Book Review: The Willing

The Willing by Lindsay Lees

In less than a year, fifteen-year-old Gypsy Capone will be considered a woman in Ovoidia, a “utopian” city-state where every woman can be approached for immediate sex by any man, where curving architecture adds weird whimsy, sporks are the only cutlery, and true intimacy between the genders is a sign of suspect subversion. After all, if a woman just plays along, she’ll also do her job and have children, with the reward of a fine home in the “Communities,” where she and the other “Mamas” live together in harmony with everything they need. Right?

The irony: Diam and Isis, the two leaders of Ovoidia, are themselves females. Fun, yes! And just below the surface, perversely sinister. They personally execute these precise sacrifices by women to establish their “happy,” absurdly totalitarian utopia, and are backed up by their chosen army of male “crusaders,” enforcing a crime-free, fully controlled society.

Men are relegated to work in the “City” where they may “enjoy”—right there on the street if they wish—any woman they want and are welcome to satisfy their sexual and emotional needs at establishments called Gaje Clubs where only the most “gifted” among women are chosen to work.

Not surprisingly, in Ovoidia women have evolved until they feel nothing of sexual pleasure. But in Gypsy’s deepest heart, she realizes her own dark secret: she is the exception. Next she discovers to her horror that her secret, if known, could result in the ultimate punishment—genital mutilation.

To save her body and even her soul, Gypsy chooses a dangerous path—to single-handedly confront this scary and absurd world. She has the support of her allegiant sister Sadie and Miles Devine, a rogue, secretly gay crusader, and also “Doctor,” a morally questionable physician to help her. But none of them fathom the levels of paradox, incongruity, and twisted evil they will soon face, and the ride becomes something even Gypsy could have never imagined. 

The Willing by Lindsay Lees has an interesting premise with a sort of Handmaid’s Tale kind of a vibe.

It is set in a dystopian country where crime has seemingly been completely eradicated, but there is false sense of perfection and freedom that the leaders enforce for the sake of control.

It took me a while to get into the story.  There are several perspectives within the book, and at first I only really liked Gypsy’s character.  It took me quite a while to warm up to the others.

It has an odd, dark kind of feel to it, that I did enjoy.  There are a few unexpected twists, and a few that I saw coming before they arrived. And I will say that the ending was a surprise, and totally not where I wanted to plot to go.

This was a fairly quick read, fast-paced. There were some aspects that I would have liked to have more time spent on them, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

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