Cover Image: The Damage Done

The Damage Done

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Member Reviews

The Damage Done asks the thought provoking question of "what if physical violence against other people was no longer an option?" In a world where this becomes the case overnight, Landweber imagines the implications of a violence free world through multiple POV's.
I loved the concept of this, but I felt as though I didn't truly connect with any of the characters throughout. Though it was interesting, it felt as if it was simply that: an exploration of an interesting idea, rather than an exploration of characters in a different setting. This was still an enjoyable read, but I did feel it had room for something... more.
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I really enjoyed this novel. All the aspects of a great read were found within these pages. Be sure to pick up this title!
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Here is a novel with a very interesting premise: what if it were suddenly impossible, the world over, to commit physical violence against another person? For instance, bullets from guns just hang in the air, bombs might damage property, but do no one injury, and people are unable to strike others. 

What would people do?  We know enough about human behavior, especially through social media, to expect that some folks would start performing some dangerous experiments. Those who are filled with hate would surely try to find other ways to affect pain and hardship on others. 

In The Damage Done, author Michael Landweber presents this interesting premise, along with well drawn characters I found to be either likable or intriguing. This is well-written,  with good pacing, and I enjoyed it. 

My one reservation about this slim novel is that it just skims the surface of its topic. This may be as intended, however, since this does create food for thought. Would there be a period of chaos, in some places, where laws and their enforcement would have to be reinvented? Would we need as many laws, or different laws?  At first, it seems that there would be more peace in the world, but would there really be less oppression? 

I enjoyed the writing and the premise of this short speculative novel, and would welcome an expansion or continuation of this topic, in the future.

Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for this intriguing experience!

(goodreads 3.5 rating)
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I didn't like this as much as I'd hoped. I liked that it's a "thinker" at times, and like many interesting stories, makes one realize that getting what one wishes for often does not produce the anticipated outcome. It tackles some big topics, but it wasn't as compelling as I'd like.

Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!
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What a read!!! I was kindly gifted an early e-copy in return of an honest review. I loved this! The cover immediately caught my attention & I couldn’t put it down! I would certainly recommend.
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I don't think I've ever read a book like this, super interesting and unique concept!!
I will definitely recommend this book to people who like books with a dystopian vibe.
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Excellent story! Totally engrossing!.  Looking forward to reading more by this author! Could not put this down!
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When I read the premise of this book, I was immediately compelled to read it. 

I wished this story come true. A world without violence, a world where no one can hurt others but, does violence is always physical? 

This book touches so many important topics, socially and politically.  The execution of it was amazing,  I like some stories more than others, I was dragged to Dan, Marcus, Ann, and Gabriela's stories. I'm not giving it 4 stars because I felt there were too many POVs within the book, however, I liked how the author connected them.  

I loved the end of the book, I'm from El Salvador, as well as Gabriela, and imagining a country without violence sounds amazing. My country might not be the best, and I know each country has its own issues. But thinking about a country where you can go out with no fear, or just walk on the streets at night, as my parents tell me they did when they were little, sounds like heaven.
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I really enjoyed this book, both the premise and the execution. I was a little hesitant from reading other reviews but I found the story tied together nicely. 

Character wise I was intrigued by all of the different stories. I could have happily read a book about one or two of the characters, but I didn't find not being able to an issue. Each character had enough about them to make decisions about them and I found myself invested in Empty Shell and Anne's stories. 

The plot is definitely unique, at least I haven't read similar. Surprisingly I wasn't bothered about not knowing the origin of the change, I think because the characters drove the plot so we'll, I didn't need that world making quality. It also meant the book had a good pace and there was always time to fit a chapter in. 

