Cover Image: Glimmer


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Glimmer by Marjorie B. Kellogg is a pseudo-dystopian novel set in New York City in 2110, where climate change has altered the city's landscape, mostly flooded and practically destroyed. Those who could escape from it did, and those left behind bonded and created some sort of faction - ala Water World - called dens. 

The titular character Glimmer is simply a name that she gave herself and who seemed to have lost her memory—narrating the grim situation of the city and the world entire,  and her life in Unca Joe den. I do love Glimmer as a character. She's very likable, smart, and very determined. She is a young adult that makes excellent choices.

The world-building created by the author here is a scenario that will make you realize that we humans are the most vulnerable on this planet, and we need to get our shit together before it's too late. Some of the things mentioned here are happening now in some parts of the world. The most recent example is when the Covid19 pandemic started, and people drove in numbers and hoarded supplies. It's selfishness that corrupted people. In Glimmer, it's worse, so just imagine that.

It took me a while to finish Glimmer. The first half was sluggish and not as engaging, but the premise is interesting enough for me to push through with it. After the very slow beginning, the pacing started to pick up, and the story just bulldozed into something scary, exciting, and thought-provoking. There are a lot of great scenes here, particularly when the group got together to move into a new home - Uhm, within the city as well. It was heart-racing and heartwarming altogether. 

I do love the relevance of this book on what's happening in the world now. I love the research that went into it because they are all realistic, and some are even happening now.  You just have to persevere with its slow pacing initially, but I promised that it delivers a good and pretty solid story overall. The ending was a bit abrupt, but it really won't matter by the time you finish it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Published October 19th 2021 by Daw Books

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Daw Books, via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.
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Glimmer by Marjorie B Kellogg is a recommended character driven climate science fiction novel set in NYC in 2110.

Rising sea levels, superstorms, and a changing climate have left much of the city  wrecked and/or flooded. Those who could fled the city. The survivors left behind have banded into their own social support structures called dens. Members of the dens live on the upper floors of buildings and work together to find supplies and food, while protecting each other. Glimmer, a name she gave herself after she lost her memory, is a young woman living in this dystopian future. She is part of one of the oldest dens, Unca Joe, and has her friends and support system there. It is an unpredictable life, but every now and then Glimmer senses that she recognizes something from before. But when it seems that another group is planning some attack against her den perhaps she does need to consider a change.

This is a character driven novel above all else and it succeeds in that regard as the characters are fully realized and placed into this dystopian future. They are not, however, relatable or very engaging. The world building is very good also. However, it is also a very slow, tedious, even paced novel that takes a certain amount of determination to continue reading. I started and stopped this novel three times before I made myself finish it. In the end it is okay, but there have been better cli-sci-fi novels with quicker paces that will provide the same message.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of DAW.
The review will be published on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, and Amazon.
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Unfortunately, I didn't like this one. I felt a little confused about what had happened in the world when the book starts. I pieced together flooding and an epidemic but I didn't feel close to the characters or the dire straights they were in. Not a good one for me.
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Okay let me get this out of the way: Glimmer has a slow start. In fact, I complained a little that I needn't know the details of every post-apocalyptic block of Manhattan.  But if you're into cli-fi, I promise it is worth pushing through. Now that we've gotten that bit out of the way, I will tell you why I was so glad that I kept on reading!

►Look, if this book doesn't scare the bejeezus out of you, Idk what will. It is more than plausible, frankly. It's probable that this mess is where the world is headed. It's very eerie, because the author does a phenomenal job of showing the evolution, even though the story we are reading takes place quite a few years down the road. And not only does the book showcase the environmental/physical ramifications, it illustrates exactly how humanity would behave. And spoiler, it isn't pretty. Which leads me to my next point....

►It is beyond relevant. Remember how people reacted a year ago when we couldn't find toilet paper? Multiply that by all the things. Turns out, mankind is pretty gross. I mean, even now, people won't put on some damn cloth to save the lives of others, so. My point is, the way humanity is shown here is on freaking point. Sure, there are some great folks! Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of good in the world (in this fictional world and our own, to be sure). But wow, there are a lot of selfish and bad people. Glimmer does not sugarcoat that at all, which I appreciated. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the world, it turns out it isn't just the elements you're battling against. When there aren't enough resources to go around, things get rough, and fast. Which will again segue into my next bullet point...

►This is so thought provoking. I mean, not only should you probably be thinking "oh crap we need to get it together in regards to climate change", but it makes you consider the person you'd be in the shoes of Glimmer or her cohorts at Unca Joe. Or, perhaps, whether you'd even be among them. Maybe you'd be in one of the other groups, for better or for worse. Maybe you'd have ended up on the mainland, or in the rich people neighborhood. But no matter who you were, the facts still stood: there was water everywhere, precious few resources to go around, and a constant struggle to survive.

►I really enjoyed Glimmer and her group. When we meet Glimmer, she's not even sure who she is, or really anything before her life at Unca Joe. But we know that she is scrappy and smart and determined to survive. She's a great friend, and cares about others, but she's still very aware of the hard choices that constantly face her and the rest of the group. It's nice to see the concept of "found family" despite all the hardship.

►The worldbuilding was very well done. Even though we don't completely know what is happening beyond Manhattan, it's all certainly acknowledged. The author does an incredible job of painting a desperate, yet hopeful atmosphere, and while I was a little distracted by all the detail at the start, it really served the rest of the story well, as I could absolutely picture where Glimmer and company were, and what obstacles they were facing.

Bottom Line: I love a survival story. I love a "no good choices" story. And I definitely love a thought provoking story with characters you want to root for. This book, it has it all.
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I requested this one because it might be a 2021 title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one rather than push myself to finish the digital copy on my phone only to give it a poor review.
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