Cover Image: The Violence

The Violence

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Member Reviews

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
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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A thank you to Netgalley for sharing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What to say about this one that hasn't been covered in the plethera of raving reviews? Not a lot. Won't bother with a recap, but will reiterate that it's pretty damn awesome, especially for a 500+ page debut. Not quite dystopian nor is it a zombie mob story, however there are certainly echos of both. Feminist to the core and all the more stronger for the author's disclosure of her history of horrific abuse before the story started rather than in the postscript beause it set the framework and solidified the knowledge based on her experience. As the title so aptly illustrates, it's violent, gory, and at times downright gruesome, so it won't be for everyone. Nevertheless, it's one of the best books I've read so far this year. Also excellent on audio and I blew through the 18 hours at lightning speed. Highly recommended for those not scared off.
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Wow this book blew me away. Major trigger warnings for those triggered by physical and sexual abuse, harm to animals and well lots of violence, but the author makes sure to include a forward explaining that the novel contains all of these triggers. With that being said, I enjoyed this story immensely. The characters were well developed and I enjoyed watching them grow as the story unfurled. It was creepy, sad and at times downright terrifying, but I loved it every step of the way. Some of the characters were horrible versions of humanity, and while most didn't end up redeeming themselves in the end...some eventually did. I was on the edge of my seat from page one...I had to know what was going to happen next. Highly recommend.

Many thanks to @netgalley and the publisher for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Sometimes I am blown away by available books on NetGalley, and The Violence is one of those books that truly delivers!

Not for the faint of heart, as there are several gruesome scenes, The Violence centers around one specific family as another plague begins taking over our country.

Referred to as simply the violence, once a person contracts this virus they are prone to blacking out and committing a horrific act, with no recollection of what transpired. 

I definitely recommend this book to horror and dystopian fans
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This is a different kind of pandemic.  This one has no known cure, can affect anyone, anywhere.  It causes death to those that encounter it.  No one knows how to cure it or stop it.  No mask, no social distancing slows it or stops it.  No one knows what to do, going out of your home could get you killed.  Can the violence be stopped?
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Delilah S. Dawson once again demonstrates her incredible skill as an author capable of heavy lifting while also entertaining, this time by tackling the unfortunately always timely issue of domestic violence as set against the background of "the Violence," a mysterious infection that causes people to lash out violently at anyone in their presence. Starting with the blunt and personal foreword from Dawson, readers brave enough to take this journey along with main character Chelsea Martin will come out the other side stronger.
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This book is brutal, so beware of the trigger warnings: animal abuse, domestic abuse, death, violence and many others. 
The idea of the book was really, really interesting. I did enjoy this book, even though it felt a little bit too long at some points and I struggled getting into it.
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“The Violence” comes with a content warning from the author that is certainly appropriate. This book is not for every reader.  It is dark and difficult, a portrayal of abuse and power.  It contains physical and mental abuse, bullying, and rape.
If you are still reading this review, then take heart, the book is also a story of resilience, humanity, healing, and hope.  There are characters to hate and characters to support, ones that are incredibly evil and others that are wonderfully self-sufficient. 
I received a review copy of “The Violence” from Delilah S. Dawson, Random House Publishing Group, and Ballantine Books. This is a difficult and challenging book, but it brings a social problem, a catastrophe to the forefront that must be confronted in all its terribleness. 
I cannot give this book "five stars" because it is NOT for every reader, but for those who are prepared to read "The Violence," it will be a thought provoking five-star read.
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I really enjoyed this, despite it scaring me all to hell. I'm going to start checking homicide rates on a monthly basis. 

The characters were good and I loved the backstory of Patricia and Chelsea and what made them the way they are..This reminded me of Stephen King in the early days, and I don't use his name lightly in a review.

What a fabulous TV series this would be.
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Well this book was wholly unexpected and so was here for it. It was so unique and original and quite frankly like nothing I have read before. I loved the Originality of this one but be warned this one is not for the faint of heart.
Thank you for an advanced copy!
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