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For fans of Black Mirror and The Handmaid's Tale, in Dark Lullaby a mother desperately tries to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored. When Kit decides to have a child, she thinks she's prepared. She knows how demanding Induction is. She's seen children Extracted. But in a society where parenting is strictly monitored under t For fans of Black Mirror and The Handmaid's Tale, in Dark Lullaby a mother desperately tries to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored. When Kit decides to have a child, she thinks she's prepared. She knows how demanding Induction is. She's seen children Extracted. But in a society where parenting is strictly monitored under the watchful gaze of OSIP (The Office of Standards in Parenting), she is forced to ask herself how far she will go to keep her family together.


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For fans of Black Mirror and The Handmaid's Tale, in Dark Lullaby a mother desperately tries to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored. When Kit decides to have a child, she thinks she's prepared. She knows how demanding Induction is. She's seen children Extracted. But in a society where parenting is strictly monitored under t For fans of Black Mirror and The Handmaid's Tale, in Dark Lullaby a mother desperately tries to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored. When Kit decides to have a child, she thinks she's prepared. She knows how demanding Induction is. She's seen children Extracted. But in a society where parenting is strictly monitored under the watchful gaze of OSIP (The Office of Standards in Parenting), she is forced to ask herself how far she will go to keep her family together.

30 review for Dark Lullaby

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lousbookstuff

    For my full review and thoughts on the story, characters and ending completely spoiler free please visit my blog here As a story I thought it was all quite interesting and it would be a very scary reality to be living in. The writing is easy to read and understand and it was really quick to read. I finished it in one day. I think it was good, enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian worlds or books like The Handmaids Tale. I don't think that I would read it a second time. For my full review and thoughts on the story, characters and ending completely spoiler free please visit my blog here As a story I thought it was all quite interesting and it would be a very scary reality to be living in. The writing is easy to read and understand and it was really quick to read. I finished it in one day. I think it was good, enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian worlds or books like The Handmaids Tale. I don't think that I would read it a second time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lousbookstuff

    For my full review and thoughts on the story, characters and ending completely spoiler free please visit my blog here For my full review and thoughts on the story, characters and ending completely spoiler free please visit my blog here

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Dark Lullaby is Ho-Yen’s first foray into adult speculative fiction and is a bleak yet compulsive dystopian tale set around the topic of motherhood. Infertility has become almost universal, with 99.98% of the population unable to naturally conceive, and government surveillance means that your every move in watched, analysed and critiqued. While affluent women can afford XC babies that are created in laboratories and come to full term in an artificial womb, those who are less lucky must undergo a Dark Lullaby is Ho-Yen’s first foray into adult speculative fiction and is a bleak yet compulsive dystopian tale set around the topic of motherhood. Infertility has become almost universal, with 99.98% of the population unable to naturally conceive, and government surveillance means that your every move in watched, analysed and critiqued. While affluent women can afford XC babies that are created in laboratories and come to full term in an artificial womb, those who are less lucky must undergo a dangerous procedure known as Induction. They are encouraged to do so to repopulate the near-future world in which they live as those who refuse to be impregnated in this manner are shunned by society and labelled as an "out" — literally someone who has opted out of the Induction programme. This leads to fewer job opportunities and a poorer quality of life for the female regardless of their skillset or intelligence. Pressured into becoming induced, despite its often fatal consequences, it is a painful, terrifying process and involves the use of many potent medications to help the body prepare to sustain a pregnancy. Then there are the seemingly ceaseless examinations and procedures to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs with the hope that the subject comes to bear a child. However, due to this manufactured manipulation of the bodies systems, it often doesn't work and the only result is the death of the individual being induced due to the harrowing effects these procedures have on a women’s fragile body, but this doesn't appear to be much of a concern to the state. And even when you successfully conceive and a healthy baby is born, big brother, aka the OSIP (Office of Standards in Parenting), monitors everything you do from the moment you embark on your fertility journey right through to rearing the child, and anything they deem to be inappropriate is scrutinised and compiled into a wrap sheet. When a certain number of infractions have occurred they take your child away from you, known as Extraction, which is a terrifying and horrific prospect for any mother but especially when you have gone through hell to conceive. This is a riveting, fascinating and deeply disturbing book that held my attention throughout and reminded me very much of The Handmaid's Tale and Vox. The worldbuilding was incredible with intricate touches and thorough attention paid to the plot and characters and an unsettling, oppressive atmosphere that underpinned the whole novel. This is a dark, scintillating read with plenty to keep you turning the pages. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sandra "Jeanz"

