„The Blondes“ by Emily Schultz
„Hazel Hayes is a graduate student living in New York City when she learns she is pregnant from an ill-advised affair with her married professor. More worrisome than the shock of this discovery is the apocalyptically bad timing; random but deadly attacks, all by women with light hair, have begun terrorizing the city’s inhabitants. As the days pass, it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange contagion that is transforming blondes from all walks of life–whether CEOs, flight attendants, students, accountants, television personalities, or academics–into rabid killers. Hazel–confused, desperate, almost penniless and soon visibly pregnant–flees the city and sets out to cross the border into Canada where she will find the one woman who just might be able to help her in a world gone awry.“
The premise of „The Blondes“ really intrigued me. A pandemic all over the world, that is not about where you live or whether you have access to clean water. It’s all about the colour of your hair. As I am blonde myself, this should be a scary book.
And it was. At least the bits and pieces about the virus. Lots of apocalyptic/dystopian novels only deal with the aftermath of an outbreak like this. We rarely get to see where it all began, and I never read anything where you can see it unfold. In „The Blondes“ you get to see all of that. You see the first attack of a blonde first hand, because our main character Hazel is right there in that subway station in New York where it happens. These action packed scenes are really well written and grip you at your heart and soul. More and more attacks happen, and you get to see how the world is slowly starting to piece it all together, and then freak out. Like majorly, „let’s pack all women in quarantine camps and keep them there for up to eight weeks“, freak out. The virus is a bit like rabies, where women go nuts and attack other women to infect them. All of that is really interesting, and I really enjoyed getting to see an apocalypse happen first hand, instead of just hearing about it years and years later. Emily Schultz did a great job integrating a pandemic outbreak into our every day lives, with people talking about it on Facebook, sharing videos about attacks on the internet etc…
However, our main character Hazel Hayes just didn’t interest me in the slightest. She is not a blond, which means there was never a real threat to keep you interested. She is naive, pregnant and makes a lot of stupid and unreasonable decisions in the process. I could not relate to her at all, which made half of the book really dull. I got invested in most of the other characters a lot more, and I hope we get a 2nd book just so I can read about what happened to them. I also had a bit of trouble relating to being her unborn child, since some of the story is written in 2nd person „you“ form, meaning Hazel is speaking to you as if you were her unborn child. If I really was, I think I would just be kicking her all day for all the stupid decisions she makes.
But I can see that some people might like Hazel a bit more than I did, so I would definitely recommend giving this book a go. It might just be the right fit for you. The half of the story about the pandemic is definitely worth it. With that being said, I was a little disappointed with how it all ended. It ended rather abruptly so I was hoping it would be a series, but I can’t find any information on that anywhere. One can always hope. I would definitely read it.