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The Migration

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  647 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Creepy and atmospheric, evocative of Stephen King's classic Pet Sematary , The Migration is a story of sisterhood, transformation, and the limitations of love, from a thrilling new voice in Canadian fiction.

When I was younger I didn't know a thing about death. I thought it meant stillness, a body gone limp. A marionette with its strings cut.
Paperback, First Canadian Edition, 304 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Random House Canada
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Average rating 3.47  · 
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Meandering, discursive take of quickened evolution

Two sisters and their mother and aunt fight to stay alive in a world that's deteriorating because of climate changes and disease. This is more a young adult novel than adult, as the story revolves around seventeen year old Sophie and her boyfriend Bryan and their romance and how they figure out what is happening to the world. It seems like love would take a back seat to all the death and destruction happening, but I guess love always finds a way.
I’m often the first to gripe about novels being labelled as YA fiction just because they have teenage characters in them... but occasionally it's the other way round. The Migration is packaged as a science fiction novel for an adult audience; it comes garlanded with quotes from the likes of the Guardian and SFX; it has been published by adult literary/SF imprints (Titan Books in the UK, Random House in Canada). And this seems curious to me, because the majority of the book reads like a fantasy a ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
2.5 stars

Thank you @titan_books for providing me with a copy of The Migration to read and review! I thought I would love this one but sadly it ended up being not for me - however, there is a lot of merit to it, and hopefully that will come across in my review!
All across the world, young people are being diagnosed with J12, a mysterious illness with a growing mortality rate but when the patients are dying, they aren’t staying dead... When you say it like that, it’s understandable why it might be
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
If you’re looking for a thought-provoking sf novel then look no further. This debut is coming out from Titan Books in March and it affected me deeply.

It follows teenage sisters Sophie and Kira who have recently moved to live with their aunt in Oxford. Kira has been diagnosed with JI2, a mysterious autoimmune condition that has suddenly started to affect teens. Nobody knows what is causing it or what the long term prognosis will be, only that a shocking number of young adults are dying from it. A
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel about a pandemic, the historical responses to pandemic, specifically the Black Death, and the effects of climate change.
Sophie's young sister Kira is suffering from an odd illness, and is not alone. Several young people are, with epidemiologists mystified as to the cause, method of transmission, and the odd behaviour of the sufferers’ dead bodies.
There is fear, a lack of information, and Sophie's aunt Irene (an historical epidemiologist) draws parallels between the way this disease is
A moving and timely novel about the impact of climatic catastrophe on humanity. Building on the precedence of the Black Death almost 700 years ago, disease is linked to disaster. Above all else, though, The Migration tells the tale of two sisters who move to Oxford from Canada to seek a cure for the younger girl's mysterious immune disorder which is begin to afflict large numbers of young people across the globe. Disturbing, morbid and bleak in places, it is also uplifting and beautifully writte ...more
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amid a backdrop of climate-change disaster, a new fatal immune disorder begins to affect young people. Sophie Perella is a teenager about to start her senior year when her younger sister is diagnosed. Their mother moves them all to Oxford to be with their Aunt Irene who works with a center that specializes in the condition. As monstrous details emerge about the disease and how the medical community is responding to it, Sophie is forced to make incredibly difficult choices in the face of a terrif ...more
Kim Wilkins
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Connie Willis and Stephen King wrote a book together, they might come up with something half as good as this astonishingly accomplished debut novel. I was hooked from the first page, but the compelling narrative pace belies the story's complexity and layers, its ability to conjure up horrors and wonders, its deft ear for language and imagery. I am at a loss to explain how Marshall has made what is essentially an intimate, first-person story into such an epic tale of apocalypse and plague, and ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoa, that was quite the ride. 4.5 stars. I really didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, other than that it would be wonderful. And it was. A friend, a writer I greatly respect, praised this book to the high heavens and I’m so glad I bought it. It’s not perfect, but it’s a debut novel (following 2 collections of short stories and 2 award winning poetry chapbooks) and I am definitely looking forward to Marshall’s next work.

Without giving away any of the plot, this book is about gr
I want to like this more than I did, because it’s beautifully told. But it ended up feeling like a borrowed muddle and (like Sophie) I just wanted to get it over with.

Mileage will vary; I just got increasingly irritated by the final act. You know a book is in trouble when you’re telling ‘THE TUBE WOULDN’T BE OPERATING A NORMAL SERVICE FFS’ and ‘WE HAVE BROADCASTING REGULATIONS’ at the page. And then the romance got shoe-horned in and my goodwill wore very thin. Cut three or so chapters and I’d
*Review copy provided by publisher*

Sophie's little sister Kira was one of the first to become ill. A simple case of the chicken pox, then complications, leaving her with what was to become known as Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The family travels to Oxford in the hope the research being done there can help Kira's new condition.

The Migration ticked all my boxes, I love stories about climate and diseases, plus it was beautifully written with a very human story at the heart.
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A non classified as such YA book, with lousy dialogue, unfinished threads and dropped storylines.
Disappointing once you get about 20% in.
Don’t waste your time.

It probably would have been a great read when I as 13.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-proofs-work
I received a promotional copy in exchange of an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion.

First, the cover called my attention, then Gaiman’s quote on the front cover did the rest. When I read the synopsis I knew this novel would be straight up my alley. Though I do have to say, I don’t know where the comparative with King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ came from, or at least, I did not though it was appropriate at all. Maybe I just interpreted the novel in a different light.