    I think the cover of this book really does it job well! It certainly attracts your eye, demanding your attention. The main focus on the cover is the silhouette figure of a quite heavily pregnant female figure. There are what appears to be birds flying around the woman, upon reading the book at first, I wondered if these birds represented the sphere’s, but then I saw the eye-shape image further down the cover that I reckon is a sphere. So, I reckon the birds could represent that there are eyes ev I think the cover of this book really does it job well! It certainly attracts your eye, demanding your attention. The main focus on the cover is the silhouette figure of a quite heavily pregnant female figure. There are what appears to be birds flying around the woman, upon reading the book at first, I wondered if these birds represented the sphere’s, but then I saw the eye-shape image further down the cover that I reckon is a sphere. So, I reckon the birds could represent that there are eyes everywhere always watching, ready to swoop down and deliver the dreaded ISP notices. I’ll be really interested to learn what other readers think they are too. Every time I look at this book cover, I notice something else! Oh! and I cannot forget the by-line, “How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Child?” My immediate thoughts were, I would do anything, and everything, to protect my child, and still would! So back to the by-line, “How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Child?” after having read the book. I once again asked myself the same question both from my own point of view and then from the point of view of the characters of Evie and Kit who both have to make this decision in the book after discovering some quite valuable knowledge to use as leverage for their own selves and family, I also thought about the other characters who did not have this knowledge/leverage at their disposal. After agonising from all sides of the “argument” I had to say the same answer and agree with both Evie and Kit’s decision, though I would have thought Evie would have confided and/or shared this valuable information with her sister Kit earlier. However, Evie never really tells her sister she more points her in the direction of the knowledge and its up to Kit to joint all the clues, and sort out her life going forward. The genres listed for this book are Thriller, Mystery, Sci-fi and Fantasy which I totally agree with but I would also add futuristic because who knows where our present real-life society to lead! Also, I would place this book in the dystopian genre, in fact it has been compared to great dystopian The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Attwood, which I have to agree to feeling there were some similarities (though in the interest of being totally honest I have not read the books. I watch the series and do have the books to read!). I guess I should now try to describe a little bit about the back without revealing anything too “spoilery”. I would say the book is set in a futuristic dystopian world where infertility is extreme high. Couples really struggle to have babies. Over time more and more regulations and laws have been put in to improve a couple’s chance of conceiving and having a healthy baby. Some people who do not wish to go through the sometimes, gruelling treatments to become pregnant opt out, and are in fact called “outs”. Though there are not official punishments for not having a bay, those that choose to have children earn more housing credits, they can earn more. Basically, those in power are doing their utmost to make induction and pregnancy as desirable as possible and those who refuse induction are not openly punished yet live in poorer quality houses & have lower wages. They get to a certain level in their job where they cannot progress any further, or earn any more money. They are stuck at the same level for the rest of their life unless they then choose to have children. When going through the Induction the woman has to take a cocktail of drugs to improve her own bodily hormones to achieve the perfect balance for an optimum pregnancy. This does take a toll of the woman both physically, mentally and emotionally. The couple also needs to read up on everything they are going through and attend meetings where all sorts of different scenarios are talked about and they are judged by not only official but by their peers too. Once the couple becoming pregnant and have their baby home the pressure cooker atmosphere continues their lives are under a microscope always being watched for anything that doesn't meet the office of standards of parenting. Eyes are always watching, ready to report any mishap or incident. Parents live in constant fear of not meeting the required standard and having their precious baby removed from them. Throughout the time period covered in the book, the amount of IPS notices couples are allowed to incur changes, but there is always a certain set amount, cut off. Should you exceed that amount your child is taken away. Your child is taken to a communal type home where they are given the best of everything and cared for and brought up as those in power determine they should be. IPS (Insufficient Parenting Standard) notices can be given for numerous, ever changing breaches. The two central female characters in the book are Evie and Kit. They have both been brought up mainly by their father and are among the last children to be born via natural means. Their mother and younger sibling both died. Kit was too young to really remember much about her mum or sister, thought older sister Evie does share the occasional memory about them. The sisters are very close to each other at the beginning of the book though that doesn’t mean that they agree about having children. Evie is wholeheartedly for going through induction, believing all the hype about needing to breast feed only being best for the baby, until her own baby is not gaining enough weight. Evie risks receiving an IPS for Jakob not gaining enough weight so she secretly obtains “illegal” formula milk which she ends up being discovered meaning she gets an IPS anyway. Kit tries to help her sister as much as she can but with Evie determined to stick to being the best parent ever, she cuts her sister off, not allowing her to hold Jakob for fear of Kit not holding the baby correctly and incurring more IPS notices. It's at Jakob’s naming ceremony that Kit’s future changes when she meets a work mate of Seb’s called Thomas. It’s not so long until they start dating and though they begin with agreeing on not wanting children, soon their resolve starts to be chipped away at. The book tells the stories of both sister’s families. Evie & Seb who sadly receive so many IPS notices their relationship doesn’t survive and their precious son is removed from their care. Then suddenly Evie moves to a nicer home and is given her son back. Evie is so won over to the work of the government that she talks about becoming an enforcer herself. When Kit and Thomas face the increasing possibility of having their cherished daughter Mimi away because of receiving IPS notices too often they plan to run away, with the help of a local undercover resistance group, but this still means being separated from Mimi for a length of time that Kit cannot cope with. When she gets an urge to go to her daughter, to retrieve her from those hiding her runs away from her husband Thomas scared he will not agree with her actions. When there is no where else to turn, Kit puts what is left of her faith in their bond to the test and approaches her sister for help, but what is Evie hiding, why does she live so far away from everyone else alone with Jakob? Why does she seem so standoffish with her own sister? Finally, just as Kit is about to give up, Evie offers Kit her own car to take Mimi to hospital and an address of someone who may be able to help Kit, but why should Kit trust her now? I felt really drawn in and hooked into this book and truthfully hated having to put it down. I had so many questions and thoughts whilst reading the book How can the new parents ever fulfil the extremely, ever complicated regulations for bringing up their child correctly? Is Induction just an elaborate breeding program? Where the child is removed from the parents is it always the answer for the child’s best interest for them to be placed into the ideal compound environment? What are the children told about their parents? Do parents/children ever get to see one another again? There are so many twists, turns and different levels to this book and its society. The disturbing thing is that the society is not all that unbelievable! I think the fact that I could read this book and be convinced that this type of thing could actually happen made it all the more of a gripping, enthralling, unputdownable book! I honestly pitied both sisters, but more so Kit, which is quite strange when at the end of the book she is an enforcer. One of those that hide in cars with tinted windows, turn up at homes all times of day or night that at times seem to great delight in handing out Insufficient Parenting Standard notices. I truly went through a wide range of emotions reading this book. There were moments of joy, poignancy and great warm feeling family scenes too amidst the horror, disbelief, sorrow, pity and desperation for those who had their children removed from them. I also felt shock and disgust when the secrets and truths behind all the child removals was revealed. I thought that those in power may have been helping the infertility issues but they also created a horrible society where people are continually under surveillance and pressure. It is such a pressurised situation that it comes between husband & wife as well as coming between two sisters, where one sister is scared to help the other and her baby for the fear of her own child being taken from her! A society that is supposedly geared to building families, yet whilst helping make additions to couples and building new families, if the rules are not met to a sufficient standard these families are cruelly ripped apart. This book is definitely up on my best reads list! I would compare Dark Lullaby to Maternal Instinct and Stealing Time both by Rebecca Bowyer which I have read, adored and highly recommend, along with The Farm by Joanne Ramos, VOX and Q both by Christina Dalcher. To sum up, I found the society both interesting and intriguing. How the book ends it all makes sense as a standalone book. Having said that I would love more! Maybe one or both sisters and their husbands could become part of a resistance movement against those in charge? I will most certainly be looking out for other books by this author!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Gripping and beautifully written. Terrifyingly not so far from a world I could imagine this one becoming. Read it in a single day, couldn’t put it down!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sasan

