory book filled with people beating each other up. It is about family, about how past trauma and abuse is passed on from generation to generation. How it warps the view of how people within family need to act, how they need to be stomped down to please the "ruler." 

I guess, this hit home, as I was thinking of what past lessons im passing on to my daughter. How am I killing her spirit, or character or anything, based on how "I was raised" and what "I know is right." Somethings get ingrained in you year after year of being in an abusive relationship.

This book wasn't just good at portraying the bad, it was great at showing what is right especially in a relationship of power like workplace, friendship, relationship, even family. It showed and talked about the right way to handle the damage done and ways to address it. 

It isn't horror in the regular kind of way. It is horror in the simplest - we all live with it- kind of way. With a tad of humor (hello THE VIOLENCE FIGHTING RING). And a lot of character growth (on Patricia's end).

I'm a fan. Looking forward to more from this author in this genre. Thank you to PRH audio for my review copy.
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Whoa. This book was INTENSE. This book  follows 3 women in a battle to survive an epidemic caused by mosquitoes that makes the infected person go into a blackout type state and destroy anything and everything in their path. It grips from the very beginning and does not let go. It is gripping and chaotic, but in a way that tells a story  that needs to be told. Be  forewarned though, it is very graphic, even a little gruesome in parts and it touches on themes of all types of abuse. Despite that, I really enjoyed this book.
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This book wasn't at all like I expected. About a pandemic of a very different kind, a violent kind. Definite warnings all over about the contents, but some parts interesting some hard to read. Characters I just couldn't get behind. loads of abuse in many different forms. A book where you certainly  can't judge it by the cover. Thank you to Netgalley, Random House, Ballantine and the Author Delilah S. Dawson for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to @netgalley and @randomhouse and @delreybooks for a copy of the e-ARC.

THE VIOLENCE by @delilahsdawson was a surprise! I have read the first two books in Dawson's THE TALES of PELL series which were fun little romps into fairy tale parodies and I liked those books just fine - but this book was something else entirely.

Just after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, another, much stranger plague is spreading. The difference between the invisible virus of COVID and this new disease is that it causes a person to get spontaneously violent and kill the closest human. BRUTAL AF.

The story follows three generations of women in a family as they try to navigate the new world, the sickness, and finding their way back to each other. I really enjoyed the three women's voices and how they perceived each other. The grandmother character became a favorite later in the book after abhorring her in the beginning.

There is a lot of discussion of relationship violence both emotional and physical so consider that a trigger warning if you don't mess with that sort of thing!

This book also brings up the excellent point that it is a lot easier to dismiss the deaths of fellow humans if they are just a number that died in a hospital, than if you have to hear about how they were all brutally beaten or murdered. I also felt that the author was trying to get the point across that domestic violence is actually a silent plague of its own, but unless the playing field is equalled (i.e. all folks infected with the violence have super-human rage), it is mostly just not discussed and considered a personal problem. I think there are lots of little gems of insight in this book just like this.

I did have a bit of trouble around the 75% mark as I started to lose a little interest. I finished it up and enjoyed the ending though.

🤖🤖🤖🤖/5
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When I read the blurb for The Violence, I was instantly intrigued. But, I was also a little hesitant to read it. I was intrigued by the last few books that I did not like. So, keeping that in mind, I dove into The Violence. To say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I loved this book!!

The Violence is a dystopia set in 2025 Florida. In this world, we have learned to live with COVID and adapted our lives around it. Life has gotten back to normal when news reports start talking about people randomly attacking and killing people. These random attacks soon become commonplace, and a new pandemic is announced. As with the COVID pandemic, its seriousness is downplayed until it is out of control.

The Violence centers around three people and follows them from the pandemic’s start to the end. Chelsea is a stay-at-home mother trapped in an abusive marriage. She dreams of getting out and saving her girls but can’t because her husband would destroy her. So, when The Violence starts, Chelsea uses that to her advantage. Ella is Chelsea’s seventeen-year-old daughter who has witnessed her mother’s abuse for years. She is caught up in an abusive relationship herself but breaks it off when her abuser is caught on camera (and in a public place) beating on her. Patricia is Chelsea’s narcissist mother. She is more concerned with maintaining appearances than helping her daughter and granddaughters escape their abuser. The Violence brings them together unexpectedly, but it also tears them apart. With Chelsea on the run, Ella looking for her, it is up to Patricia to keep Brooklyn safe. But who will keep Patricia safe? And will Chelsea ever get free from her ex? Will Ella find her mother before her father does? What happens when everything comes to a head?

