Cover Image: The Violence

The Violence

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wow! This book will take you on a ride.  One of the elements is domestic abuse and the author does a fastastic job in telling this story.  
Many thanks to Random House Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
The Violence was a book that I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did. After just living through one pandemic I didn't think that I would really enjoy reading about a made up one as well as seeing the current one being referenced now and then, but thanks to the brilliant and emotionally potent story telling by Delilah S. Dawson I have almost nothing but praise. Set in post covid Florida, The Violence follows three generations of women, each with a past laced with abuse and fear. Their struggle reaches a head when a new disease- the Violence- starts spreading around the world, causing people to randomly go on murderous rampages without control.
Right off the bat, I have to say that the story that Dawson told here is hard to read at times. There is no holding back when it comes to different kinds of abuse and how it impacts your life beyond what happens behind closed doors. Dawson writes from a place of personal experience and the honesty with which these topics are shown were hard to read at times for me (I mention this not as a detractor but just a warning for potential readers). The story is very raw and very open about what abuse can look like and how it can slowly wear away at a person as it continues and the conversations that characters had about it were very emotionally impactful. 
I would say that the best parts of the story were the three main characters, I cared so much about every single one and I desperately just wanted them to find some semblance of safety and happiness. Chelsea especially and her journey to healing and reclaiming her identity was wonderful, I loved her relationship with her daughters and the love for them that she had for them. 
The pacing for the story itself was fine- there were definitely parts in the beginning where in lagged slightly but it never failed to quickly pick up and keep going. There were a couple of moments and lines (especially towards the end) that came off a little bit cheesy, but honestly after everything these characters have been through, they deserved it. I was never bored or unsatisfied with where the plot went and while the dialogue (mainly Brooklyn's dialogue) at times felt awkward, it was never super prolonged to the point of bothering me too much.
In general, I think this was a wonderful story told about abuse and healing and finding strength in not only yourself but in the people around you. I can't reccomend it to everyone, but I'll definitely keep my eye out for more future Delilah S. Dawson projects in the future.
Was this review helpful?
The Violence takes place in 2025, not long after we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After years of variants a new virus hits.  Known as "The Violence", it causes the affected to have a sudden burst of extreme, uncontrolled rage and attack without provocation.  The attacks are off-the-track violent. The virus can cause a seemingly harmless person to suddenly attack until there is nothing left but a bloody heap. It does not discriminate, the infected attack husbands, wives, children, pets, strangers with no rhyme or reason.

The main character, Chelsea Martin is an abused wife with two young girls who live in fear of their father. This new and violent virus gives her a way to escape and the only chance she has.
The best insight at the beginning of this novel is when the author describes what the government is doing to help those affected.  Unlike COVID-19, where some have decided that closing business, telling us to isolate and to wear masks is akin to mind control and a violation of their rights, the government meets very little resistance to these same guidelines.

Why? Businesses lose, people stay home and away from anyone because this virus can make anyone a killer. You can’t trust your family or the sweet old lady next store. As described in the opening where a little old lady at a warehouse store beats a stranger to death with an industrial size jar of salad dressing.
And unlike COVID, where testing is free as is the vaccine, people report anyone they think has The Violence and they are carted away and locked up. A vaccine is made but it cost $30,000 to get it so only the rich are vaccinated.  

This is one wild ride, and just real enough to scare the heck out of you.  

The Violence has been released on February 01, 2022.  Take a look, I think you will get a kick out of it.