    It's been a long while where I had to literally drag myself away from a book, and go be a productive adult. In short, it's a freaking beautifully written page turner and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I have received this book in exchange for an honest review, thank you Titan Books and NetGalley for the opportunity. ─────────────────── I will admit that I expected something different going into this book, for some reason I expected something of a Victorian or Edwardian setting after I read the syn It's been a long while where I had to literally drag myself away from a book, and go be a productive adult. In short, it's a freaking beautifully written page turner and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I have received this book in exchange for an honest review, thank you Titan Books and NetGalley for the opportunity. ─────────────────── I will admit that I expected something different going into this book, for some reason I expected something of a Victorian or Edwardian setting after I read the synopsis, so seeing that it is actually set in the future was a tiny bit jarring. However, I do think that it also becomes more relatable like that given that it's a situation that I could easily see happen if certain conditions were met, which in turn makes it one scary world to think about. The thing that really sells the book is how human the characters feel like. The situations they get put into, the decision they have to make because of the OSIP and how unfair it is and how she showed human greed and ruthlessness, is a brilliant character study for anyone who appreciates it and I really liked how flawed everyone was. As a parent myself, I think that I would go to any length for my child as long as I'm able and this book shows that very clearly, especially the ending that feels like it explains a lot of things that might not have been very clear. Not all parents are the same, not everyone will be willing to keep trying to make things work or change their approach from a terrible situation for their child. Even in a pair, one parent might be a lot more devoted than another while another pair might be equal in their efforts. That is something I see today, so it's only natural to see it in bigger degrees in a world where being a parent is monitored to the extreme. There are countries in our world where child protection laws are very strict in comparison to others, but even then it’s nothing like the OSIP's microscope. It's also interesting to see to see how a woman's role is viewed in a society like this one, I didn't expect anything other than what came to be to be very honest and I think it really solidifies that no matter the timeline or how gender roles change a bit, when it comes to children; a mother or a woman will always be looked at differently than a father or a man. Even their reactions to things will be different, and I really liked the added idea that no, relationships are not always strong enough to withstand anything that gets thrown at them. "There is something elemental within me that cannot be without her." Kit's journey is not an easy one, from living in this world with its cruelty to being around friends and family who are always on the risk of getting their kids extracted is not easy. Her own experience in this is also not easy and by the time we actually get there, I have felt an intense need to see her succeed that it was staggering for me as I usually don't get very attached to characters. I mentioned until we get there in the above because the story is told from different timelines labeled then and now, Kit is the only POV in both, but the situations are totally different until they merge. Because the world is told in tidbits through very very short chapters, I will start building theories on how the OSIP actually functions on what was revealed and slowly that will change as we moved forward in the chapters. I couldn't actually see a solid ending to this book, like I could for so many others before, which made the small personal exercise pretty fun. The changing timelines were also a bit frustrating to me, because there were times when I wanted to really follow a certain idea or plot point and we'll shift instead. I do know the necessity as Polly Ho-Yen used it to really build the world I just get thrown into using the then timeline more so than the now, but I am selfish and I wanted to focus on some things first before that came to be. The background information was totally needed though, so before I knew it, it just became a mini frustration instead of anything else. One last thing I really appreciated as well, was that the main relationships in the book were between parents and children or families, familial relationships like these mean a lot more to me than any other type of relationship which attached me even more to it. Brilliant work overall, and I think that I will be keeping a lookout for anything else she may write for an adult audience if this is the bar she's setting in my mind for herself. Final rating: 4.5/5

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    Set in a not too unbelievably far away future, the world's fertility levels are higher than 98%. Linked to the overuse of microplastics, the population decline has sent the economies around the world into freefall, and the biggest resource becomes women(and in some case,girls) of child bearing age. Kit and her sister are anomalies, one of the last set of 'organically' grown siblings and exist in a society where 'induction' into having a child means extensive, potentially fatal IVF procedures and Set in a not too unbelievably far away future, the world's fertility levels are higher than 98%. Linked to the overuse of microplastics, the population decline has sent the economies around the world into freefall, and the biggest resource becomes women(and in some case,girls) of child bearing age. Kit and her sister are anomalies, one of the last set of 'organically' grown siblings and exist in a society where 'induction' into having a child means extensive, potentially fatal IVF procedures and constant monitoring of calorie intake, steps walked, mental health screening and so forth. There are massive benefits handed to those who procreate, those who are known as 'outs' are basiclly social pariahs. Worse than this constant surveillance via next generation Alexas, known as 'Go Spheres' which provide you with government mandated news and public information programmes, are the enforcers. They could be anyone. They could be anywhere. After you have your baby, they keep a very , very close eye on you and if you step out of line, you receive a ISP slip. Get 10 and your baby is 'extracted'. The race is on for Kit and her husband to conceive, deliver and look after baby Mimi until she turns one when the rate of extraction is lowered. But, having seen what her sister has gone through , is she prepared to deal with the ultimate consequence, and how far would she be prepared to go to get her baby back? This is a brilliant and thoughtful novel which shines a light on the burden of motherhood and the way that society always seems to lay it on the woman's shoulders. The choice between career and parenthood is a constant source of awkward conversations about over population, personal choice and 'you'll change your mind when you are older'. The falling birth rate and growing elderly population are already threatening to tip the balance and it is not inconceivable(pardon the pun) to envisage a future where abuse of the natural environment comes back with karmic fists swinging for humanity. It sounds so bleak but honestly, what anchors the story is the relationship between Kit and Mimi. She is a complete badass single woman who is looked down upon and takes her lot in life on both shoulders as those around her are not surviving the induction process, or are facing a future without their child(or children. Post extraction procreation is highly encouraged, up to 8-9 times!) I really enjoyed this future vision , it was so realistic and rounded, the reveals of family secrets and shocking mic drop moments keep you on your toes as the 'now' and the 'then' of the narrative , before and after Mimi's birth begin to dovetail. It is a really timely subject on which to write, especially given the current climate of attack on the rights of women to have control over their biological process, specifically the outlawing of abortions in Poland, the eradication of Downs Syndrome in Iceland and the limiting of access to Planned Parenthood in the United States. Access to appropriate support and healthcare seems to have always taken a back seat to the needs of society and in this terrifying vision, the way that women are treated as baby carriers has never seemed so close and realistic. Genuinely chilling and prescient, go read it! About the author...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    Firstly, a huge thank you to Titan Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Dark Lullaby is set in a world that has a 98% infertility rate, society has had to make some changes to pregnancy and parenting in order to ensure that the population doesn’t die out. Not only is the ‘induction’ process physically demanding on the women of the world, but once the baby is born parents are continuously watched and monitored to ensure that they are meet Firstly, a huge thank you to Titan Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Dark Lullaby is set in a world that has a 98% infertility rate, society has had to make some changes to pregnancy and parenting in order to ensure that the population doesn’t die out. Not only is the ‘induction’ process physically demanding on the women of the world, but once the baby is born parents are continuously watched and monitored to ensure that they are meeting the high standards of parenting, otherwise they risk losing their child. Despite witnessing the work of the OSIP firsthand, Kit thinks she is prepared for motherhood, but how far will she go to protect her child? I really enjoyed the way this story was told, with the chapters alternating between “then” and “now”. This built suspense brilliantly and made Kit’s story much more mysterious rather than giving the reader all the answers prematurely. I also loved the way the chapters would abruptly change in length at times, with some only lasting a couple of paragraphs in each one. Not only did this keep the pacing fresh but it also gave these scenes a sense of franticness and panic which was very effective at drawing me even further in. Through this alternating narrative, we also learn a lot about the state of the world that Kit is living in, and how it is still constantly changing. Which does a great job of highlighting how the people, both parents and OUTs can never let themselves be completely comfortable or at ease. As the rules of the world can change the moment you think you’re safe. What I also enjoyed about this particular narrative style was that this also gives you a greater insight into Kit’s development and going from an OUT to a mother. I thought Kit was a really interesting protagonist and we got to see a lot of the world and other people’s struggles through her, as well as seeing how she dealt with her own. I thought she was an incredibly strong character who showed us the two different sides of living in this world as a woman. Whilst I enjoyed seeing how Kit was dealing with what she was going through, especially from the unique perspective that she has from her change in status in society; I was also fascinated to see how her sister, Evie, coped with the stress of the OSIP (The Office of Standards in Parenting) once becoming a mother. To see the gradual change in her behaviour from doting, proud, mother to a paranoid one. Although Evie is a side character, Ho-Yen still develops her character and gives her as much nuance as a protagonist which I loved; it made her, and her relationship, with Kit much more authentic. Overall, I thought this was a really interesting take on the typical dystopian world and the first one I’ve seen tackle population crisis in this way. I was fascinated to read about a world in which infertility has become a worldwide problem and the extreme measures that the Governments go in order to protect the children that are born. This is a definite must read for any dystopian fan!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy Walker - Trans-Scribe Reviews