The Violence had a lightening fast storyline. I had zero issues keeping up with how fast the storyline went. Surprisingly, there is no lag. This story didn’t stop. Put it this way, I read it in one night; that’s how fast it went.

Before I get deeper into the review, I want to give everyone a trigger warning heads-up. This book is graphically violent (hence the title). The author doesn’t hold any punches when infected people storm (when they blackout and kill people). She also doesn’t hold back during the abuse scenes. At the beginning of the book, there is a forward explaining why she wrote those scenes the way she did. But still didn’t prepare me for how graphic those scenes were. There is also scenes of verbal abuse (Patricia remembering calling toddler Chelsea stupid stuck out to me), sexual abuse (Chelsea getting raped by David), emotional abuse (Hayden telling Ella he was going to kill himself if she didn’t respond to his text), and animal abuse (David kicking the family dog every time he saw him and that awful scene when Chelsea blacked out). Those examples are only scratching the surface of this book. So read with caution if any of these triggers you.

I loved and pitied Chelsea. I hate to say it, but the way her mother treated her growing up paved the way for her to be in an abusive relationship with David. My heart broke for her during those first few scenes when David choked her. The author made me feel the horror and desperation she went through. I did think she was genius for her plan to get David taken away, and Ella’s 911 call only cemented it. But it was a short-lived plan, and she was getting threatened by David’s friends (one a lawyer and one a cop). When she ended up getting The Violence, she did what any mother would do, she shut herself away, and when she got word that her ex was coming home, she ran to her mother. But, it was what happened after she left the girls at her mother’s. I was equally shouting “Yas girl” and cringing at what she was doing. The name Florida Woman will forever be associated with her.

My heart broke for Ella. She was such a broken child, and I wanted to spirit her away from her family. She had no safe space for her to decompress. Instead, she went from school (where her friends and abusive boyfriend were) to home, where she had to worry about her father potentially killing her mother. She also was tasked with keeping her 5-year-old sister safe and away from her father at night. That meant locking herself and Brooklyn in her room at night. But, that all changed when her father was arrested, and her mother got The Violence. Ella became Brooklyn’s parent. I didn’t blame her for getting angry when Chelsea decided (after finding out that David was getting out of jail) to move them to Patricia’s. I also didn’t blame her for leaving to find Chelsea because Patricia was awful. It showed how much she had grown. But, it was when she stumbled upon the RV and got hooked up with the scientists that she started to blossom. She became that strong, independent girl that she should have been from the start.

I was not too fond of Patricia. OMG, I wanted to go into the book and strangle her at points. She was one of the more awful people that I have ever read. The way she ignored Chelsea’s bruises and how she talked to Chelsea was horrible. Everything was about appearances to her. But, as her backstory was revealed, I did start to feel sorry for her. Her abusive childhood and rape (which resulted in Chelsea) shaped her. She modeled the only behavior that she knew, verbal and emotional abuse. When she took in Ella and Brooklyn, I could see cracks in her facade. And when she was left to care for Brooklyn, those cracks became bigger and bigger. Her character growth and transformation was one of the more surprising ones I read. I loved how she ended up.

Brooklyn was adorable. I was so surprised that she wasn’t more traumatized. I mean, she witnessed her father almost killing her mother. She was uprooted from her house and lived with her grandmother, who was distant and cold. Then, Ella, her protector, leaves. Instead of acting out, having tantrums, or regressing, she remained normal. The only sign the author gave that she had been traumatized was the nightmares she had while sleeping in Patricia’s closet. My heart (and Patricia’s) broke when I realized who she was talking about and what. But other than that, there was nothing.

The secondary characters did round out the book. They all added an extra depth that the book needed.

The horror angle was well written. As I mentioned above, there was a lot of gore and violence associated with this book. The author got in-depth with the gore. I did think certain scenes could have been toned down, but then they wouldn’t have had the punch that they did.