The set up for this stor
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interview with Helen Marshall on her novel Migration, writing, and inspirations. | More2Read

“The dead should stay dead.”

There is an unknown, the source and the end of those that have been infected by an outbreak, one that affected young people, an insidious strain of J12, a Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

Sophie, a likeable and memorable character, is on a mission to discover the fates of those that die from this virus or bacterium, and as her sister, who has the disease, shifts in
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Of course, I picked this one up for the title and the cover, which is unusual for me and I soon discovered that this novel has nothing to do with birds. It did end up being a timely read though, as the story focuses on a plague that is killing young people, along with a climate change nightmare, as storms and flooding ravage the land. It is not a great book by any means but it did end up being better than I expected, despite it's flaws. ...more
4.5* Very engrossing, original apocalyptic story. With climate change come a change in the young which may or may not be due to inherited genes and hints that it may have happened before during the time of the Black Death. Is this the future?
Barbara McEwen
It was good if not great. A bit bizarre to read during a pandemic as the book is based on a mysterious illness spreading around the world. I guess my reasoning for not rating it higher is not the plot or the writing but that I didn't really feel connected to the characters. There is also a budding romance included but I didn't buy it, no thrills and chills there. New author for me though and I think I would read her work again. ...more
Jamie Jones Hullinger
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Compelling. Unique. Well executed. I hope she writes more novels.
Tracy Robinson
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review from InkHeist:

“Memory is a tricky thing. It isn’t a ruler, a hard, straight line…It isn’t neat and tidy. It’s more like murmurs, voices whispering in the darkness” (7).

The Migration takes place mainly in England, at the brink of the apocalypse. I adore post-apocalyptic fiction and it was refreshing to read a book that only deals with the time leading up to the absolute destruction – a unique take on one of the most used sub-genres.

Definitely a character study and a treatise on modern
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I shouldn’t start my review by saying this but I read this book because of its cover and because Neil Gaiman said he liked it. Whatever book Neil Gaiman enjoys, I know for a fact that I’ll enjoy it, too. I’m not going to be dramatic and tell you that The Migration was the exception to the rule. I didn’t love it but I was still hooked from the beginning until the very end.

The Migration is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. It’s about how humanity deals with change, how Diseas
Nicholas Kaufmann
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional, beautifully written debut novel by one of the best modern fantasists this side of Kelly Link. Against a backdrop of ever-increasing storms and floods, seventeen-year-old Sophie's younger sister, Kira, is diagnosed with a mysterious new disease called JI2. It's deadly and only affects the young, but as Sophie comes to discover, there's a lot more to JI2 than anyone thinks. Because it doesn't just kill those who are diagnosed with it, it transforms them into something both beautifu ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately felt this novel totally lost it's way in the last 1/3. Love an apocalyptic novel but the science and world needs to be well built and make sense to be believable. Personally felt there were too many implausible, random threads that weren't tied together by the end of the novel. The last 100 pages I'd lost interest. Shame as thought at the start I was going to really enjoy this. ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An easy quick read but ultimately unconvincing. Hinted at themes that were never fully explored which was disappointing.
Avery Delany
A huge thank you to Titan Books for providing me with an advanced reader copy of The Migration in exchange for an honest review.

When I read the synopsis for The Migration I was ALL over this book. In my email to Titan Books to request an ARC of it, I recounted the story of little 7/8 year old me carrying around my Encyclopedia of British History everywhere so that I could teach everyone about Black Death (my obsession at the time) to show how me and this book would be a perfect match for each
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Speculative climate fiction at its best. The scope of this story is perfect—we hone in on the 17yo protagonist and her personal experiences amidst some terrifying changes to her life and family. There are frequent background reminders of the bizarre weather changes, but the story itself is not preachy at all—a lovely balance of character and speculative idea.
Jun 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I, too, am shocked that I have read something that isn't Doctor Who related.
Lainie Nelson
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Wanted to give this a 3 and a half. I quite enjoyed this, a good spin on the disease / outbreak story with some climate change stuff thrown in. Did find it a bit predictable but it was a enjoyable ride.
Kay Smillie
Started off really enjoying this with the apocalypse slowly happening around us and the idea that this had happened before, more than once, in times past. Granted I found it hard to engage with any of the characters but the story was strong enough to carry it, until we get to the final third of the novel. It just meandered into a lacklustre ending. A why did I bother with this moment, thus the average rating.

Ray Smillie
Lisa Hannett
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant, beautiful, devastating book. I cried and cried and cried and loved every word of it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
T.O. Munro
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Review of an ARC of the migration first appeared on The Fantasy-Hive website in March 2019

There are aspects of Helen Marshall’s debut that feel like a young adult work – a young female protagonist in a collapsing contemporary society haunted by family woes and with an ephemeral promise of romance. However, in the skilled yet accessible writing and the poetic themes the author explores, The Migration reads more like literary fiction. Helen Marshall is an accomplished writer who has cut her t
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Helen Marshall ( is an award-winning author, editor, and bibliophile.

Her poetry and short fiction have been published in The Chiaroscuro, Paper Crow, Abyss & Apex, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet and In 2011, she released a collection of poems entitled Skeleton Leaves from Kelp Queen Press and her collection of short stories Hair Side, Flesh Side was released from Chi

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