    Dark Lullaby is the latest release from Titan Books, one that presents a grim future for Britain, but one that seems so plausible it’s absolutely frightening. The book follows the life of Kit, a woman who’s struggling to keep her family together in a world where the slightest deviation from what those in authority see as good parenting can cause your child to be taken away from you forever. Set in a future where the vast majority of humanity has become infertile, new technology has been developed Dark Lullaby is the latest release from Titan Books, one that presents a grim future for Britain, but one that seems so plausible it’s absolutely frightening. The book follows the life of Kit, a woman who’s struggling to keep her family together in a world where the slightest deviation from what those in authority see as good parenting can cause your child to be taken away from you forever. Set in a future where the vast majority of humanity has become infertile, new technology has been developed to enable people to become pregnant, though it’s not without significant risks. We follow Kit through two different periods of her life, with chapters alternating between her as a young single woman and her as a mother who’s trying to prevent her daughter daughter from being taken away. Through these intertwining narratives we start to unravel why Kit goes from someone who never wants to go through the dangers of having a child, to someone willing to go on the run to protect her daughter. One of the things that makes Dark Lullaby so engrossing, that really makes you want to keep on reading even though it’s a pretty depressing book at times, is how much it feels like what you’re reading here could actually come to pass. The Britain presented in Polly Ho-Yen’s story isn’t too far removed from what we have now, but for a few differences. There’s an almost constant state presence in public and people homes, as government approved films and broadcasts are streamed out over devices, and not allowed to be turned off. We also learn that through some sly political manoeuvring there’s only a one party system now, and that those in charge are pretty misogynistic, and unforgiving towards people. I’m sure some will argue that that doesn’t seem realistic, but given some of the violence against women in the UK these last few weeks, and the government trying to make protest illegal, it strikes me as very plausible that a government could reach that stage, especially if something like world wide infertility became an issue. Despite setting up this new version of the United Kingdom the story isn’t really about this future, but about one family, and the trials they go through. Over the course of the two time periods we learn a lot about Kit, and her sister, and the struggles they go through with their family. When Kit is at the point in her life that she doesn’t want to be a parent her sister is going through the lengthy process of becoming a mother, followed by the frightening trials of keeping her child from being taken away. Kit is able to show her sister support, and can try to be there for her, but as she gets closer and closer to losing her son their relationship strains and the two sisters drift further apart, to the point where when Kit herself is a mother and finds herself in a similar situation to her sister she’s suddenly alone and without her support. The book examines family relationships, and how extreme stress and trauma can shape and change those dynamics. We see people who openly fall apart as the government breathes down their necks, and others who put on a brave public face. We see some marriages flourish, with partners coming together stronger than ever, whilst others fall to pieces thanks to the pressure of the loss of their child looms on the horizon. And this is what I think makes the book so engaging and affecting. It puts you in these people’s worlds at the most awful times in their lives, at times when they risk losing the thing they love the most. I’m not a parent, and I have no intention of ever becoming one. Parenting isn’t for me for a number of reasons. However, even as someone who never wants a child, Polly Ho-Yen managed to make me feel something whilst reading this book. She got me to feel like I was in these people’s shoes, experiencing the stress and trauma that they were living with; the desperation to hold onto their children as the world around them turned against them. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to feel like you’re having to be constantly on the lookout, to not be able to trust anyone because you believe they could try to take your child from you, but I feel like I’ve had a little glimpse into that thanks to this book. Dark Lullaby isn’t a light read; the ‘dark’ in the title really gives that away. There aren’t many moments of happiness, there’s a constant fear and dread that permeates the book, yet despite that I wasn’t able to stop reading it. I couldn’t help but be drawn into this world and these characters, and I feel like it’s a book I’m going to be remembering and recommending for a long time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paperbacks

    There was something deeply personal about reading Dark Lullaby, speaking honestly as someone who suffered from PND and often felt massively inadequate as a first time parent I couldn't help but put myself in the place of the parents we meet in this book. It's a path that has been trodden before, a society beset by infertility where children are revered, however, Dark Lullaby takes it to a new level with the sinister OSIP. Literally anyone, anywhere can be waiting to pounce, to pass judgement on There was something deeply personal about reading Dark Lullaby, speaking honestly as someone who suffered from PND and often felt massively inadequate as a first time parent I couldn't help but put myself in the place of the parents we meet in this book. It's a path that has been trodden before, a society beset by infertility where children are revered, however, Dark Lullaby takes it to a new level with the sinister OSIP. Literally anyone, anywhere can be waiting to pounce, to pass judgement on the smallest infringement of their overbearing standards of parenting. Feeding, sleeping, soothing, these are all things that as parents now we struggle through but with support, to think of doing that alone and under scrutiny of failure made this a heart shattering read at times.  Told in an alternating "Then" and "Now" style we see Kit go from an "Out" the term for woman who chose not to go through Induction to the desperate mother we meet in the opening chapters. How eventually a society obsessed with child bearing reduces a woman's worth to almost zero if they chose to remove themselves from the process. Substandard housing and career stagnation can all be escaped by fulfilling your destiny as a woman to produce a child. Its sad to see the pro's and con's of having a child weighed initially in lifestyle perks and how conditioned women become, even knowing the pain and risk involved, that this is the ultimate in achievement.  There was something utterly compelling about Kit's story though, understanding the choices she makes through what she has witnessed and what she believes society requires of her is stunningly written. Despite the heavy subject matter it doesn't feel heavy to read, I found myself bounding through the pages, the short and snappy chapters building up to the storm we know is coming, the urgency of Kit's quest spilling into my fingers and I turned page after page desperate to know how it ends. Whilst the connection to The Handmaids Tale is fair given the subject, it's actually the Black Mirror feel that stood out more starkly for me. Everything should be questioned and I was left with an uneasy satisfaction at the way things played out, which is a curious feeling and one that I don't think a book has ever left me with before. Even though my own experiences made this a difficult read in places, it was as brilliant as I hoped it would be from the blurb and the stunning cover. There is also some pretty clever propaganda floating around from the publisher which you should definitely seek out too to round out the reading experience. Thank you as always to Titan Books for providing me with an early copy of Dark Lullaby for review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 4.5* This book was not kidding about being "dark", let's get that cleared up. The premise is incredible, and it definitely delivered. I was a bit nervous, I won't lie, because doing awful things to kids and/or parents always hits a little harder. But it was so good that even though it is upsetting (wildly so), it's also very readable. The thing is, the world is so believable, which is kind You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 4.5* This book was not kidding about being "dark", let's get that cleared up. The premise is incredible, and it definitely delivered. I was a bit nervous, I won't lie, because doing awful things to kids and/or parents always hits a little harder. But it was so good that even though it is upsetting (wildly so), it's also very readable. The thing is, the world is so believable, which is kind of what makes it so upsetting. In this society, which seems to be set in a foreseeable future where most people cannot conceive children without some major medical reproductive assistance (read: taking copious amount of drugs that, at best are debilitating, at worst will straight up kill the woman). As such, when a child is born, it's monitored extremely closely by the government. And if they don't like how you're raising your kid? Well, it's their kid now. So you can just imagine the kind of emotional pull we'll see during this book. It alternates between present and past timelines, so we see what Kit has gone through in her journey, what horrors she's seen inflicted upon loved ones. I am trying to keep this intentionally vague, as not to spoil anything, but there are definitely great twists along the way. And like I mentioned, the emotional component of the story is intense. You'll be rooting for Kit and her family, and of course, yelling at the agency willing to take children from their families for really ridiculous "infractions".  My only minor qualm is probably a very personal one, and also a bit spoilery, so: (view spoiler)[the ending broke me. It was VERY appropriate for the story, and I kind of liked that the author was brave enough to "go there"? But it's also quite bleak, from a global perspective. (hide spoiler)] Bottom Line: Brutally emotional, and all too plausible, Dark Lullaby gripped me from the start and never let up.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Veight