The mystery angle was also very well written. I couldn’t figure out what would happen next in the book. After a certain point, I couldn’t figure out if everyone would come together and when.

The end of The Violence was, well, violent. I will not say much about it except that David got what was coming to him. I also liked the epilogue, showing where everyone was. It gave me hope for all the characters.

I would recommend The Violence for anyone over 21. There is graphic violence, language, and graphic accounts of sexual assault.
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This book was difficult and easy to read. Difficult, because it's so realistic. Easy, in that the author's skill in storytelling moves so quickly, the pages fly by. This book is visually stunning - Delilah uses all your senses, and you are transported into this world. It couldn't have been easy to write, but it is so important in so many levels.
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In a post Covid world, a new virus emerges that cause infected individuals to fall into an emotionless state at any time and violently attack any living thing in their vicinity.
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this book was painfully long, incredibly graphic, and not to mention all the covid name drops really gave me the ick
however it carries a really strong, impactful message about abuse that doesn't shy away from the reality that many women face every single day
i'm very mixed but i think it's a worthwhile read
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Wow. This book is quite the ride. It's gritty and dark, but SO compelling. I love that we get to know three generations in one family, and it's hard to say much without being spoilery, but the journey each of them goes through is something that will stick with me.
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Thank you Netgalley for the advance reader copy of The Violence by Delilah S Dawson in exchange for an honest review. I was drawn to this story as the main character, Chelsea, really spoke to me and some of my experiences. What an interesting and unique way to deal with domestic violence by introducing a plague of violence on the nation and showing it as a way out for Chelsea. Wonderfully written and very emotional.
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Holy animal crackers. What. A. Book, it literally hooked me from the very first page. Delilah Dawson has done something rare and wonderful in these pages. I cannot wait to recommend it to everyone I know.
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This book wound up being a bit too graphic for me, and I wasn't able to finish it because of that. Since it was due to no fault of the story I have chosen not to leave a consumer review on BN/GR/Amazon etc. 

I know this story will find its perfect readers, and wish the team and author all the best with it.
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This book was truly out of my comfort zone. As someone currently living through the COVID pandemic, I was not sure about reading a book with two pandemics! I first have to say, this book is not for everyone, and I wish I would have read the trigger warnings first. There is of course descriptive violence, which is to be expected of a book called The Violence, but for me the descriptions of animal deaths was not for me. Thankfully there were only two parts where it was mentioned but I wish I could unread it.

Now that I have brought that up. I did enjoy how the book was divided into three points of view, Ella (daughter), Chelsea (mother) and Patricia (Grandmother) and their experience of the violence. Patricia was truly a character that had the best character development throughout the book, seeing her change in persona was great. Overall I would give this book 3 1/2 stars (rounded up on rating).
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Book Review: The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson

The Violence is a suspense novel with elements of horror and dystopia in a post-Covid Florida and the effect a new virus has on three generations of women. 

A new virus spread by mosquitos arrives in Florida just months after the Covid crisis. But instead of flu-like symptoms this disease causes the victim to go into an immediate and mindless rage that leaves anyone near at risk of being attacked and killed. Stay at home mom Chelsea uses the crisis to escape her abusive marriage and protect her daughters and turns to the least likely person to help, her own mother Patricia. But Patricia is trying to hold on to her wealthy lifestyle with both hands and her daughter and granddaughters don’t fit into those plans. All three generations of women will face their darkest fears over the coming weeks as the world falls apart around them and they will have to reinvent themselves in order to finally find out who they truly are. 

This is a gritty novel that features the darkest parts of the human experience. Both Chelsea and her daughter Ella are trapped in abusive and controlling relationships while Patricia traded her soul long ago for money and status. The random outbursts of violence are intense and gruesome and there are also animal deaths. The author kept The Violence from getting too grim by including some campy elements like Chelsea’s new career as a professional fighter and subtle digs to a past American President and current pop culture. 

Overall, this is a book that is hard to put down. There are plenty of disturbing elements but it’s also a story about family, resilience and being true to yourself. 
4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Delilah S. Dawson has quickly become one of my favorite authors (please don't ask me to list them all, we'll be here all day). So naturally, I knew I would read her latest book, The Violence.

