Cover Image: The Deading

The Deading

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Member Reviews

I received this from Netgalley for an honest review.

The Deading left me feeling rather ambivalent. While parts of the book were engaging, the overall lack of clarity and vague storyline left me frustrated. The protagonist, Kumi, declares she's not interested in the "deading," yet birds and animals around her are inexplicably dying. The adults' response to this phenomenon, turning it into a goth ritual, seemed implausible and lacked parental responsibility.

The prose was enjoyable, but as the story delved into sci-fi territory, my interest waned. The unanswered questions about the deading's targets, the cult's formation, and other plot elements left me unsatisfied. Additionally, the narration's shift in perspectives without clear identification of speakers added to the confusion.

While The Deading wasn't terrible, it fell short of expectations. It had potential but ultimately failed to deliver a cohesive and compelling narrative.

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This was so good, I kept turning pages until the very end. It was emotional, it was a city attacked by an infection, it was gripping.
“If you want to stay, you have to die.”

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The beginning has so so much potential but the rest of the novel delved into an entirely different plot. I DNFed this one.

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This reads as if my 60-year-old father decided to write a book about my 18-year-old brother. Do with that what you will. Omg, it felt like my dad made a TikTok account. 🙃🫠

That being said, this was interesting. You can tell Mr. Belardes knows what he's talking about. He's a scientist. He's a scholar. The prose was easy to follow, Genzied-ified, if you will. Hence, me mentioning my dad and TikTok. The concept was interesting. Sentient virus snails that cause you to Lazarus...sign me up for that story. Also, the pacing was surprisingly good.

But the characters...I'm hard pressed to tell you one I liked. I didn't mind 2ish, one and a half. 😂😅 None of them should come near me, and if that town exists fr, I'm not going bc the people there...ew. 😂

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“If you want to stay, you have to die.”

The Deading by Nicholas Belardes is a gripping, emotional rollercoaster. The novel follows a diverse cast of characters and the resistance against “deading”, a widespread infection that attacks the city of Baywood.

When townspeople are infected, they “dead”: they collapse, writhe, then die only to rise as if nothing happened. This poses an issue for the survivors in the quarantined city, as they either avoid the whole of those who dead or they attempt to blend in, hoping they will not be found out as a non-deader.

Blas is an ordinary high school student who loves to bird; when things begin to turn for the worse, he, his mother, Maria, and his brother, Chango, are forced to confront this new reality in their own backyard (and front yard, street, grocery store, and post office).

But they’re not alone in this. Fellow birders Victor, Ingram, and Kumi must try to survive amidst the very thing infecting both the beloved birds they watch for and the people they once called neighbors.

As people turn to deaders, as Baywood quarantines from the rest of the world, a religion arises from the ashes, worshipping the very thing that terrifies our shifting narrators.

What will become of them? Who will live to see a world without deaders, and who will succumb to the very thing they’re afraid of? Find out in The Deading; you can request it at NetGalley now or preorder it.

I absolutely adored this novel, especially since it’s the first Chicano represented scifi novel I’ve read; as a Chicana, I grew up watching and reading science fiction where so many of the leads were always white or over powered. It never felt like the characters looked or felt like my family, my friends, or me. It was refreshing to read something that had cultural familiarity injected into the novel. This is a novel worth reading, even if at times the point of view change can be a bit confusing without any straightforward indication of who is narrating. Even so, I found myself feeling a range of emotions from fear to anger to sadness to acceptance as I progressed through the novel. I give it a 5⭐️ rating; I cannot wait to see what else Belardes writes in the future, especially if any of it pertains to the characters or world of this novel.

However, if you plan to read this novel, please heed these content warnings: this novel contains body horror, animal and human death, graphic depictions of death and infection, violence, and widespread illness.

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The Deading is a story that seeks enmeshment, to use a small fishing town in the context of a more existential plot. I would compare this favorably to Jeff Vandermeer's work-- a strong focus on the environment as a storytelling element especially, with characters primarily used as prisms through which a phenomenon is observed.

The story opens with a clear sense of initial conflicts that will slowly escalate throughout the novel: the role of youth in society, a sense of exploitation vs cooperation with nature, in groups and out groups (both geographically and interpersonally), and a question of what complex degrees of alienation can be explored. These are first introduced as a group of youths harmlessly performing a social activity of pretending to be dead, a "deading", and how this action is co-opted by adults and the greater community after an ecological disaster that is heavily implied (or to some interpretations) outright stated to originate in a much more unknowable, inhuman tragedy.

I feel there is a great amount of artistic voice in this work, exploring the emotional themes of survival and exploitation by phenomenon. Blas is a shy birder who is a relative outcast to other birders by his economic circumstances, whose skills in birding is constantly questioned through his inability to meet the economic needs to provide what would be considered acceptable proof. He lives with an older brother, Chango, who helps bring in money by working on a mussel farm whose owner ruthlessly exploits the natural, nutrient-dense waters.

Their relationship escalates when the farm suffers an ecological disaster caused by a yet-unknown source. Sourced from this disaster, the owner becomes a vector of it, Chango is influenced in a unique way, and Blas's relative isolation from his community largely allows him to resist the horror overcoming the town after it is cut off from the rest of the world through a government-enforced quarantine. The town's order begins to break down into factions of people who "dead" and those who refuse to "dead", a supernatural action in which a person's body actually dies and then resuscitates which is the titular actioning force under which all characters are subjected to in one way or another. For people who perform in the deading, it becomes a spiritual and communal experience with increasingly complex rituals enforcing people to repeatedly die, with those who do not come back quietly ferreted away and not generally spoken of.