    In a near future where infertility is a problem, pregnancy and parenting are moderated. You are chosen for induction (impregnation) which is dangerous, then if successful, are closely monitored as a parent by a totalitarian government. If found at fault you may lose the child. There is a mystery surrounding the extractions. This is the story of Kit and what lengths she goes to, so she can keep her daughter Mimi. It goes back and forth between two timelines, then and now piquing your curiosity fro In a near future where infertility is a problem, pregnancy and parenting are moderated. You are chosen for induction (impregnation) which is dangerous, then if successful, are closely monitored as a parent by a totalitarian government. If found at fault you may lose the child. There is a mystery surrounding the extractions. This is the story of Kit and what lengths she goes to, so she can keep her daughter Mimi. It goes back and forth between two timelines, then and now piquing your curiosity from the very beginning. Raw and honest, a narrative doused with melancholy but also a projection of the fear that society in general and parents specifically live in. The fear our protagonists live in the Now. The emotions here are potent, there are parts that are heartbreaking. I really enjoyed the descriptions with small everyday details, things you might think to yourself while observing what is happening around you in the moment. Even though it is a 1st person POV you get a great sense of all the characters and the dialogues are so earnest. This is a slow burner and the story sometimes seems to be dragging its feet. The timelines do a little back and forth of their own and that's a little jarring. There are points where it might be somewhat aggravating because they are not needed in my opinion or should be more linear. But you cannot deny that both timelines are always interesting. When you start getting lost in the intrigue, the switches between Then and Now amp up the suspense. The story really takes of. You are pleasantly surprised with the unexpected twists. And that big revelation that is a stroke of genius. A central theme here is the intricacies of human relationships and how difficult they can be. How secrets can sometimes be destructive, especially from our loved ones. The undeniable power of the love for a child. Is there a price too high to pay for your children? This is a great story, with a knack for making you care and gorgeous portrayals of emotion. I will be sure to look out for anything new by Polly Ho-Yen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen (shitbookreviews.com)

    I don’t like this book. I don’t like it because it feels like it could be something that could actually happen and that freaks me out. And that’s why it got my full attention. Set in a dystopian future where EVERYTHING is monitored and curtain twitchers are rampant, Dark Lullaby is a creepy-ass story which switches from the past and present. Here’s what you’re in for: ✨ A world with 98% infertility ✨ An alarming conception procedure that sometimes comes with devastating consequences ✨ Children are tr I don’t like this book. I don’t like it because it feels like it could be something that could actually happen and that freaks me out. And that’s why it got my full attention. Set in a dystopian future where EVERYTHING is monitored and curtain twitchers are rampant, Dark Lullaby is a creepy-ass story which switches from the past and present. Here’s what you’re in for: ✨ A world with 98% infertility ✨ An alarming conception procedure that sometimes comes with devastating consequences ✨ Children are treated like gods shrouded in bubble wrap ✨ A women’s battle to find her daughter Enter Kit. A woman who didn’t want kids but lived in a pressure-cooker system where you hit the glass ceiling of life if you didn’t produce crotch goblins. If you weren’t helping to repopulate the earth, you were deemed a second class citizen also known as ‘Out’. Want to move up the corporate ladder? Tough titties – you will always get the shite jobs. Want a new house instead of the mould-infested hovel you call your humble abode? You better arm yourself with a bottle of bleach and a scrubbing brush ’cause you ain’t going nowhere. Your life can only improve if you go through their fertility process known ominously as ‘Induction’ – something that, at best, can make you horrifically sick and, at worst, kill you. If you chose to go down the induction route, there’s always ‘the fear‘ that hovers over the parents; you are being watched. Constantly. You can be handed ISP’s (Insufficient Standard of Parenting) at any stage and if you hit their max, be prepared for ‘Extraction’. A harrowing process of storming into the house, removing the child and sending them away to a mysterious place. After witnessing this situation first hand, Kit swore off children. That was until she met Thomas. This is an absolutely mental story where shit gets flipped/reversed on you at the drop of a hat. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, but honestly, I think the book works really well like that. If I were in that situation, I’d be the same; standoffish and wary of every bastard that came near me. Dark Lullaby is a real easy read that kept me turning page after page whilst I had a serious what the fuck face on the entire time. Whilst it’s depressing as hell, it’s a fascinating little book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Bowyer