There's a strange plague sweeping across the land. Only, instead of making people sick – it's making them violent. We're not talking slightly beyond normal realms of violence either. We're talking cannibalistic levels of rage and destruction.

Chelsea Martin has been watching the spreading plague with rising anxiety. She worries for her daughters and her mother. None of whom seem adequately equipped to deal with this new threat. Then again, who would be?


The Violence is a heavy-hitting novel – and I mean that in nearly every way possible. For obvious reasons, any novel surrounding a virus or plague will hit hard right now. But The Violence takes it even further.

There were times when this book was honestly tough to read. I think if it wasn't by an author I trust so much, I might have considered putting it down. In some ways, it was like a darker version of Bird Box. Or perhaps I should say that the violence is similar but more outwardly directed. Hopefully, that gives readers an idea of what I'm trying to say here.

This book did more than give me chills. It scared me. As such, I don't think that The Violence is suitable for all audiences, and that's okay. It is still a brilliant book, one that is unafraid of what it is.
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THE VIOLENCE by Delilah S Dawson
Publication Date: 2 / 01 / 2022
Publisher:  Random House Publishing Group / Ballantine 


     Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water (i.e. society). ….  a new pandemic
Is spreading across the world.  This one has been called “The Violence” and makes Covid look 
like a plush, cuddly, teddy bear.  It strikes the victim without warning and causes “storming.”  To the outside observer the infected’s eyes go blank …. as if, no one was there. Then suddenly they fly into a berserker rage, attacking the unlucky person near them, pummeling them with the first available object relentlessly until their target is dead without remorse.  When the “storm” abates the person afflicted has no memory of the outburst.  Intense investigation has revealed it is transmitted by mosquitos and it arises in Florida and other warm weather climes…. but relentlessly spreads throughout the world.  A vaccine is developed, but falls into the hands of privateers, costing $30,000 a shot.
    Delilah Dawson uses this horrific backdrop to explore themes that are personally relevant to her own life.  Taking center stage, the insidious and devastating nature of abuse, both physical and mental, are explored using the lives of three generations of women.  The story masterfully unfolds with the point of view of three major characters.  Chelsea Martin is the major protagonist.  She is trapped in an unhealthy marriage.  Her husband David is both mentally and physically abusive.  His abusive behavior is controlling and manipulative, with the goal of making her feel useless and helpless.  To seek her compliance he can easily escalate to actual choking her into unconsciousness. Her seventeen year-old daughter, Ella, is witness and to a lesser extent the victim of the abuse, and provides a valuable viewpoint in exploration of gender dynamics, effects of abusive trauma, and lengths one will go to for survival. And, she is awakening to the realization that her interactions with her boyfriend is escalating into an abusive relationship. The third viewpoint is visualized through the history, actions and motivations of Chelsea’s mother, Patricia.  The current version of Patricia provides no support for Chelsea … she shows little in the way of love or understanding.  She is selfish and judgmental, and has married her way into wealth and prestige.  Her backstory is complex, but initiated with a physically abusive mother, who threw her out of the home as an eighteen year-old unwed mother. In that incarnation she was known as Patty.
     Sadly, on average it takes seven tries for a woman to finally escape domestic violence. A plan starts to crystallize in Chelsea’s mind.  For the first time in their marriage , when David walks through the front door she provokes rather than placates him.  As expected, his fury results in a brutal beating.  She flees to the bathroom, and behind the locked door calls the hotline that everyone has committed to memory …. and reports that The Violence has infected her husband.  The police arrive and he is wrestled out of the home, kicking ,screaming and cursing.
     Dawson crafts a complex and twisted narrative that unspools the heart-breaking plight of all three women of the family, and the obstacles they must overcome to achieve self actualization and transformation in this harrowing time of their lives.   Chelsea will do anything to protect her two daughters.  Can she actually turn to her selfish and despicable mother for help?  Is her sweet little daughter Brooklyn doomed to repeat the cycle?  Dawson weaves a heart-rendering characterization of the women, that imparts both empathy and ingenuity into their being as real-life and genuine people.  The Violence is a novel of not only survival, but more so of personal growth and empowerment.
     Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review.
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