I am delighted to share my review today for The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith. I think it was around this time last year that I read this author’s next book, Off Target (Full review HERE). It made such an impression that I immediately bought a copy of The Waiting Rooms, unfortunately, it took me nearly a year to read it. But it was excellent and has left me looking forward to more from this author.
Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.
Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.
Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.
With Covid, Avian Flu and also the threat of resistance to antibiotics fresh in my mind I decided to read The Waiting Rooms. I have read the 2nd book Off Target by this author and it made a huge impression. The Waiting Rooms is an amazing book to read and at times one that can be quite uncomfortable.
This book is set up as having two timelines. One is pre-crisis and the other is a near-future setting. The pre-crisis draws the reader into a world where antibiotics are not working, and infections, diseases and illnesses are deadly for those who contract them. Wave after wave of resistant diseases is killing millions of people worldwide. The race to find alternative medicines and cures is on.
The near-future setting is one that we are sort of familiar with, face masks, no contact and being super careful about being in groups. However, the author has made it a much more dangerous scenario with riots, risks of attack and the dilemma of what to do with people who are too ill to continue with their lives.
While the story in the near future does have medical implications there is another underlying story. How this is connected to the pre-crisis setting is one that is intriguing and shows how things change over the decades. How dealing with one problem can set off a series of events that causes a larger problem in the future. I think this is something we can relate to easily when we look at fossil fuels and other industrial advances against the global climate we live in today. The author has taken a similar route and it is one that is all too easy to be able to realise.
This is a brilliant read. The terminology is basic to understand and the importance of decisions made and that has to be made is one that keeps the story moving. Events and characters have been woven and twisted so that I always wanted to what was going to happen next.
I adored the suspense and thrill of this story, but it also exudes an element of reality. An eye-opener of a thriller and one I would definitely recommend.
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