Before This Is Over by Amanda Hickie, which is out TODAY, was a book I was incredibly excited to read. I have always been a fan of apocalyptic and pandemic stories, so when I read the synopsis for this novel, I was more than thrilled. Upon further investigation, I found out that the premise for this novel was inspired by the events of the SARS outbreak in Toronto when the author was living in Canada with her family. I thought that was incredibly interesting, not only because I am Canadian, but also because I can remember this event and the hysteria during this time. Hickie does a brilliant job at capturing this feeling throughout the pages of her novel.
The novel opens with Hannah, a cancer survivor and understandable germaphobe, trying to handle the news of a virus that has broken out overseas. Known as Manba, the virus begins as a cough and progresses until it becomes terminal. With no cure and no real sureties, Hannah draws her family close to her and begins to prepare. When the virus begins to spread rapidly and cases begin to show up in her hometown, Hannah is forced into hiding with her family and their fight for survival begins.
The thing that stood out for me with this plot was the fact that it was so incredibly realistic. This is not a zombie book or a sci-fi novel; in fact, the entire time I was reading, I was filled with anxiety as my mind raced with the probability of this scenario. This book was so much than a novel of realistic horror; this novel is a character study in human survival, the nature of people in crisis and the lengths people go to in order to protect their own. If nothing else, this novel will leave you thinking.
My only complaint was that I did find this novel to be a little bit long. At 400 pages, I felt like this novel still would have felt complete with 50 pages left. However, I did not struggle to read any of this book. I sat down to read it and completed it in a single sitting. I was utterly absorbed and deliciously devoured by Hickie’s prose.
If you are a fan of a book that will leave you thinking and anxiously awaiting a resolution, you will love this book. I know I loved it. I rated it 5/5 stars. This novel is out today; do yourself a favour and RUN to grab this one. You will not regret it.