The Ward (Downside, #2)The Ward by S.L. Grey
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

fulfilling book riot’s 2018 read harder challenge task #5: A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa)

extry points given to me, by me, for choosing a book that has been in my house for more than a year.

extry points given to me, by me, for piggybacking this onto my october is spoooooooky reading goals.



this is the second part of a very loosely-related trilogy. you don’t have to have read the mall to understand this one, but you’ll clock on to what’s happening more quickly if you have.

come, i’ll take you partway there.

like the mall, this book follows the experiences of two characters who find themselves in a harrowing situation which starts out just south of normal and quickly plummets down to crazytown.

this one takes place in a hospital, and i learned some scary-ass things about the health care system in south africa c. 2012. horror novel’s gonna horror, so i’m sure “no hope” is a little filthier and crueler than the reality, but my casual googling turned up enough shocking reportage that i can see where s.l. grey (i.e. sarah lotz and louis greenberg) drew their inspiration.

i didn’t like this as much as the mall. some of that is down to character; the mall’s david and rhoda were flawed but sympathetic characters, whereas here both farrell and lisa were hard to root for – one a shallow misogynist, one a body dysmorphic cosmetic surgery addict drawn to shallow misogynists.

it’s also about the novelty of the situation. reading this one, you already know what the downside is (inasmuch as one can know what the downside is), and the general values and preoccupations and hierarchy of its inhabitants.

you may very well have forgotten many of these details because you a dummy, but you start to remember pretty quickly once characters start talking like a college freshman – using fancy words in a slightly incorrect and stilted manner.

there’s plenty of medical ickiness for those of you us who like that sort of thing, and some unexpected developments along the way.

there’s one irritating thing worth mentioning that connects these two books, which is its characters’ tendency to squander opportunities. it makes no sense, in either of these books, to derrrrr back into peril once peril’s in your rearview. stop being dummies, dummies!

but it’s a good book for spoooooky month, and i look forward to reading the final volume.

read my reviews on goodreads

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon Disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including but not limited to,, or,,, or


this feels gauche, but when i announced i was starting a blog, everyone assured me this is a thing that is done. i’m not on facebook, i’ve never had a cellphone or listened to a podcast; so many common experiences of modern life are foreign to me, but i’m certainly struggling financially, so if this is how the world works now, i’d be foolish to pass it up. any support will be received with equal parts gratitude and bewilderment.

To Top