London is burning and Lalla has one hope for survival, a ship--a new Noah's Ark--that can only save 500 people, in this "Powerful, haunting, and beautiful" (M. R. Carey) debut novel. London burned for three weeks. And then it got worse... Young, naive Lalla has grown up in near-isolation in her parents' apartment, sheltered from the chaos of their collapsed civilization. But things are getting more dangerous outside. People are killing each other for husks of bread, and the police are detaining anyone without an identification card. On her sixteenth birthday, Lalla's father decides it's time to use their escape route--a ship he's built that is only big enough to save five hundred people. But the utopia her father has created isn't everything it appears. There's more food than anyone can eat, but nothing grows; more clothes than anyone can wear, but no way to mend them; and no-one can tell her where they are going.
The Ship to me is more about the inner struggles of fighting for what it means to exist when everything seems uncertain and unclear. At times Lalla's struggles and internal conflicts go back and forth. She seems to whine at times more than take action. Which at first can be a turn off. But in the overall arc of the book, this struggle is necessary. Lalla is the "every man" we could only hope to be in her situation. She may not be a Katniss or a Tris, but she is her own person with her own strengths and flaws.
What drew me into The Ship and kept me reading is not only Lalla's struggles but the mystery behind the Ship itself. Her parents' ultimate goal is to keep Lalla safe and this ship is the one way they can guarantee this. But what did her mother sacrifice? What did her father have to do, give up, to ensure their future? How did all the passengers aboard the ship survive and get on board? Ultimately, where is Lalla's salvation from all the horror she has witnesses in London and around the world? The scariest is part is the familiarity of life in London before the fall and how the cities around the world fell.
This is a must read for all Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic fans. It is a pleasant change from the typical novels in the genre.