Off Target by Eve Smith #bookreview #blogtour @evecsmith @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the gripping new novel by Eve Smith, Off Target. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Off-Target by [Eve Smith]

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A longed-for baby
An unthinkable decision
A deadly mistake

In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…

Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.

But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…

Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…

MY THOUGHTS

I loved Eve Smith’s debut novel, The Waiting Rooms, and once again, she has explored a scarily realistic idea that doesn’t feel too far away in the future. Her latest novel is Off Target. In Eve’s version of reality, people are able to edit the genes of their unborn babies, which was specifically introduced to help prevent specific diseases. But people are now taking advantage of this science and are using it to create designer babies, and this sparks huge ethical questions about gene editing.

We meet Susan, who is facing an impossible dilemma when she becomes pregnant with her first child. She and her husband have been desperately trying for a baby, so she should be thrilled to learn the news that she’s pregnant. But Susan is sure that the baby isn’t her husband’s after mistakenly having a one night stand. But there are ways that she can get around this.

I loved the original spin that Eve Smith put on her idea. It’s what made this story so exciting, and so tense as it made me think that what she was planning to do would go horribly wrong. I’m sure this book will make many people wonder what they would do if they were in Susan’s position. What makes Eve’s idea so different as well is that she includes newspaper reports on different events, linked to the plot, happening around the world. You can see just how well Eve has researched this topic.

Following on from the drastic decision that Eve makes, we fast forward several years later, when her baby, Zurel, is now, almost, a grown adult. We can begin to see the consequences of the decision Susan took when she was pregnant, and we can see how Susan is plagued with guilt. But it is not clear if, what is now happening to Zurel is linked to what Susan did all those years ago. She is constantly living in fear, that someone will discover her secret, but she is also extremely worried about her daughter’s health and if she is to blame. The uncertainty about Zurel’s situation also drives the fear and the tension in Susan’s life. Zurel also has questions about what happened very early on in her life.

It was interesting to see the relationship between Susan and Zurel play out, now that Zurel is just about to reach adulthood. There is a lot of tension there and it made me wonder what would happen to their family if the truth about what Susan did came out. Eve Smith kept me utterly gripped as I waited to find out what was going to happen to them and how things would unfold.

I love books that blend genres and Eve Smith achieved that so well here. She has become a must-read author to me and I’m certain that I’ll read anything that she writes next. I highly recommend Off Target.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th December 2021 (kindle) 17th February 2022 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

Off Target is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

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The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith #bookreview #BlogTour @evecsmith @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Waiting Rooms by [Eve Smith]

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Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

MY THOUGHTS

If I’d read The Waiting Rooms a year ago, I think I would have thought that the idea of a global antibiotic crisis was something very far off in the future, beyond my lifetime. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened, and this idea became cemented in my mind as a terrifying possibility. This novel couldn’t be more timely. The Waiting Rooms is one of the most original reads I’ve recently read.

In Eve Smith’s debut novel, once you reach the age of seventy, you’re virtually written off by society. What the current crisis in the world has shown us is how vulnerable we are, and how we often take antibiotics and other pills for granted. We think of plagues and a health crisis as something associated with the medieval period, or at least I did, up until now. The thought that once you hit a certain age, you will be denied any lifesaving medicine is scary; you simply expect the health service to always be there for you.

We meet the lead character Kate during a delicate situation. She is having a meeting with a young couple, and they are talking about ending the life of the young woman’s father. The tension in the room is high. But this is Kate’s job, and this is her reality day in day out. Instead of being able to care for her patients as she would like to do, she has to administer the drug that will let them drift off peacefully. And if this isn’t hard enough for Kate, she is accused of heinous things by angry protesters including being a murderer. Kate is also desperate to find her birth mother, who gave her up for adoption soon after her birth. But as Kate tries to make contact, she finds out that her mother has put measures in place to stop her. But why wouldn’t she want to meet her daughter?

We’re also introduced to Lily, who is fast approaching her seventieth birthday. Lily is residing in a top-notch care home where fear is even more palatable. There are strict quarantine measures in place, much like there is today and even the tiniest scratch could mean the end for you. Lily also has a secret which she is desperately trying to keep covered up. Her worst fear is that someone will discover it.

Another voice we hear from is Mary. Eve Smith takes us back to twenty-seven years prior to the crisis happening. Mary is a scientist currently living in South Africa. She is twenty-three when she begins a relationship with Dr Bekker when they both discover that they share an interest in botany. I thought this part of the novel was really intriguing, and I wondered how it was going to feed into what was happening in the present. There is also tension in these scenes as well, as Eve Smith gives us an insight into what’s happening around the world with new outbreaks of diseases. I also loved the description of the South African landscape, which Eve Smith describes really well. Although it soon becomes clear how Mary’s story is connected to Lily’s, Eve Smith doesn’t reveal the shocking aftermath of these events until much later on in the book.

You can see that Eve Smith has done her research and even though it is a scary realistic prospect, I hope that this doesn’t happen until well beyond my time. I found the ending sad but very satisfying. The Waiting Rooms is one of those books which I’m sure you won’t be forgetting about in a hurry.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 9th April 2020 (kindle) 9th July 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

The Waiting Rooms is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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FINAL The Waiting Rooms BT Poster