Dystopian novels are my first love – I love reading how new societies would form after a great apocalyptic war. The Willing is the first one I’ve read for a while and I had really high hopes!
In less than a year, fifteen-year-old Gypsy Capone will be considered a woman in Ovoidia, a “utopian” city-state where every woman can be approached for immediate sex by any man, where curving architecture adheres to the feminine form, knives are prohibited and sporks are the only cutlery, and true intimacy between the genders is a sign of suspect subversion. After all, if a woman just plays along, she’ll also do her job and have children, with the reward of a fine home in the “Communities,” where she and the other “Mamas” live together in harmony with everything they need. Right?
The irony: Diam and Isis, the two current leaders of Ovoidia, are themselves a part of a legacy of females known as the Head Gajes. Fun, yes! And just below the surface, perversely sinister. The Head Gajes personally execute these precise sacrifices by women to establish their absurd utopia, and are backed up by their chosen army of male “crusaders,” enforcing a crime-free, fully controlled society.
Not surprisingly, in Ovoidia women have evolved until they feel nothing of sexual pleasure. But in Gypsy’s deepest heart, she realizes her own dark secret: she is the exception. To save her body and even her soul, Gypsy chooses a dangerous path—to single-handedly confront this scary and unpredictable world. She believes she has the support of her allegiant sister Sadie and Miles Devine, a rogue, secretly gay crusader, and also “Doctor,” a morally questionable physician to help her. But none of them fathom the levels of paradox, incongruity, and twisted evil they will soon face, and the ride becomes something even Gypsy could have never imaged.
This book started well; I was intrigued by the premise of a society where women had evolved to feel no pleasure.
Gypsy is a great character, knowing she’s different and trying to help her sister.
I adored Miles and Rigby and liked the different personas during work and personal time; I really connected with them.
Diam and Isis are well-written characters, and I could imagine them (I imagined them as the horrible step-sisters from Cinderella!) and their wicked schemes to keep their utopia safe. There were definite vibes of The Handmaid’s Tale and other dystopian novels I’ve read over the years.
The first half was fast-paced, and I was definitely all involved, but then the second half seemed to run away with various ideas.
This is where I got a little bit lost if I’m honest. The plot is excellent, but there were points where I thought it had been rushed. It went in a different direction to the one I thought, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I am unsure what happens next. I will read the next book (if there is one) as I have to have closure!
Thanks to Love Books Tours and Lindsay Lees for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.