    I love that there are more and more books being published with motherhood at their core. Dark Lullaby joins the ranks of Q, The Mother Fault and The Farm, imagining a dark future of suffocating control over women's reproduction and parenting. The catalyst in Dark Lullaby is a dramatic rise in infertility, to 98% of the population. It's not the first novel to deal with such a future scenario, following in the footsteps of P.D. James' The Children of Men and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Au I love that there are more and more books being published with motherhood at their core. Dark Lullaby joins the ranks of Q, The Mother Fault and The Farm, imagining a dark future of suffocating control over women's reproduction and parenting. The catalyst in Dark Lullaby is a dramatic rise in infertility, to 98% of the population. It's not the first novel to deal with such a future scenario, following in the footsteps of P.D. James' The Children of Men and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Author Ho-Yen imagines a world where women are pressured to go through 'induction' - a process similar to IVF but which can cause serious illness and maternal death - and are monitored throughout the pregnancy and early childhood to make sure they're doing everything correctly. Even minor transgressions are met with a state-issued formal warning. Too many warnings, particularly in the first year of a child's life, and the baby will be 'extracted' - that is, taken away to be raised in the compounds where it can be cared for 'properly'. Perhaps most concerning, to me, was that I didn't find it particularly surprising. Having birthed and raised two small children myself, level of monitoring and critique - both external and self-imposed - is enormous. It's not as formalised as in Dark Lullaby (nobody will knock on your door and issue you a warning for feeding your baby formula without permission) but the scrutiny and the pressure to do everything 'right' is certainly there. For me, Dark Lullaby was an enjoyable read but felt a little predictable, although this is quite possibly simply because I've read so many similar books. It's well written, very plausible and an important conversation to have. Parents need to be responsible and accountable - that's a given - but how far should the state go to ensure this happens?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    A dystopian thriller that is frightening for its plausibility My thanks to Titan Books for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Dark Lullaby’ by Polly Ho-Yen in exchange for an honest review. Even before starting reading I was drawn by its striking red, white, and black cover with its echoes of Art Deco. In the near future the world is experiencing an infertility crises with the last natural birth being over twenty years ago. As a result the only way to conceive is through a painful fertility treatment, kn A dystopian thriller that is frightening for its plausibility My thanks to Titan Books for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Dark Lullaby’ by Polly Ho-Yen in exchange for an honest review. Even before starting reading I was drawn by its striking red, white, and black cover with its echoes of Art Deco. In the near future the world is experiencing an infertility crises with the last natural birth being over twenty years ago. As a result the only way to conceive is through a painful fertility treatment, known as Induction. New parents are closely monitored by the Office of Standards in Parenting (OSIP) and can be issued with an IPS, ‘insufficient parenting standard’. Receive a set number of these and your baby can be ‘extracted’ by the OSIP and raised by the State. ‘Dark Lullaby’ moves between a ‘Now’ and a ‘Then’. Its lead character and narrator is Kit. After witnessing the stress experienced by others going through Induction and then all the OSIP monitoring, Kit isn’t sure that she wants children. However, after meeting Thomas and falling in love, she changes her mind and they have a baby girl, Mimi. Yet as careful as they are those little parenting mistakes start mounting up.... I found ‘Dark Lullaby’ well written and highly engaging. While the ‘sterility plague’ is an established trope in dystopian fiction, the premise here has become all too plausible given the increased reports of declining fertility due to various environmental factors. It was easy to empathise with Kit as she frantically seeks to comply with the dictates of the OSIP, whose agents seem to pop up out of nowhere to issue an IPS. Enjoyed isn’t quite the right description for my experience of reading this novel as it is quite dark. It certainly provided food for thought and likely will be a novel that is popular with reading groups that enjoy speculative fiction as it presents plenty of topics for discussion. 4.5 rounded up to 5.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dean Asquith

    Polly Ho-Yen has an exceptional ability to build a world in your mind. She does this through eloquent descriptions and vivid character creation. I was instantly transported into the mind of Kit, I had become a part of her doubts, her worries, her happiness and her determination. It was such an inclusive feeling, very rare in the reading world. The author's writing style in this book is very different to any novel I have read before. Polly Ho-Yen bounces us from past to present in each ‘chapter’. Polly Ho-Yen has an exceptional ability to build a world in your mind. She does this through eloquent descriptions and vivid character creation. I was instantly transported into the mind of Kit, I had become a part of her doubts, her worries, her happiness and her determination. It was such an inclusive feeling, very rare in the reading world. The author's writing style in this book is very different to any novel I have read before. Polly Ho-Yen bounces us from past to present in each ‘chapter’. This results in cliffhanger after cliffhanger which plays havoc with my anxiety but in a very intriguing, thrilling way. Polly has a beautiful way of terrifying you in one moment then overloading you with adoration of characters in the next instance. Kit’s story emanates with me on deep levels. I myself have 2 little girls and the thought of being in Kit’s situation terrifies me. Not only because of Polly’s exceptional writing, but through the likelihood of that version of society actually becoming more than fiction. Honestly, I feel like it could happen within some societies in real life. A horrific notion. I spent 85% of my time reading this, sat in pure terror. Even so, I was gripped entirely and struggled to tear myself away. This carpet bomb of cliffhangers approach generated great feelings of ‘just one more chapter,’ so much so that I stayed up for hours at a time reading this. I highly recommend giving this story a read, but beware, this is a heavy, psychologically impactful read that will both terrify and delight. Congratulations Polly Ho-Yen for a superb book that is sure to make some bestsellers lists.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Infertility isn't often thought of as world ending, but it definitely should be. In Dark Lullaby, infertility has risen to over 98%. There are various explanations bandied about, but no one seems sure exactly what's happened. All they know is that for women to give birth, they have to go through a regimen of drugs that are as likely to kill them as help them; if they do fall pregnant, they are supervised literally every step of the way; assuming they make it to birth, their child still might be Infertility isn't often thought of as world ending, but it definitely should be. In Dark Lullaby, infertility has risen to over 98%. There are various explanations bandied about, but no one seems sure exactly what's happened. All they know is that for women to give birth, they have to go through a regimen of drugs that are as likely to kill them as help them; if they do fall pregnant, they are supervised literally every step of the way; assuming they make it to birth, their child still might be taken away from them. OSIP, the government body concerned with protecting children, have absolute powers and can take children away at any time for any reason. This story is set in two timelines, 'now' and 'then'. I'm not very clear on how long the gap between them is; there's no times attached to either of them. All we know is that a child who was a baby 'then' is still a child, probably under ten, 'now'. I don't really like stories that jump timelines, partly because it's harder to follow and partly because I get involved with one storyline and then have to leave it. However, after a while with this one I didn't have any problem following it. (I was still getting involved with a storyline, but that's probably a good sign.) The ending was kind of a downer, but that's true of Handmaid's, too, and honestly I'm not sure how else it could have ended. Everything was always going to get to the point it's at. It's a good, slightly depressing but really interesting read. I'm glad I stuck it out past the initial uncertainty because it really did pick up after a while.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Profano

    It was a bit hard for me to get into this book. In my opinion it was a bit slow paced for my taste, I didn't get that exciting feeling of expectation, the sensation of not being able to wait to find something out. Sometimes I even asked myself what should I be questioning or expecting, really. Unfortunately, I didn't feel empathy for any of the characters in this story. Also, I don't think there was much depth to any of them and hence my difficulty to connect and relate with them. However, I don't It was a bit hard for me to get into this book. In my opinion it was a bit slow paced for my taste, I didn't get that exciting feeling of expectation, the sensation of not being able to wait to find something out. Sometimes I even asked myself what should I be questioning or expecting, really. Unfortunately, I didn't feel empathy for any of the characters in this story. Also, I don't think there was much depth to any of them and hence my difficulty to connect and relate with them. However, I don't think by all means this a bad book, far from that. Even though I wasn't amazed with the writing style and the narrative, the story really left me thinking about it for a long time after I finished. I always say this about dystopias, what I love the most about this genre is the ability to make us question our reality and its problems, as well as the perspectives about the future. As a woman, it was frustrating reading this (and this is not a critique!). Imagining this possibility makes me absolutely sick, having no liberty whatsoever to chose or not to be a mother, not without some consequences at least, of course. Or, on the other hand, choosing maternity but having so much control over your life and your baby and how you're supposed to raise your children... absolutely nuts! In this case, if the book made me think so much about it and feel something, it cannot be bad! In other words, the idea is great and I enjoyed it so much, however the writing style and character creation process were not my favourite part of this book. I would like to add that this book would be an excelent choice for a book club reading, mainly because it sparks several ideas and promotes debate. Think about it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bekah B

