Book Review: Ration by Cody T Luff

TW: Abuse, child abuse, violence, death, gore Yikes. If I could sum up Ration in one word, that would be it. Yikes. This was an...

TW: Abuse, child abuse, violence, death, gore

Yikes. If I could sum up Ration in one word, that would be it. Yikes. This was an incredibly tough book to read and for more reasons than one. It was so gory and sickening, I was often sick to my stomach. This isn't necessarily a turn off. I tend to like books that are haunting and terrifying on a deep level. But the writing was not strong. In fact, I struggled to comprehend a lot of the story and found myself re-reading passages over and over again. Even though this book was just over 200 pages, it took me several days to finish it. I found myself doing anything but reading, and if I was a little nicer to myself, I likely would have placed it on my DNF shelf (which is nonexistent, because I can't make myself not finish a book I've started).

In a far away dystopian future, girls are shipped into apartments where they're used for their skin and body parts - and not in a sexual way. Men no longer exist, and the upperclass, if there's still such a thing, are using the less fortunate for their parts. No part of a girl is wasted, being used for food and skin grafts, for health concerns. When one girl is shipped out for committing murder through ordering too many rations, her closest friend must learn to survive in the apartments in a new role.

I found the epilogue to be useless. In terms of the main storyline, I'm not sure what its purpose was. It was briefly mentioned again, but had no relevance to the rest of the novel and I sincerely felt it could have been done without. That wasn't my biggest complaint though. This novel felt like it was trying so hard to be shocking and twisty, that the novel instead lost the appeal the story could have brought to the table.

The characters were walking contradictions. I couldn't quite distinguish who was "good" and who was "bad." In some writing, that can be a great thing - a beautiful conflict of personal values mixed with flaws that create a realness around each character. In this instance, it was a flaw in the writing. Characters were unreasonably horrible, then quite kind, then back to horror. It was messy and confusing, and I really had to push myself to finish reading the story. I didn't connect with any of the characters, and truly hated them all.

I'm considering the fact that the book was written as a character study on dystopian literature and the value of human morals in an apocalyptic society where we have to feed on others to survive. I haven't read The Handmaid's Tale, but I've watched the show, and it seems there was a lot of influence taken from that storyline and placed into this one. But while The Handmaid's Tale is based on realism and seems much more possible (and therefore, all the more terrifying), this novel became a more literal story about what we take from others. 

"Fear makes things easier. Fear is a ration of its own, one to be given and never, never taken." - Ration, Cody T Luff

The outline of this book was incredibly interesting. It could have been impactful and maybe a twisted retelling and classic in dystopian stories, but the writing was too messy, the characters were too contradicting, and the overall execution of the storyline fell terribly flat. There was so much potential with this novel, but it all was implemented so horribly wrong.

Goodreads rating: ★☆☆☆☆

*I received this book free in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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