Book Review – Dark Lullaby by Polly Ho-Yen

Book Review – Dark Lullaby by Polly Ho-Yen

A dystopian world that is struggling with infertility. A dangerous Induction process. How far will you go to keep your family together?

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For fans of Black Mirror and The Handmaid’s Tale, in Dark Lullaby a mother desperately tries to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored.

When Kit decides to have a child, she thinks she’s prepared. She knows how demanding Induction is. She’s seen children Extracted. But in a society where parenting is strictly monitored under the watchful gaze of OSIP (The Office of Standards in Parenting), she is forced to ask herself how far she will go to keep her family together. 


My Review

I received a copy of this book for free and I am sharing my review voluntarily.

Dark Lullaby was a book that I have been quite looking forward to reading. It has been compared to the likes of The Handmaids Tale and the whole concept sounded really interesting.

In a future version of our world we are struggling with infertility, 99.98% infertility actually. In this world the only way to have a child is to go through a painful and often dangerous procedure called Induction. This is where a woman is given medication as well as various other examinations and procedures to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs and ideally result in a pregnancy. This not does work for everyone and many women will die from the harrowing effects on their bodies.

Children are precious, they always have been. In this world though every single child counts and in order to protect them there is a department called the OSIP (Office of Standards in Parenting) and every new parent is monitored very closely and can be issued ISP’s (Insufficient Standard of Parenting) at any stage. It works on a basis of so many strikes and your out. If you receive too many ISP’s then your child will be subject to Extraction and this happens more and more often to the point where it seems new parents are actually resigned to the fact that it is probably going to happen and they actually start to believe that would be in the best interests of the child as they start to question themselves more and more with every ISP received. 

The story is told from the POV of the main character, Kit who is initially an “out” which is a woman who has opted out of the induction program. Society considers that to be very selfish considering the population crisis and outs are subject to lower, capped wages and forced to live in smaller, more delipidated houses. Through Kit’s eyes we witness the Induction journey’s of her neighbours as well as her sister and then finally her own. It is told in two timelines, “then” and “now” which I usually don’t mind but in this case I found it a bit strange because there didn’t seem to be any order to the “then” parts and I had to think a little bit too much to keep things in the right order in my own head.

I didn’t really find myself relating with or loving any of the characters. Kit comes across as sensible and kind and she does her best to be supportive to her friends and her sister but that’s all I really got from her. I would have liked a bit more character building for everyone because they all just felt a bit flat to me. The slight exception to that would be with the sister, Evie, I found her character to be the most interesting because of the way she changes throughout the story. Initially you think it’s because the stress and fear of Induction and Extraction has gotten to her a bit but then there is a twist in the story which is explained toward the end that explains the change in her behaviour and you start to understand her and the choices she has made a lot more.

As a story I thought it was all quite interesting and it would be a very scary reality to be living in.

The writing is easy to read and understand and it was really quick to read. I finished it in one day.

I think it was good, enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian worlds or books like The Handmaids Tale.

I don’t think that I would read it a second time.

Dark Lullaby will be released on March 23rd 2021



Have you read this book? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s discuss! ♥


  • I did look at this one and wondered whether to pick it up, but I don’t tend to read as much dystopian these days so decided against.
    It’s difficult to really get on board with a book if you don’t like the character, sorry you didn’t enjoy it more.
    Lynn 😀

    • I must be honest it was the cover that drew me in more than anything, it is so eye catching! I wish I could have liked it more too but there was just a little something missing that would have made it great for me. It was still good though, I don’t regret reading it 🙂

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