The Crysalids by John Wyndham

The Crysalids by John Wyndham This book from 1955 is the original YA dystopian novel, at least in my eyes. It is just as good as the modern books and it reminded me a bit of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

After an apocalypse many hundreds of years ago, the world of David and his friends and family is very small. They live in Labrador, and only know that beyond the world they live in are the Fringes where the Deviations live, and further away are the Badlands, which are so bad, that no one could live there. The people from the Fringes sometimes come to raid for food.

David’s father is a very religious man. He is a farmer who is very careful to check that his crops and animals (and children!) are exactly as God wanted them to be. If any deviations are found, crops are burned and animals killed. Humans should be the exact image of God, with 10 toes, 10 fingers, 2 hands, etc.

One day David meets Sophie, a girl he doesn’t know. She’s got her foot stuck between some rocks and when David helps her by removing her shoe, he sees that she has 6 toes on each foot. Back in the cottage, her parents swear him to silence, as Sophie would be dropped into the Fringes if her deviation was made public.

Then David realizes the trouble of being different. He himself can talk with his cousin by thought images (like mind reading), which is not standard either. Some more kids turn out to be like that and when they grow up they find that they have a serious problem. They try and live with the norms but fear they will be found out. Then one day the decision of whether to stay or go is taken for them…

I found this a great book! It was only short and that was a pity, I would have loved to learn more about the world David and his friends live in. The story ended a little too well, maybe. Rating: 5/5

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9 Responses to The Crysalids by John Wyndham

  1. amymckie says:

    This sounds really good. I love YA dystopia so this would be great. Thanks for the review, it’s been added to my wishlist.

    • leeswammes says:

      Amy, it’s not targeted directly at YA, I think – I doubt that they knew the word in the 1950s but it ceraintly reminded me of that kind of writing. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

  2. Shannon says:

    I remember gushing about this book when I read it a few years ago, I was so impressed! I’ve read Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids too, which is also a great novel – creepy too. Have you read anything else by him? I have The Magus but haven’t read it yet. He creates such atmosphere doesn’t he.

    • leeswammes says:

      I haven’t read anything else by him, but I guess I should! The Magus sounds familiar, but I’m sure I haven’t read it. Thanks for the suggestions! The Triffids was a movie, I think.

      • Shannon says:

        Actually, I got muddled – The Magus is by John Fowles, who wrote one of my absolute favourite books, The Collector; it must be because they’re both Johns that I always get the names mixed up!

        Yes they made a movie of Day of the Triffids – my mum had seen it and she used to tell me about it (freaked me out!) which is why I wanted to read the book. I haven’t seen the film though.

      • leeswammes says:

        That’s right, it’s John Fowles (I checked the library cat. & found it). I’ll have a look at him too, then, since you recommend his books.

        I saw the Triffids years ago and I remember it being very scary… brr…

  3. Pingback: The Chrysalids by John Wyndham | Coffee Stained Pages

  4. Steph says:

    I remember reading this book for my English class. It was quite interesting indeed. I manage to finish the book earlier than I was supposed to, which usually means it was a good book.

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