Dark, Dystopian, Fiction, NetGalley, Society

A Heart-Breaking, But Very Good Dystopian Critique Of Our Society Three Days Breathing by Mike Maguire, ★★★★✬ 4.5 stars

Three Days Breathing is a really good book, but its also incredibly sad, painfully so. But it is definitely worth the read, provided you can stomach it and the heaviness of its contents. I would even say that this is as much a literary novel, considering its depth and topics, as it is a dystopian fantasy. I will definitely not be forgetting it soon.

Three Days Breathing by Mike Maguire

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★★★★✬ 4.5 stars

Three Days Breathing takes part in a dystopian world that is, as some of these stories go, partly utopian at first glance – much in the tradition of Brave New World. We see the lives of Corim and Kiri and their friends, as they grow up in a strange world where they all have set lifespans which are decidedly short. As these dystopias usually go, there’s a caste system which determines your life in a strict sense, and Corim’s, unfortunately, happens to be at the bottom end. His kind never get to age, and the best they can do is either play a game that’s seemingly pointless for work, or become a sex worker, which is considered an honor for their class – and taught to be thought of as a wonderful career option for their kind of people. This is where the story gets tricky, as these teenagers are encouraged and taught to have sex every day, instead of any other lessons. I have to say though, as a sensitive reader, that this didn’t come across as vulgar or tasteless – its’ written in a very clinical manner and you have no trouble believing that this is simply normal to Corim and that in his society, the social norms  about these things are different. The whole dystopian angle of this was also not overdone – it didn’t feel typical or molded along certain formulas. it seems quite an original story and the takeaways were also deep and meaningful.

As we go along with Corim’s quite quiet life, we find out that not everything, sadly, is the way it was taught to him and that their society is much like ours, in terms of privilege. The book forms a wonderful parallel to our world, by showing how certain parts of society have no real social mobility and are quite literally trapped in dangerous, tough lives only because that’s what their class, upbringing and poverty has set them up for. This is what’s saddest about this story – that a person who was basically bred to be taken advantage of will never get any justice – even when the governing system administers that justice to the privileged – because any punishment the privileged will get is still so much easier and better that the normal life the lower classes have ever had a chance to experience. In this way, it’s a perfect analogy to injustice in our current society. It’s a great critique of privilege and class and how harmful it is to those who can’t really do anything to save themselves.

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the ebook through NetGalley in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.

Three Days Breathing is a great critique of privilege and class in our society and how harmful it is to those who can't really do anything to save themselves from it. ★★★★✬ 4.5 stars Click To Tweet

But Beware Of The Triggers

This book might be triggering to many. First of all, it’s about a dystopian, messed up society. Second, a large part of the book is about how people are bred and trained to become sex workers, so a lot of it will be about that. Other triggers include death of family members, abuse of sex workers, grossly unfair treatment of certain classes of society, murder, some gore. Even aside from this, the book is plain old sad due to the injustice the characters experience, so if you have mental health issues or are sensitive, you should read more reviews and decide whether you can stomach it.

Have you read any dystopias that you thought were a good parable for the flaws in our current world? What were they?

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2 years ago

How close is this to the Handsmaid Tale in terms of the sex “workers”

2 years ago

This sounds like an incredible commentary on our world. I’m glad that the sex work is written clinically–that could have gotten tasteless very quickly, and I appreciate you taking the time to point that out!

2 years ago

Interesting review and I’m sure I will pick this up at some point.

Laura Thomas
2 years ago

I’m thinking I’d like to read but then maybe I wouldn’t. That makes me even more curious. Great review, Evelina:)

2 years ago

First, can I just say I love the whole look of your blog? The font, the layout, the header, the browns…just everything is very eye appealing to me. Second, your reviews are always really good and I toss quite a few of them onto my TBR. Book reviewers should get a commission or something every time someone adds a book or buys a book based on that person’s review. Third, this particular book sounds really good and I see I will have to buy a copy if I want to read it because the L.A. Public Library doesn’t have any… Read more »

2 years ago

This does sound like a sad book and I am not sure I could read it but at the same time I feel it is important to also read books that we are not 100% comfortable with.

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Not sure how I’d feel about the sex worker part of this book—it does sound like it’s handled well, though. Sometimes dystopians can seem eerily real.

2 years ago

I am not resilient enough to read dystopia stories but I loved reading your review, Evelina.

CG @ Paper Fury
2 years ago

Ooh I am intrigued. I tend to avoid dystopians now because I kind of burned myself out back in the Dystopian Craze Era, reading just aaall of them, and they got very samey. But a good well written book!? HERE for it. I’m glad this one meant a lot to you and was well worth the read!