This is a complex narrative through multiple perspectives that I found were best viewed as surfaces on a crystal that is the greater phenomenon. Its pacing alternates between slow and fast, voices intimate and distant, all dependent on which voice is narrating at the time, and challenges a reader to sieve concrete information in a wide variety of biased, unreliable personalities. This isn't a read that will make much sense skimming.

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"If you want to stay, you have to die. At points claustrophobic and haunting, soulful and melancholic, The Deading lyrically explores the disintegration of society, the horror of survival and adaptation, and the unexpected solace found through connections in nature and between humans."

While I was super excited about this book, for me it was confusing and made me feel lost. It was a bit all over the place and it did not held me.

#TheDeading #NetGalley

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Unfortunately I just could not get on with this one and had to DNF at around 25%

I thought the premise of this sounded so interesting and the cover really pulled me in but I found the writing abit too disjointed for me personally and there was alot of talk about birds (I know there has to be to a certain extent) but I just found it abit boring which is a shame.

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A really gripping read, I thought the characters were intriguing and I'm going to look out for more by this author.

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The Deading

Can the human body work like and a rechargeable battery?
All kidding aside😜 or am I????
A whack of a premise this story has some SciKingisms throughout.
So we have a contagion in Oysters???

Your kidding Nope!!!

And like all books of these nature , certain locals have applied marshall law and they ain't a budging!

And let's not forget the government watching over like big brother!!!!

This shore type town has goneape shit

I took my time 🐌 reading this !!
At times, I liked what I read and other I did not.
I received this from Netgalley for a honest review!!!!
I give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️'s

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I really struggled with this one.

The cover is what initially drew me in, but the whole time I was reading I was just confused. The writing felt so disjointed, I didn't connect with a single character and I just had a really hard time continuing.

I would say that about 20% of this was just details of birds which was just bizarre and honestly boring. I was really excited for this one so I'm sad I didn't like it.

This may be great for some but I did not click with this story and was just happy to be finished!

<i>Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with an e-arc</i>

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Unfortunately the way this book is written just really didn't work for me!! I had to DNF at around 30%.

I loved the cover and premise but the writing is clunky and disjointed (I think it's supposed to be like this).

Not for me but may be for readers who like experimental and unusually written stories!

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Without giving too much away, a small coastal town gets quaratined after an infestation plagues the inhabitants. It is my first time dipping my toes into the eco-horror genre and I am still undecided if it is really my thing. I did not feel captivated by any of the characters and found many parts hard to follow and keep me engaged. However I love a dystopian book and this definitely had that edge to it. There were some pretty grim scenes and some emotional parts too. The ending did not really surprise me but I think it was fitting for the story. Some of it felt a bit unrealistic (like how quickly people turned to cult like behaviour) and sparse on some of the details (about the drones/ government) but it was interesting to read something different to my usual tastes.

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This book was very chaotic, it seemed like a mismashed collection of short stories. The narrative was very confusing and derivative. Lots of extra details and chapters that made this book longer than it needed to be. Not a lot of horror or even sci fi present. Definitely nailed the dystopian theme but so chaotic, not worth the read.

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DNF at 40%. I liked the varied perspectives that we get and there is some fun eco-horror in here, but none of the characters are making me root or get invested in them and the theme of generational destruction of our environment and whether we can come back from it feels like Belardes is bashing me on the head instead of exploring it through the story.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!

Unfortunately this book was a real disappointment for me. The first chapter was really interesting and I was keen to see where the story would go, but unfortunately it just went south from there for me. I was really hoping for a solid horror/sci-fi combo here, and didn't get it all. I didn't connect to any of the characters at all, the story felt disjointed and incoherent at times, and while there was certainly a post-apocalyptic vibe, it was all a bit too vague for me to really connect.

I was particularly disappointed by the lack of thought that went into the story. I got no sense of dread, and very little enjoyment from the entire novel. All up, I was pretty disappointed with the whole book, and this one was definitely not one I enjoyed.

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'The Deading' by Nicholas Belardes has an attractive strange premise (if you're into the dystopian, contagion, sci-fi sort of thing), but is a bit ambitious which leads to a distinct lack of flow and coherency. It seems like it needed more time to tell the complete story and perhaps a bit more editing (changing POVs was often disjointing).

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I rated this ARC 3/5 stars on StoryGraph. It had a good start, and the concept was amazing. Bernhard was such an interesting character, and I wish I learned more about him. The different POVs are well-written, and since the writing style changes it feels like a different person. It's obvious when the POV changes, and I love that. I saw some reviews that disagreed on this, so beware of that.
But the damn birds... There were so much talk about birds, and I don't understand why? If you have a big interest in birds it probably won't affect you, but I saw many other reviews that agreed there were too much stuff about birds. It would've been fine if I came prepared for that, but there is no mention of birds being such a big part of the book, and the birds give no meaning or sense to the story.

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Loved characters. Had amazing plot! I wouldn’t read such books on usual basis but this book had me hooked since the beginning. Though I think ending was much better.

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DNF at 30%. I love cli-fi and horror *and* I love birding, so I'm the target audience for this book.

Unfortunately, the writing is tirelessly purple, the message is lost to navel gazing, and the actual use of this theme of "deading" didn't make any more sense at 30% than it did in the intro.

I stopped after a weird chapter from some pluralized-teen POV that was just weird. Totally out of place, wrong, a little offensive, and maybe, dare I say it, stupid.

Thanks to NetGalley and Erewhon and Kensington an e-arc to voluntarily read and honestly review.

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