    What a fantastic chilling Dystopian this book is! I couldn't put it down. Set in the near future during a time where infertility is a huge problem and women have to undergo extreme IVF and other medical treatments in order to have children. Prospective parents have to attend training courses prior to having a child and even have examinations to test their knowledge on everything they have been taught from child development to first aid. And then once the baby is born the family is VERY closely m What a fantastic chilling Dystopian this book is! I couldn't put it down. Set in the near future during a time where infertility is a huge problem and women have to undergo extreme IVF and other medical treatments in order to have children. Prospective parents have to attend training courses prior to having a child and even have examinations to test their knowledge on everything they have been taught from child development to first aid. And then once the baby is born the family is VERY closely monitored by the Government parenting standards department. They expect the absolute highest of standards and will issue warnings to parents if they fall below these standards, even for something as simple as a child crying for 1 second longer than the government believe it should. After several warnings the child is taken into care by the Government and the parents will never see their child again! This leads to parents being extremely anxious, stressed and exhausted. They just spend their lives practically waiting for their child to be taken away from them! The main character Kit had always said that she didn't want children as she didn't want to have to put herself through the life threatening treatments that were part of the IVF. But she later changes her mind and she, along with her Husband, decides to have a baby. The story follows two timelines, with the current one showing just how far Kit will go to keep her child from the Government, and the past timeline tells us the story of how she met her Husband and their journey to becoming parents. I loved getting the background to the story and also loved that jumping between timelines kept me reading for longer as I wanted to figure out what was going on. Kit was a woman I could relate to and it was sort of like I could see a fellow mama bear who would fight tooth and nail to protect her kids. I think the book really played on the fear that lots of new parents, especially Mothers have, about not being a good enough parent or worrying about making a mistake. It really had me on edge and was completely believable. At it's essence this is a story of women fighting back against oppression and I'd definitely recommend it for fans of The Handmaid's Tale and Christina Dalcher. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in return for an honest opinion.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Agnieszka

    The near future. In a world where infertility is the biggest problem, women are encouraged to have children through Induction. Once they embark on their fertility journey, they are monitored by OSIP (The Office of Standards in Parenting). Once the baby is born, the OSIP scrutiny doesn't end. If the parents fail to be perfect, their child will be extracted from them. Kit is an "out"; she doesn't want to have children. Having witnessed a few Extractions, she can't imagine ever going through the same The near future. In a world where infertility is the biggest problem, women are encouraged to have children through Induction. Once they embark on their fertility journey, they are monitored by OSIP (The Office of Standards in Parenting). Once the baby is born, the OSIP scrutiny doesn't end. If the parents fail to be perfect, their child will be extracted from them. Kit is an "out"; she doesn't want to have children. Having witnessed a few Extractions, she can't imagine ever going through the same. Until she meets Thomas. I love dystopian fiction, so of course, I was drawn in by the blurb of this book. It was a gripping read, but not in the sense of being fast-moving. What made me race through it was the knowledge of what was going to happen, and the need to get to that point as fast as possible to see how it would be resolved. The story alternates between now and then, and I think that also helped to keep the suspense. It's the first dystopian story I read that doesn't centre around trying to overthrow the government and getting rid of the predicament in which the characters found themselves. However, because of that, the ending, albeit good, wasn't entirely satisfactory. Still, it was a great read, and I truly enjoyed it. If you're a dystopian fiction fan, be sure to check it out.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beca ☾

    I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Well, shit. I didn’t like this book. Not because it was bad, but because it feels like it could be a possibility, and that freaks me out. We’re talking about a dystopian future where everything is monitored. The world is at 98% infertility, and if you weren’t helping to repopulate then you were basically considered a 2nd class citizen. Your life could only improve if you go through their fertility process known as “induction.” This I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Well, shit. I didn’t like this book. Not because it was bad, but because it feels like it could be a possibility, and that freaks me out. We’re talking about a dystopian future where everything is monitored. The world is at 98% infertility, and if you weren’t helping to repopulate then you were basically considered a 2nd class citizen. Your life could only improve if you go through their fertility process known as “induction.” This process is described as something that, at best, can make you horrifically sick and, at worst, kill you. After enduring induction, and eventually having your child, your parenting is then monitored and citations are given. When you receive a certain amount of citations the child is “extracted” or taken away to be raised at “compounds.” Or are they? Enter Kit, our MC, who personally witnessed the horrific process of extraction and has sworn off kids. That is until she meets Thomas. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, but I think that works for the book. If I were in that situation, I’d be the same; standoffish and wary of all. Dark Lullaby is an easy read that kept me turning page after page until the end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Effy

    This book is an infertility dystopia which by their nature are incredibly heavy reads but it also contains a particularly troubling scene where a character finds another dead. This is a particularly visceral scene so caution should be taken if grief and death are different subjects for you. I went into this book with fairly high expectations especially as I really love both The Handmaid's Tale and Black Mirror (both of which this book has been billed as being for fans of) but it just didn't quite This book is an infertility dystopia which by their nature are incredibly heavy reads but it also contains a particularly troubling scene where a character finds another dead. This is a particularly visceral scene so caution should be taken if grief and death are different subjects for you. I went into this book with fairly high expectations especially as I really love both The Handmaid's Tale and Black Mirror (both of which this book has been billed as being for fans of) but it just didn't quite meet the mark for me. This book is an original story but it also didn't feel as though it brought anything new to the genre to the point where the "twist" felt as though it had been telegraphed from the beginning of the book. I thoroughly enjoy dystopian novels and infertility is a common theme in dystopias so it could be that this book would appeal to readers who aren't as familiar with the genre. This book is told in alternating timelines of the past and the present which did not work for me. I don't think that this book was inherently bad, I just don't think that it was right for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maria Agnew