Thanks to @Netgalley, Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine, and Delilah Dawson for the opportunity to read this eArc in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion
Was this review helpful?
The Violence, by Delilah S Dawson.. is interesting to say the least. It shows how things that look perfect are probably not. Chelsea Martin seems to have to all.. A perfect family and a perfect life. But look deeper and it is nothing like thatZ She has two beautiful daughters, an abusive husband and a life she wishes she could run from. Her mother, Patricia is no help and is less then supportive. This book takes pace some time after Covid and starts with a new pandemic The Violence. I wasn’t a huge fan of the endless talk about Covid and a subtle view on how things were handled initially. I get it, I am guessing the author didn’t like the president or the governor of Florida during the early times of the pandemic. It’s a fiction story but I felt that reading about Covid , while still in Covid was a bit strange. The new pandemic, The Violence, is a very interesting concept. I enjoyed the way the author created this pandemic and how it played out in the story. It was very original. I love how the pandemic showed everyone’s true colors and how Chelsea, her mom and her daughters fought to stay alive during this horrific time. I loved how she used Florida as the setting and showing how strange things can be here. All in all I really liked the story and most of the characters.. some grew on me and they all changed during it. Most for the better.. This was a four star read for me. I definitely liked the authors writing and would read more books by her.. I want to thank Netgalley and the author for my copy for an honest review.. it was a pleasure to read and review this book.. I will say, there are many triggers in this book, the author says that right away. I didn’t have issues with them, so it wasn’t a difficult read.
Was this review helpful?
This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
An pandemic of an ultimate disgust.  This virus impacts anyone and everyone as the rich find a vaccine available only to the ultra rich at $30K per vaccine, nothing like division of classes.  This virus causes outbursts of violence and aggressive behavior at random times.  There are very disturbing scenes in this book so the reader needs to be prepared.  Although this is more than epidemic apocalypse scenario: it’s about women’s evolving, changing when the violent threats knock their door. finding strength they did not realize they had within them.   The women have to act differently to survive and they test their endurance to see how far they can go to survive.  Chelsea Martin is married to her high school sweetheart. They have two daughters and looking in from the outside, things look copasetic. Their house is not a happy one. Chelsea and her oldest daughter, Ella walk on eggshells. Her husband is abusive and has controlled everything in her life.  .  We see three generations of women realizing they’re much more than the men around them say they’re worth..  When the main character decides to join a WWE-esque fighting ring for infected persons to earn money to flee her abusive husband this also creates the idea of what classes do to survive.  The upper class are now moving into cooler areas in the north of US or Iceland since the virus is transmitted by the wonderful mosquito   The plot is going to pull you in big time. This novel starts strong and doesn’t let up, which is impressive for an almost 500-page book. There are some triggers throughout (domestic abuse, animal death, murder, and a plethora of other things), but it is necessary to convey this story properly.

Thanks to NetGalley, Random House-Del Rey, and Delilah Dawson for a gifted copy of this book
Was this review helpful?
THE VIOLENCE is a new take on the theme of a plague ravaging a nation and how that illness impacts not only our characters, but those living around the world. I loved that Dawson gave readers the chance to meet our three main characters and narrators through alternating chapters pre-Violence, in addition to watching how they deal with living with this illness. The interconnectedness of the narrators never truly fades, even as they experience different events on their own. Some of these events are a bit hard to believe, but I thought Dawson’s overall take was entertaining and interesting to read about. I was pleasantly surprised that a cast of characters I wasn’t particularly connected with in the beginning morphed into a family I needed to follow around. My main issue with this book was the pacing ebbing and flowing between slow and medium. It should be noted that I picked this book up during a busy time, so that might not be the same for all readers.

🎧: I switched to the audio about halfway through the story because of time constraints and I actually think I enjoyed this part of the experience more! The narration worked perfectly to keep my attention and have me listening for longer.

A huge thank you to Random House and Del Rey Books for my gifted copy!
Was this review helpful?
One random day in the future, in a supermarket a woman picks up a value size container of thousand island dressing, caved in a stranger's head with it, and calmly went back to shopping. It is The Violence. A new disease carried by mosquitos that turns a normal person into a homicidal manic. Once the rage passes, the person has no memory of what happened. We are following three generations of women and their struggle to survive. When your world turns upside down and the person next to you can murder you without warning, how do you find safety?

This was a great read. I was fully invested in the characters from the start. I wanted them to survive and get out of situations they were in. It was wonderful watching these women find their voice in a messed up world. Recommend!
Was this review helpful?
A gruesome thriller that combines elements of science fiction and domestic drama to create a study of family, abusive situations, and survival. 

A new disease has emerged in a post Covid world and it quickly becomes a pandemic that causes sudden and inexplicable violent outbursts. Usually someone or something ends up dead. The rager has no control over his or her behavior and returns to normal after the episode is over. People are fearful of the condition and of each other. No place and no one is safe as little is known about its epidemiology. The story is told through the eyes of 3 generations of woman — a grandmother, a mother, and two young daughters. All have experienced domestic abuse and all need to be saved.

