The We and the They by Kyra Ann Dawkins

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#Dystopian, #Fantasy, #SpeculativeFiction,

“Our collective genesis guides our heartbeat as We run.”

With nature reclaiming cities and mountainous tides drowning islands, a group of individuals — known collectively as the We — find themselves ravaged by hunger and struggling to survive. When another community — the They — promise them luxurious meals, the We are unable to decline.

After following the They to their farm, the We begin to notice some mysterious habits: odd sacrifices, talk of flames, and a strange book. Follow along as the We uncover the truth behind the secretive group and learn the most important part of being human.

The We and the They is a fiction novel set in a world crumbling underneath the grip of the Great Famine. You will enjoy this book if you are fascinated by oral tradition, you like considering questions about community and identity, or you just want a break from curating your “I.”

Why? Why what? Why did We decide to become We?

We want to believe it was out of regard for human dignity. Sometimes, We like to say We were too humble to choose who had the right to have and those who didn’t. And perhaps those things were somewhat true. But in reality, We were too exhausted to kill each other. It was impossible to plot murder when parched tongues clung to the roofs of needy mouths. Besides, hunger was our enemy. Why would We have wasted our energy warring against one another? It was an oxymoronic, yet altruistic common sense that worked by some miracle. None of us ate until We were satisfied but We had enough for all of us to subsist. Our collective survival depended on each other.

Yet in time, We grew weary of having stomach groans as lullabies. That was why We were so willing to believe them. They seemed to be an answer to our prayers. They were beautiful at first. Their strides were long and assured as They neared us. It was as if They already knew who We were. Their skin glistened in a way that was more than human. Mystic. Angelic. Metallic. Golden. God-sent. Gorgeous. These were no ordinary wanderers. But most startlingly, once They only were a breath away, They kneeled before us in reverence. “Come with us,” They insisted in Common Tongue, their voices bellowing. “We have found an oasis. A group of us have settled there and started a farm. There is plenty of food. More than milk and honey. If you join us, we will provide a great feast in celebration and many more to come. You all are welcome to eat from our table.”

By then, a type of desperation that superseded suspicion had seized us all. Hunger was our enemy, after all, and They would slay it. We went with them. And it is difficult to tell whether that was the end of our beginnings or the beginning of their ends.

4 out of 5 (very good)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

I say dystopian horror as it's set after Mother Nature has gone on a wild rampage across the earth. The horror part... that comes from something else, although not in a slasher style.

Kara Ann Dawkins has done well with presenting, on the whole, a written monologue of community history. As with most things after a traumatic event (in this case the re-ordering of nature) it's not always possible to get things in the correct order, especially if pen and paper isn't readily available. So, it's kind of like, two steps forward (general telling of events) and one step back (as we learn of certain character's fates). I like it though, it creates a bond to a character before hearing their history.

I found The We and the They to be quite thought provoking, I was asking myself how I would cope, what would I do in their situation.

I'd recommend as a young adult read as the themes could be upsetting for a younger audience. Settle in with a nice cuppa, a blanket and read about a world that we could easily find ourselves in... though when you learn more about the They you'll understand I don't mean their physicality.

** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Inspired by the stories her grandfather told her, Kyra Ann Dawkins is no stranger to writing. Having published in many papers, she graduated with highest honors from Phillips Exeter Academy and from Columbia University in the City of New York where she majored in Medicine, Literature, and Society. After graduating, she noticed an intense pressure to construct her identity. A champion of oral tradition, she wrote her debut book, The We and the They, to create a narrative space where readers could escape the limits of individuality and experience a story as a member of a new collective. Kyra enjoys The Twilight Zone and is a huge Mickey Mouse fan. When she isn’t visiting museums, you can often find her annoying her younger siblings

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