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The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird | Book Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
Published by HarperCollins UK on April 27, 2021
ISBN: 9780593328132
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Thrillers, Suspense, Women
Pages: 416
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
five stars - The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird | Book Review

"The End of Men is a fiercely intelligent page-turner, an eerily prescient novel, at once thoughtful and highly emotive." --Paula Hawkins, #1 internationally bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would our world truly look like without men?

Only men carry the virus. Only women can save us all.
The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland--a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic--and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien--a women's world.
What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus's consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the "male plague"; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal--the loss of husbands and sons--to the political--the changes in the workforce, fertility, and the meaning of family.
In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird turns the unimaginable into the unforgettable.

The End of Men is a truly unforgettable book and its insane ability to make you feel everything.  The intensity and the raw and gritty edge this story has over other epidemic related narratives, gah, it just leaves you feeling wrought out.  Imagine running a marathon – you’re out of breath and gasping…but whatever you do, don’t breathe on your fellow man!  This is a book that I’m going to go back to, it deserves a second and third outing, its masterful and bleak and it certainly gets thoughts whirling around your head.

The End of Men have some of the most badass, strong and awe-inspiring women ever to grace the pages.  I want to be Catherine, Amanda and Elizabeth when I grow up…can I? Pretty pretty please.  On the surface these women have everything, phenomenal careers, husbands that stand with them not above them and beautiful baby boys.  What happens when that steady and secure egg cart gets smashed against the wall?  All hell breaks loose.  A virus that only affects men, women are asymptomatic but can still infect their husbands, partners, sons, uncles, grandfathers and work colleagues.  How on earth can you isolate a virus that is spreading like wildfire?  How can you isolate it when the powers that be will not listen?

Scratch beneath the surface of all these women and you get a keen sense of the fragility of life.  They are the perfect case study of how a woman can crack and the contents spill out for all to see but still carry on for the good of all men, just not the ones they have lost.  Catherine is a social historian who has struggled with secondary infertility and lost all that was dear to her.  Her calling in this pandemic is to record the story, how it started, why it started and a timeline of events and successes.  A personal approach, after all if no-one records it then how can we stop it from happening again?

Dr Amanda McLean.  My goodness has this woman been given the roughest shit stick that could be known in history.  A woman doing her best in catastrophic circumstances.  She discovers a pattern of illness that leads to death in nearly all men that pass through her A&E Department in Gartnaval Hospital, Glasgow.  Men that were previous patients in A&E around 3-4 days ago are getting fatally sick.  Presenting with symptoms of Septicemia and ultimately dying.  She discovered that patient zero came from the Bute and its quickly taking over the hospital.  Health Protection Scotland condemn her as the ramblings of a mad woman.  Amanda suffers the consequences of their actions. Soon, many will know the astounding pain of loss.

Elizabeth is a pathologist with the CDC, she is sent to London to help with the research team there in trying to decode the gene sequence in order to try and find an effective vaccine.  It’s far worse than she ever expected but she volunteers to stay for as long as she is needed. 

The End of Men is a stark reminder (especially in the pandemic – ridden world we are living in) that something can come along at any time and not only upset our apple cart but blow it to smithereens.  I had so many questions, I struggled with my own rage and the women protagonists gave me hope that our own future can be saved.  Each woman has their own flaws but that’s what makes them so relatable.  Sweeney-Baird inserted these flaws so effortlessly and with sublime accuracy. 

The End of Men has redefined Dystopian fiction.  It will hook you in and is a stark reminder to treasure our sunrises and sunsets whilst we still can.   Its intelligence and brave characterisation made this a winner.


square - The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird | Book Review

Christina grew up between London and Glasgow. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a First in 2015. She has been published as a freelance journalist in The Independent and the Huffington Post. She now works as a corporate litigation lawyer.

Christina’s first novel, The End of Men, will be published in 2021. She is working on her second novel and lives in Bloomsbury.


five stars - The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird | Book Review

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