Hello Readers! I’m pleased to share review of Unborn by Rachel McLean, as part of blog tour organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Read more about this powerful book and my review in this post.
Unborn by Rachel McLean
Publication Date: 21st February 2020
Publisher: Catawampus Press
She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.
Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator.
Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity.
And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.
Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?
Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.
*** Note: I received this book from the author as part of blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Rachel for tour invite and author for providing review copy. ***
Unborn was thought provoking dystopia. It was about feminism, misuse and taking advantage of law against women, exploitation of women’s rights, will and consent, patriarchal government, laws and its consequences.
The story was around three women who lived in world where abortion was outlawed… No equality, no women rights or human rights, a typical oppressive patriarchal government. Two were mothers-Kate and Grace, one was just 14-yrs-old teenage girl- Cindee. Kate’s boyfriend was sexual predator, she found him advancing on her daughter and immediately kicked him out of her house but now she was pregnant with his child. Grace’s husband was in prison, she had 3 children and was pregnant with fourth child who had critical heart condition, she could barely run house and feed her kids. At just 22 weeks of pregnancy, she had contractions. Cindee was abused for years and now pregnant and abandoned. All three were charged for killing or attempting to kill their unborn babies and found themselves behind bars. Could these three help each other, fight this oppressive system that looked them as criminals, manslaughters, immoral beings?
Writing was easy to follow, utterly gripping, emotive, and unnerving. The story was third person narrative from Kate, Grace, Maya, and Cindee’s perspective. Goodness, it was dark plot. It did give Vox vibe.
World was mind boggling. Let me give an example- “A woman is going somewhere in car, she is 2 weeks pregnant, she haven’t done a test and was unaware of it. She met an accident. Next thing she woke up in hospital and found a police at the foot of her bed. They are accusing her of self-induced abortion, charging her of murdering unborn baby, a potential life.” It’s not from the book, but this scenario sums the world in this book.Women are not allowed to choose whether to keep the baby or end the life earlier. No matter the situation. Either women was raped or victim of abuse, sexual predator, or the baby’s condition is critical/severely deformed, who might not live even a day… Even though it’s natural miscarriage… police or authorities can possibly twist things, charge them under suspicion and women are sent to hell hole called prison specifically made for these women.
Now this topic is controversial. It’s hard for women to read it as it might hit the nerve. No matter how much a person is against abortion I think one wouldn’t want a baby in these women’s situation. Maybe they go along thinking it’s not baby’s fault but the way it was created would keep nagging, sour the love of mother that comes naturally. And what about critical condition. I can’t imagine myself to carry a kid for 9 months and then see it die or suffer in life severely.
All that happened in book made me so angry, disturbed my mind and feelings, I wanted to jump in this book and throttle those men and authorities. It made me think why it should always be women who suffers whether in history and in futuristic dystopian novels, why there isn’t a matriarchal dystopia where men suffer if they even tried to abuse women? How could they decide for a mother whether to birth a kid or not.
What made me even angrier was women were also joining this shitty bandwagon, looking at women down their nose who were accused by this shitty law. And once you’re charged, forget about everything else. Society saw these women as immoral beings, they took away their house, job, and even kids.
It was tense from the very beginning and tension was steadily increasing throughout the book. I kept saying why it was taking so long for them, why I can’t see anything changing, why there wasn’t any positivity. I almost left all the hopes by the end of 65% of the book. I felt like they’re doomed. But some women were brave, strong, beacon of light and one of them was Kate.
Kate was strong kickass lawyer and was developed character. She knew when to act and when not to. She was not one of those who mope for losing all she loved. I admired her for her passion and resilience, for stepping up the ladder even after she was pushed down to bottom. She brought light and life back for her own and other characters.
Grace’s situation was terrible. I felt for her. Any other woman in her situation would’ve broken down. She was putting up her brave face but she also refused any help she was offered. She was rejecting hand of friendship and care from other for her misjudgment. I understand world had given her bitter taste for being black but no one rejects a kind offer that might help to come out of her situation. But I’m glad she gave Kate that chance.
Cindee was strong in her own way. The background she came from was too gentle, she was not made to live prison life, but still she survived even after all that happened to her. She too rejected kind offers, her reason behind it just sadden me. She was misguided soul, living many years under abuse. I was surprised why her mother didn’t say anything. Who abandon her own daughter like that! Cindee’s case and situation broke my heart most. At the end of all she turned into a strong woman.
There was another character, Maya, a prison OB/gynec. I loved from the very beginning. What happened to her was unfair but I’m glad she still helped wherever she can.
At climax great in all their cases. I was cheering all inmates. I enjoyed court room sessions of Grace’s case. I would have liked to read what happened to her husband at the end. And I loved the way Kate got things back that she lost because of her indictment.
Kate, Grace, and Cindee’s journey through prison in this dysopian world changed them and their perspective in good way, they turned out braver, stronger and confident women, ready to kick the world.
Overall, it was unnerving, thought-provoking and powerful dystopia with controversial topic and brave characters. If you liked Vox, you’ll enjoy this.
My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.
What does that mean?
In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.
Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?
My books aim to fill that gap.
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