"In fifty years, Myrra will be free." Myrra Dal was born into a 'contract', as were generations before her. But in fifty years, her servitude will be done and the Earth will have made it to a safe place. For you see, Earth has been recreated on a massive scale - as a ship. They've been travelling for over one hundred years already. The earth as we know it is just a memory, with some artifacts still around. (Interestingly wood is one of those artifacts. At today's Covid prices, we might be heading there!)
Levien's world building is quite beautiful, with every country having added their bit of the world, the ship. But it is built for the elite, the wealthy. Then, the unthinkable happens and everything changes for Myrra, and she grabs the unexpected opportunity. The reader is along for the journey as she runs from her current situation to what is hopefully a safe haven.
I initially thought The World Gives Way would be more dystopian, more sci-fi. It is, but the human connections are what drives this book forward and take center stage. There are two main characters - Myrra and Tobias, the agent chasing her. Expectations and duty start to take a backseat to real human emotions, desires, wants, hopes and more.
Levien is a beautiful writer. The descriptions of time and space are vivid and bring the world, the ship to life. But again, it is that exploration of what it is to be human, to feel and to just be that really drew me in. She captures the uncertainty and then the freedom of just living through her two leads. The ending? Not what I imagined, but exactly right.
The World Gives Way is a slow burning, strong debut. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The World Gives Way.