Cover Image: The Violence

The Violence

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Member Reviews

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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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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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
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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!
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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!
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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.
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