Although quite graphic and very disturbing at times, this was a well-written exploration of the cycles of abuse as seen through the eyes of the main characters. The descriptions of how they dealt with the trauma of trying to survive The Violence were inspiring and the level of tension was high. The people they met along the way provided a reminder that there are still many good and decent folks left in the world despite harrowing times. Love, protection, and support become the true holy grail. Each woman shows determination and courage as she navigates this scary pandemic hoping to be freed from everything they had known before and create a new family where everyone feels valued and heard. Lots of social commentary and a few political asides were blended into the narrative as well.
I actually liked this one quite a bit but admit to glossing over the really gory hideous details. Did the women achieve the redemption and regain the self-esteem they wanted — you will have to read it to find out.

Thank you to NetGalley and Del Ray Books for this e-book ARC to read, review, and recommend.
Was this review helpful?
As a new pandemic begins to spread, three generations of women must grapple with their place in this changing world. The pandemic, known as the Violence, causes sudden bouts of violent rage that results in the infected typically killing whoever is in their path. As things become worse, Chelsea, her oldest daughter Ella, and her narcissistic mother Patricia, realize though that there are worst things out there than the Violence.

When I started reading THE VIOLENCE I was a little weary about a book based around a pandemic and I didn’t quite know what to expect. However as I began reading, I quickly realized that the pandemic plot line barely scratched the surface of what this book would really be about. 

Delving into difficult topics surrounding domestic abuse, generational trauma, and the expectations placed on young girls and women, this book effected me far more than I thought it would. While unsettling and difficult to read at certain parts, I thought Dawson’s writing vividly portrayed the cycle of abuse, both from a physical and emotional standpoint. This book also illustrated how abuse and trauma can impact our relationships across generations, highlighting the tense relationship between Chelsea and Patricia, and the fragile one between Chelsea and Ella.

I also appreciated the social commentary that Dawson included, especially since it carried many of the themes and issues we have seen the last few years. I had so many feelings about each of the characters and enjoyed seeing the transformation of each of the women. I could not have predicted how much I would love this book, but it was definitely a favorite for me in the end.

This book obviously has a lot of violence in it (ahem, the title…) but I’ve also listed a few content warnings below that I think are important to note.

CW: domestic abuse, death of an animal, intimidation, gaslighting, parental abuse
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book!!!

2025 another pandemic that causes people to become violent and the vaccine is 30,000.00. A little too much for your average American.

I went into this pretty blind and I’m so glad I did.
Anything that can be a trigger is a trigger in this book so be warned. I’m looking forward to what this author writes next.

Thanks too NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Penguin Random House/Del Rey for the NetGalley ARC!

I picked up this book because of the cover and the author - Delilah S. Dawson has written a couple of my favorite Star Wars novels. But the words inside kept me reading well past midnight because I HAD to see how it all ends. 

Mild spoiler: this is a very Florida book, and I firmly believe that some of the plot points in this novel that are turning others off are the very reasons why I kept reading. The murder by salad dressing bottle at Costco, the WWE-style Violence Fighting Ring, "Florida Woman," the superb descriptions of Florida seasons and aesthetics, and the juxtaposition of a second pandemic raging in the Sunshine State while the rest of the country moves on.

It all just makes so much sense for someone who was born and raised in Florida, particularly in the Tampa Bay area, where is this book is set.

The Violence was hard to read at times - content warnings warn of domestic violence, animal abuse, and graphic violence. But it also has so much heart, a little humor, and an extremely relatable study of the complex and ever-evolving relationships between mothers and daughters and the brute strength of women backed into corners.

The Violence is a thriller, horror, and literary family drama all rolled into one blood-stained package. This quote is forever seared into my brain:

"You aren't small. You don't have to make yourself small. You are allowed to have feelings. You are allowed to experience rage. You are allowed to take up space. You are allowed to be irrational and loud and ugly. You don't have to make yourself less. Not ever again."
Was this review helpful?
What I like about this book is that it manages to be a satire to both covid and domestic violence at the same time. The fictional story takes place a few years in the future, after the covid pandemic, when people start to suffer from yet another pandemic - this time around, people that are bitten by infected mosquitoes get infected with "the violence" and can have outbursts of violence that are hard to control. 