This book was thought provoking, enjoyable and a realistic hypothesis. It explored many important issues and raised philosophical questions. The brutal honesty of Dabs situation and how cruel people can be, combined with the monstrous nature of Jake and the futility of Empty shells situation made for a compelling read. Definitely worth a read. I will be trying some more of the author's work.
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A premise that will have you stood at attention, Damage Done’s central premise is that one moment, all violence in the world ceases, and no one can harm another person again. There were so many interesting concepts that could have been explored; we were given a dictator without power, a pope considering the Ten Commandments, a white supremacist planning an attack, a domestic violence victim. But we also had around ten other POV characters; too many for me. The breadth of POVs became a hindrance as no one story was explored in any detail. The book will make you think, but it didn’t really deliver on the premise.
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intriguing concept and themes explored. i liked how morality was discussed during the novel, and the different characters and their experiences throughout this book. the backstories were very interesting! i've never read anything like this novel, and i don't know if i would pick it up for myself, but it was very unique.
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The Damage Done is about a world where all of a sudden a genie sneezed and no one can ever commit violence against another. Bullets stop in mid air. Bombs don’t go off. Punches don’t land. But, there’s no explanation of how or why this occurs or how the physics works. The author uses this premise to explore a number of different stories from a Sixth grader who is being bullied, a kid in the drug-infested housing projects coping with the dealers and other gangbangers on the stairs, a revolutionary, a dictator, teenagers illegally immigrating to escape violence in El Salvador. Some of the stories overlap with connections between the characters. Others don’t connect. There doesn’t seem to be much point to the story, no resolution, no climax, just magically everything is unicorns and tulips.
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Strong and shiny 4 stars.

What would happen if one day physical violence would not be possible to acquire anymore? If punching, shooting, slashing, stabbing, running over others would just not be possible? Would people be safer? Yes, of course! Would they be happier? Hm... probably, but not necesarily, not everybody.

In the book we follow several different characters from different background. Some have more, some less in common with each other. Nevertheless, each one of these people is trying to understand not what had happened or why, BUT how to live in a new reality. A dictator, who was ruling a country thanks to violence now finds himself helpless and commits a suicide.  Ann, who is a silent victim of domestic violence, finds an enormous strenght in her to start her live over once her husband is not able to hurt her anymore. A black boy, who lost his brother finds the new world uncertain, but decides to take his chance and... just to avoid throwing in a spoiler... let´s say he´s doing a lot of good. 

So the end of violence opens up a whole lot of a new opportunities for people, who were otherwise limited by it. But humans being humans are still cruel, still holding a grudge, still hating others. And if direct killing is not possible, then "we will find a way". Yes, I´m sure they will. It´s in our nature.
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CW⚠️:racism, murder, domestic abuse, attempted rape, torture, homophobia, 

This one was absolutely insane. I loved how in depth the character descriptions were; including the build up of their lives and background. The concept was both amazing and terrifying to imagine happening. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and look forward to any other work done by this author!
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God, I was SO EXCITED to read this as the premise seemed super unique and overall pretty promising. I'm not disappointed in the plot itself, just the writing. At times it feels very dull and lackluster, making it hard for me to remain engaged throughout. It's not a BAD book, just very much not for me.
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Interesting premise, not that violence is eradicated, but that the ability to perpetrate it is removed, it's entirely possible for someone to consider violent acts, but impossible for them to carry them out.

Loved the idea of that, but this didn't explore it beyond the surface, the problem is that there are so many different perspectives to consider, so many characters, and while there is something interesting in all of them, we never get past day three with any of them.  It feels like there were so many things trying to get into the story, that we skimmed over all of them just so they had equal air time.

And then there's the flaw in the concept, it's still possible to do terrible things to people even if you can't hurt them with your own hands, you can still make them walk over broken glass, you can still harm yourself, and you can still arrange circumstance where a person can be killed, you just can't do it directly.

As an exercise in thought, this was superb, and I loved that there were so many different perspectives to look through, I wish that there was a deeper dive into the possibilities here, into the thoughts that so clearly drove the creation of this book.  What we have here is how it started, and how it ended, what would fascinate me is what happened between those two.