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ @iambookhorse has created a world that seems so real and possible it is anxiety inducing! As a mother, every page filled me with dread and fear as I hoped for a happy ending in a world that seems devoid of them. Fans of The Handmaid's Tale will LOVE this book. Imagine a world where, to have a child, you have to go through a gruelling fertility process called induction that could kill you. Imagine then that once you've had your miracle bundle of joy, you live in fear of them being extracted ⭐⭐⭐⭐ @iambookhorse has created a world that seems so real and possible it is anxiety inducing! As a mother, every page filled me with dread and fear as I hoped for a happy ending in a world that seems devoid of them. Fans of The Handmaid's Tale will LOVE this book. Imagine a world where, to have a child, you have to go through a gruelling fertility process called induction that could kill you. Imagine then that once you've had your miracle bundle of joy, you live in fear of them being extracted and taken away. Make a mistake, you will receive an IPS (Insufficient Parenting Standard). Too many IPS...? Your child is taken off you, never to return. That may sound protective and ideal to safeguard children, until you realize you can get an IPS for letting your child cry for 5 minutes, or not supporting their head fully even for a moment. Kit has decided, after seeing the struggles of her sister's fertility treatment, and witnessing the trauma of extraction, that she doesn't want children...until she falls in love. But when the threat of her child being extracted looms over, how far will she go to keep her family together.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bookphenomena (Micky)

    2.5 - 3 stars Dark Lullaby was a tale centred around infertility dystopia and needless to say, this was a story that was mostly impactful on women. The book plunged the reader immediately into a sad and oppressive world where there seemed to be limited hope and expectations for people. This world was very similar to the world we exist in now. As a reader, you did feel the various stages of desperation that the women in this book experienced. I would have liked more from the male characters in the 2.5 - 3 stars Dark Lullaby was a tale centred around infertility dystopia and needless to say, this was a story that was mostly impactful on women. The book plunged the reader immediately into a sad and oppressive world where there seemed to be limited hope and expectations for people. This world was very similar to the world we exist in now. As a reader, you did feel the various stages of desperation that the women in this book experienced. I would have liked more from the male characters in the book. Overall, I was left somewhat unsatisfied throughout the read and in the culmination. The theme of the story had all the potential, the characters were not necessarily likeable but they were robustly developed. I don’t why this just didn’t hit the spot for me considering my enjoyment of dytopia. I’m a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale that also tackles this theme of infertility changing the world but that book was so much more, in my opinion. Thank you to Titan Books for the early review copy. Dark Lullaby is out now. Full review to come for the blog.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    The premise of Dark Lullaby is an interesting one and overall I think the author did it justice. I appreciated the steady shift in perspective between the past and the present; though it has been done before, the author uses it effectively here to give information to the reader at just the right time in the book. There were a few holes here and there, and it is certainly reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale. But on the whole, this is a well-done work of dystopian fiction and I recommend it to folk The premise of Dark Lullaby is an interesting one and overall I think the author did it justice. I appreciated the steady shift in perspective between the past and the present; though it has been done before, the author uses it effectively here to give information to the reader at just the right time in the book. There were a few holes here and there, and it is certainly reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale. But on the whole, this is a well-done work of dystopian fiction and I recommend it to folks who enjoy the genre.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty ~ Paper Hearts Ink

    I found this book hard to put down! It’s quite bleak at times but Kit’s story and journey to try and keep her family was compelling and well written. The world building and sinister aspect of the OSIP was quite scary. I really enjoyed the Then and Now set up that the author used to tell the story and it fed well into furthering the darker tone. The society the author portrayed doesn’t feel like that far a stretch to one we could see in the future. I found myself wondering how I would have reacte I found this book hard to put down! It’s quite bleak at times but Kit’s story and journey to try and keep her family was compelling and well written. The world building and sinister aspect of the OSIP was quite scary. I really enjoyed the Then and Now set up that the author used to tell the story and it fed well into furthering the darker tone. The society the author portrayed doesn’t feel like that far a stretch to one we could see in the future. I found myself wondering how I would have reacted in Kit’s (and her sisters) situation, and what I would do to protect my own children. A gripping and thought provoking read.   Thanks to Titan Books for the gifted book in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Breanna

    Thank you to the publisher and author for a free copy of Dark Lullaby by Polly Ho-Yen in exchange for participating in a book tour (and an honest review)! First of all, I LOVE this cover and I loved the book! Not only was the plot fast-paced and kept me engaged, I thought Kit's character was really well developed. Her struggles as a new mom felt real, even with a dystopian backdrop. I saw the major twist coming from at least halfway through the book but that didn't detract from the book for me at Thank you to the publisher and author for a free copy of Dark Lullaby by Polly Ho-Yen in exchange for participating in a book tour (and an honest review)! First of all, I LOVE this cover and I loved the book! Not only was the plot fast-paced and kept me engaged, I thought Kit's character was really well developed. Her struggles as a new mom felt real, even with a dystopian backdrop. I saw the major twist coming from at least halfway through the book but that didn't detract from the book for me at all. I gave this 4.5/5 stars (I always round up). You can find my post for the book tour here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CM2_wFNr1hN/

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lianne Anta

    Wow what a read!!! This book was Fantastic! It reminded me of an episode of the TV show black Mirrors. It was a such a different and kind of heartbreaking dystopian read. I would hate to ever think of a world with those kinds of secrets, lies and disturbances. The author really captures the reader with the storyline as it’s something you never want to go through but can almost imagine it happening. The book alternates from past to present painting the story with many twists and turns, it was dark Wow what a read!!! This book was Fantastic! It reminded me of an episode of the TV show black Mirrors. It was a such a different and kind of heartbreaking dystopian read. I would hate to ever think of a world with those kinds of secrets, lies and disturbances. The author really captures the reader with the storyline as it’s something you never want to go through but can almost imagine it happening. The book alternates from past to present painting the story with many twists and turns, it was dark, enthralling, gripping and absolutely BRILLIANT, I just couldn’t stop turning the pages.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Dark Lullaby was a really quick and easy read. I don't always care for skipping timelines in books, but the element of Then and Now worked as intended to keep me invested in the story and what would happen with the characters. The characters themselves were fairly nuanced, and it wasn't until the story's end that I could see their depth. I think that is the mark of a good story - when the ending makes you re-examine the motivations and actions of the characters. As a mother, I had to think about Dark Lullaby was a really quick and easy read. I don't always care for skipping timelines in books, but the element of Then and Now worked as intended to keep me invested in the story and what would happen with the characters. The characters themselves were fairly nuanced, and it wasn't until the story's end that I could see their depth. I think that is the mark of a good story - when the ending makes you re-examine the motivations and actions of the characters. As a mother, I had to think about whether I would have made the same decisions, and if I could live with them. That ending...it really puts the whole book in perspective. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    "Dark Lullaby" is one of those books that makes you squirm a little bit. It is so fantastically written that I couldn't help wondering if Polly Ho-Yen had seen the future... This is a really gripping story that is more than a little bit heart-breaking in parts and it had me on the edge of my sofa several times. Just pure brilliance! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion. "Dark Lullaby" is one of those books that makes you squirm a little bit. It is so fantastically written that I couldn't help wondering if Polly Ho-Yen had seen the future... This is a really gripping story that is more than a little bit heart-breaking in parts and it had me on the edge of my sofa several times. Just pure brilliance! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

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