Meanwhile, Chelsea is a mother that has two kids and has to survive her aggressive husband. She also has a mother that lives to criticizes her choices. The Violence appears as a possible way to escape her routine.
Was this review helpful?
What a fabulous read! The premise of this book is so fascinating and it totally hooks you. 

Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.

But Chelsea's husband has turned their house into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, slowly and steadily cutting off her independence and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is--and then a mysterious illness; a mosquito born illness that sweeps the nation. An illness that attacks anyone. It results in explosive bouts of animalistic rage where the infected savagely attack anyone in their path.

For Chelsea Martin however the Violence gives her the means to escape. When the Violence begins to unfold Chelsea hatches a plan for her and her daughters to escape to her mother's gated community for safety. But plans go awry when the violence hits close to home.

This is a compulsive, heart pounding thriller which is so much more. It's also about the women who stand up for themselves and pave their own path.

This 500 odd page novel is so good that it races by because it has been written so well. 5 Huge stars for this book.
I can't wait to see what the author has in store for us next.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
There are three generations of women, Patricia, Chelsea, and Ella that are victims of abuse. On top of that, there is another pandemic going on. I wasn't sure how well I would like this book at the beginning because it isn't a comfortable read. I'm so glad I kept going because it turns out to be a very good story. Some parts of it are disturbing but overall a great storyline that is well worth reading.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a lot to take in. A little on the long winded side. i did enjoy the futuristic feel, and the circumstances surround 'The Violence."
We get a little gory at times too. Definitely worth checking out.
Was this review helpful?
The year is 2025 and there is a new virus spreading called The Violence. This pandemic causes people to guessed it….violent. This is a pretty interesting concept and I am all for virus type of books, but while I did enjoy The Violence for the most part, I also disliked it quite a bit too.  

The story is told through the eyes of three generations of women. Chelsea, her daughter Ella and Chelsea’s mother, Patricia. To say they have a lot of baggage and trauma is one thing, but this story really goes overboard in the delivery and execution. Men seem to be a huge joke and full of stereotypes such as pervert, abuser, rapist and on the other side of the coin we have women who are viewed as weak and meek, easily taken advantage of and abused. Let’s not even talk about my all time favorite “cop bad” theme. Oh and to top it all off is of course the dreaded presidential digs, impeachment speeches and so forth. I really really dislike when authors do this. If I wanted something political I would have read a political thriller. And…..there is more. Sighs. I was doing some major eye rolling over the young adult buzzword catch phrases such as gaslighting, narcissistic, patriarchy, slavery, poor people. It was so bad I felt like I was reading a Reddit post at times. This really really annoyed me big time. On the other hand I did have to laugh at the use of the phrase “got-damn” which is a pretty urban phrase to use for an over middle aged white judge, plus the use of the phrase “check yo self.” I must admit I did go on Youtube and I did bust out some Ice Cube - Check Yo Self” Check yo self before you wreck yo self….

And then
Wrestling? Seriously? *Slams head on desk*

So why did I continue reading, you ask? It is quite simple. The writing was absolutely phenomenal. Delilah S. Dawson really knows how to set a scene and draw her readers in. If you can get over the eye rolling scenes, that is. I am not really sure I would classify this as a horror. It reads more like a Dystopian to me. Also, the animal deaths were a bit much and probably the only thing I found to be “horrorish” in this story. 

While this story may not have been my absolute favorite, I would definitely pick up another book by this author
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this was one wild read! This fantastical read focuses on the epidemic of violence suddenly striking a nation, where no person is really safe.
Was this review helpful?
From the outside, Chelsea Martin lives an enviable life. Her house is perfectly decorated. Her daughters are adorable. She doesn’t have to work. The price she pays for this is by following every single rule set by her violent husband. She and her daughters have to meet him the instant he comes home, and she has to have a perfectly chilled beer ready for him. The consequences for breaking these rules are frightening and painful. But then, a terrifying pandemic arrives that gives Chelsea the chance she needs to get herself and her daughters out from under his thumb. The Violence, by Deliah S. Dawson, is an unsettling story about what might happen if everyone has to worry about the threat of being beaten to death if someone snaps.

