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The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere) by…

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere) (edition 2017)

by Meg Elison (Author)

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737240,828 (3.76)13
Title:The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere)
Authors:Meg Elison (Author)
Info:47North (2017), 314 pages
Collections:Your library, To read

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The Book of Etta by Meg Elison



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The Book of Etta is the second book in author Meg Elison’s The Road to Nowhere Series. This story takes us along a number of generations from the first book. The world is now composed of small groups or towns that keep themselves isolated and unaware of each other, except for the adventurous few who travel out to trade or scavenge old world items. There are still very few females and childbearing is extremely dangerous, so women have very different roles depending on their particular location. In some places they are the Queen Bees with a number of men in their hives, while in others they are leaders of their communities with the men providing the labor and their skills in exchange for sexual favors. Unfortunately, with women being such a valuable commodity, there are still slavers who buy and sell females, and communities that hold their females as slaves. In a world where there are so few females, it is strongly believed that men and women should be together for the purpose of childbearing and re-populating the world. Those people whose gender identity or sexual orientation is different have a difficult time finding where they fit in.

In the community that the Unnamed Midwife formed, the women are the leaders and most are either designated “Mothers” or “Midwives”. Etta, born into this community desires neither to be a Mother or a Midwife and so chooses to become a trader. Following in the role of her hero, the Unnamed Midwife, she travels middle America disguised as a man, and although she spends time both as a trader and a scavenger, she never returns to her hometown without having rescued a female from slavery. But then one day she returns to find her town was overrun by slavers and all the women taken.

It is obvious that the author is planning on writing more stories about this apocalyptic world that she has invented, and indeed the next book is scheduled to be out in the spring of 2019. The Book of Etta felt like a bridge from the past to the future and although I enjoyed the story, I can see where the author is setting up for further exploration of this world. The story is interesting and fast-moving but for me the character of Etta felt a little unfinished and the end of the book felt a little rushed. Be advised that this book can be quite graphic in it’s depiction of the brutality and violence that are a big part of this world. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 21, 2018 |
This book didn't have quite the emotional impact of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, and the end definitely went a little bit off the deep end for me. Still, I found the explorations of transness and gender interesting, even if I wish that it had been done with significantly less sexual violence. Still, I enjoyed this installment, even if not as much as the first book in the series. I'm cautiously looking forward to book three in the trilogy.

Seriously, though, if you don't like reading sexual assault, steer away from this series. It's grim and violent and chock full of that sort of thing. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 22, 2018 |
I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

After reading The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, I was very excited to read the sequel. My experience with The Book of the Unnamed Midwife was amazing; I loved how gritty and harsh the story was, and how it really didn't mince words. I liked the main character and the way the author portrayed every aspect of every situation, avoiding all bias or favoritism. In the end, it was a spellbinding book that is still at the top of my list in terms of dystopian novels. You can see why I was so excited to read this sequel, and read about how the author imagined the future of her dystopian society.

Etta comes from Nowhere, a village full of survivors of the plague that wiped away the old world. In Nowhere, mothers and midwives are considered sacred, and everyone reveres the teachings of the Unnamed Midwife. Etta, however, doesn't feel the same way about the role of a midwife or a mother. She would much rather be a scavenger, who roams the territories surrounding Nowhere, salvaging useful relics and saving women and girls being sold by slave traders. When slavers capture those she loves, Etta vows to avenge them. As her mission leads her to the stronghold of the Lion, a tyrant who claims currency through a bounty of weapons and women, Etta will have to risk her body and spirit to not only save lives but also to discover her own destiny.

Let me begin by saying that it is imperative that you read the first book in this trilogy or else the concepts and impact of this story really won't make sense. That being said, this novel takes on the issue of gender in a completely different way than The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. While in the first book the focus was on struggling to be a woman, this novel is all about gender fluidity. As usual, the author conveys her story in that gritty, no-holds-bar style that I love and she really doesn't shy away from disturbing content. There are graphic depictions of rape and abuse, so consider this a warning for those wary of this kind of content. Unlike the first story which centered on the survival of a whole gender, this novel is much more of an identity quest where Etta/Eddy discovers who he/she really is amidst a society that doesn't really support lesbian/gay relations or even the concept of being transgendered. This novel pulled me in but I found myself more drawn to the internal struggles rather than the actual action parts of the story. While it felt like this novel moved slower than its predecessor, I didn't mind because it gave me the time to really think deeply on the ideas that the author is presenting. I still think the first book in this series was the better of the two, but this novel is by no means bad. Overall, another gripping story that tackles difficult issues in a dystopian setting. I can't wait to see what the author will publish next in this fascinating series! ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
I found this another interesting read but less so than the first book. Mainly because it is so bleak and wearing its agenda too obviously on its sleeve. The first book was bleak but at least ended on a hopeful note. This started out hopeful and then got bleaker with an open ending. Will there be a 3rd book? ( )
  infjsarah | Nov 21, 2017 |
I didn't think The Book of the Unnamed Midwife needed a sequel, but I'd argue this isn't one: set 100 years later, it explores a world still failing to find equilibrium in the wake of a pandemic that has all but wiped out womankind. Mankind, sadly, has responded in the worst possible ways.

Isolated communities have adopted different social models for survival; Etta is from matriarchal Nowhere, but rejects the traditional roles of Mother or Midwife to journey beyond its walls as trader and scavenger. Etta comes face to face with brutality and must confront both gender and sexual identity as it becomes clear that Nowhere's fragile peace is under threat from an empire-building tyrant.

Expect introspection and commentary on reproductive rights, identity and intersectional feminism - packaged up in a taut, nail-biting narrative.

Full review

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review ( )
  imyril | Apr 15, 2017 |
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Etta comes from Nowhere, a village of survivors of the great plague that wiped away the world that was. In the world that is, women are scarce and childbearing is dangerousyet desperately necessary for humankinds future. Mothers and midwives are sacred, but Etta has a different calling. As a scavenger. Loyal to the village but living on her own terms, Etta roams the desolate territory beyond: salvaging useful relics of the ruined past and braving the threat of brutal slave traders, who are seeking women and girls to sell and subjugate.… (more)

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