Author: Una McCormack
Released: May 14th, 2019
Warnings: Domestic abuse (mentioned), ownership
I received a copy of The Undefeated through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Undefeated by Una McCormack is an interesting study on human nature, and the way we process the world around us. This was my first foray into Una McCormack’s writing, but I have to say that I’m impressed with her writing style.
The Undefeated is a scientific novella, but one that explores so much more than the science at hand. It’s beautifully written, and manages to tell a lot in such a short amount of time.
The novella follows retired journalist Monica on her journey to the outer reaches of explored and habituated space. There’s a reason for her journey, even if she doesn’t fully understand the reason herself. But her compulsion to head out is strong, even as everyone else around her flees inward.
Warnings: The Undefeated is a science fiction novel that covers both hardcore science fiction elements, as well as some very human elements. There’s mention of domestic abuse, but the details are fairly limited thankfully. There is an android race in the series as well, but they are owned and dependent on bonds and drugs to survive. It’s actually quite horrific if you think about it.
The Undefeated was a fascinating read. It was beautifully written, with a delicate understanding and an even more delicate way of handling the plot and prose. The tale seemed to just flow along as I read, and while it explored some very real and heavy subjects, it felt oddly relaxing.
I really enjoyed this novella and Monica’s exploration of her past. It was not written in a way I would have expected, but I think that just made me like it all the more. Part of the reason I say this is because it doesn’t immediately start out looking like a deep dive into a person’s past.
Monica is an interesting character, with a very interesting past. She’s made some strange (and some would say selfish) decisions along the way, but she’s also done a lot of good in her time. The most interesting plot point, and really focus on the novella itself, was Monica’s childhood.
The novella explores misconceptions and buried memories that come with childhood. Using these elements as a way of obfuscating the full story, everything unfolded in a sort of organic manner. It was fascinating and gave us a chance to know Monica even as we unraveled the truth that was happening around her.
And of course, then there was the whole jenjyr plot. It’s impossible not to be curious – and a bit horrified – by their nature. And when I say horrified I, of course, mean about the situation they’ve been put into. It’s a trope we’ve seen again and again in science fiction, yet this one felt oddly human. I really enjoyed the newer perspective.
I really enjoyed The Undefeated, and can honestly say that I’m looking forward to seeing what the next story from Una McCormack will be.