This would easily be a four, maybe even a five star if it had been one characters journey through the new landscape, and I'd be interested to read more of the same.
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I did not know what I was expecting from this book, but I thought I would give it a go anyway.  And honestly, it was perfect.  The concept was unique, and the delivery well done.  You could hear each voice individually, which is not something some writers can do when writing from different peoples perspective.  This is a must read, without a doubt.
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Very clever and thought provoking

"If you give someone a gun, expect them to shoot you."
-- from Malcolm's thesis

Imagine a world where violence is simply no longer possible. Where everytime you want to kick someone, you somehow end up gently nudging that person with your foot. Sounds great, yeah?

Well, not really. Because that's just suppressing the physical act of violence. But true violence - the wish to do someone harm - starts long before your physical body comes into play. It starts in your mind.

And it doesn't have to end with the body. There's an old saying about bricks and stones, but I think I can safely say that most of us disagree: words can hurt. They do, they have weight and meaning, and psychological violence is as real as it's physical counterpart. We might call it cruelty, but you know, a rose by any name ...

This is the world in The Damage Done. Suddenly, physical violence seems no longer possible. But this won't stop people from trying.

"The answer was that they would always be able to hurt each other."
-- about 7 % in

Michael Landweber thoroughly explores these possibilities. His cast includes people that are suddenly no longer on the receiving end of this violence, as well as people who would like to dish it out, but no longer can.

And while his band of protagonists seems to be a rag tag group of people, they all serve as a canvas for the reader - or rather: for different parts of the reader's mind. The part of us that is angry sometimes and wants to lash out. The part that lives in fear on being on the receiving end. The part that hates limits and tries to find creative ways around them.

As you explore more and more of this radically changed world, you also start to think more and more about the implications these ideas bring. And I'm pretty sure that's what Michael wants the reader to do: It's not just a tale for entertainment, it's food for thought.

"Lupus est homo homini"
-- Asinaria, by Titus Maccius Plautus

To paraphrase Plautus - you can muzzle the wolf, but you can't take the wolf from man. It will always be there.

The fates of the characters are interwoven in different ways, some more overt than others. I enjoyed piecing together the covert ones, some of them rather clever.

Apropos clever: This tale is a clever thought experiment. Would it be really unrestrictedly good if violence would no longer work? Would there be downsides to it as well? I'll leave the final decision to you.

"But they don't matter. Not to you. Not to me. You know what matters?
You matter. Who you are. Who you want to be."
-- sage advice, 79 % in


After all is said and done, I've just read a very clever novel that plays with a novel idea, turning it round and round, watching it from every side. It's exciting in it's own way.

Sadly, it's almost too clever. The constant changing perspectives made it hard for me to catch onto something, constantly breaking my immersion. I've experiences many tales, and while a lot of them are interwoven, I never got the feeling that I had now a firm grasp about THE story. The last page left me a little empty. I'm just missing some final piece - but a great read, thought provoking, 4 stars!
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Have you ever imagined what the world would be like without violence? Michael Landweber has given it a lot of thought. 
In this novel, violence is no longer possible. The rules for this require a suspension of belief. It’s basically just magic that defies physics and logic. We’re introduced to a diverse cast of characters as they navigate this new world. 
There’s Dab, a bullied middle schooler questioning his sexuality; Marcus, a young black teenager whose older brother is the last victim of violence; Ann, a social worker with an abusive, villainous husband. Richard, a professor whose early life is shaped by violence; Gabriela and Cristela, two sisters fleeing violence in El Salvador and attempting a dangerous migration into the United States; a North Korean writer called The Empty Shell who is waiting to be tortured in prison; and Julien, a white supremacist planning a mass killing. 
We also get vignettes from the perspective of the president, the pope, and others. There are so many characters that it’s hard to truly connect with all of them. In order to fit all of their stories, they all feel a bit rushed. 
I appreciated the author’s attempts to include all of these perspectives, but I didn’t find them all to be necessary. For example, there’s a brief chapter on two fishermen that doesn’t really connect to the rest of the book and didn’t really add anything to the story. 
The idea of a world where violence is impossible is an interesting concept and Landweber is skilled at imagining it, I just wish the book had been a little more focused.
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Michael Landweber is an author that I found on NetGalley. There is a twist in every novel and it's always shocking. I can't wait to read every single one of his books.
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