In a brief preface, we see the first attack from what is later called the Violence. A woman in a grocery store attacks and kills another shopper then, after it’s over, goes back to shopping like nothing happened. We’re then whisked away to an ordinary day in the life of Chelsea Martin. She worries. A lot. Her essential oils aren’t selling. Her husband is terrifying. And then her narcissistic mother drops by, unannounced, to make everything just a little bit worse. It’s a lot to take, right off the bat. I wanted to yoink Chelsea and her daughters right out of the narrative before anything can happen to them—but this is not that kind of book. Thankfully, Chelsea comes up with her own plan to get out of her husband’s control. When details about the Violence start to spread, she decides to risk her safety by breaking all of her husband’s rules, then calling the police hotline to have him taken away by claiming that he has the disease.

Everything goes to plan, except that Chelsea’s husband has a cop buddy who is almost as frightening as he is. His threatening questions spook Chelsea so much that she bolts with her children. And then The Violence gets even weirder, as if a book where people blackout when they lose their temper, beat someone to death, and then wake up to a horror scene. There’s an amateur wrestling league, rich people avoiding mosquitos, camps for people with the Violence, roving teams of vaccinators, wrestling coaches who double as therapists, and lots of time in isolation for the characters to think about how they ended up in their situations. There are also plenty of references in The Violence to how COVID-19 has changed us: taking precautions or ignoring them, conspiracy theories about vaccines, society changing versus society refusing the change. Unlike Covid (despite its lethality and Long Covid), the Violence is impossible to sweep under the rug.

There’s a lot to process in this book. I finished it a week about and I’m still processing how I feel about it. There is a factual error that bugged me (there is no capsaicin in ground black pepper) and some facile plot resolution, but I found that I actually liked a lot of this novel. I loved seeing Chelsea find her power in the wrestling ring among some found family. The ending is also deeply satisfying (if in a very unethical and unsettling way). I guess my conclusion is that this was a weirdly entertaining book, as long as you don’t think too hard about the repercussions of all the violence.
Was this review helpful?
So…I sometimes like to start my reviews off with the first paragraph or page of the book to give readers a feel for the writing style and story. I need to start this review off with a warning. Ms. Dawson begins the book with an author’s note. "The Violence deals with themes of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and includes animal death and graphic violence. Some of these scenes may be distressing for some readers. Writing this book–and examining these themes–has been part of my own healing journey."

The author’s note goes on to briefly explain Ms. Dawson’s personal experience growing up with an emotionally and physically abusive father, and specifically notes “Chelsea’s nights in the kitchen are based on what my mother and I experienced at his hands.”

I appreciated the upfront warning from the author. Seriously – be prepared when you pick up this book. While some pieces did feel like a dystopian fantasy novel, many other aspects are all too real and difficult to read. This isn’t the entire novel (although the repercussions of abuse are felt throughout the entire story), and I felt like the graphic violence toned down as the story moved on.

The Violence takes place in the near future – 2025. There’s a new pandemic hitting the world, aptly named the Violence. They don’t know how it spreads, or who is infected until it’s too late. There’s a vaccine, but it is ridiculously expensive and only the wealthiest can access it. The Violence is really a backdrop to the main story, which is the journey of three women – specifically three generations – each one trying to overcome her own obstacles and find her way.

Part one was a slow build up, and I think the most difficult to read. From the introduction, we know that the subject of abuse is a very personal one from Ms. Dawson, and she draws from her own experience to write pieces of the narrative that chronicles Chelsea’s abusive marriage that we see from both Chelsea’s point of view and her daughter Ella’s. We also find seventeen-year-old Ella in a relationship that eerily echos her parents. In addition, we’ve got Chelsea’s narcissistic mother Patricia. She’s fought hard for her “perfect” life and has little sympathy for anyone else.

After part one, hang on for a wild ride as the Violence continues to spread. Chelsea, Ella, and Patricia each find themselves in uncharted territory, facing their own demons as they struggle to survive in this new pandemic. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the plot. While sometimes the story felt like it was going a little over the top, I appreciated the women’s struggles and their story arcs to overcome their personal demons. I enjoyed each of these three characters in their own way – even unlikeable Patricia grew on me as her barriers broke down and her layers peeled away.

While overall The Violence is a dystopian/sci-fi read, you can tell that the story is also a personal journey for the author, and ultimately the tale of breaking the cycle of abuse.
Was this review helpful?