Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Willing by Lindsay Lees - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway

The Willing

by Lindsay Lees


GENRE: Dystopian



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 imaged.   



In a basement meeting room of the Head Gaje’s oval-spiral Headquarters, an arched doorway slid open. Doctor Gino’s tired, wrinkled eyes also bolted open; he had only been resting them. He’d practically been dragged from his bed, after all. Ovoidia’s Chief Crusader, Rigby Katz, entered the hermetical, bleach-white room holding his round helmet, nestled under his thick, toned arm. Eyes bright and vigilant—a caffeine glow—he must have only just finished his shift, Doctor thought. He had been a Crusader for over thirty years but had the good fortune of not appearing his age. Rigby scanned the room like a robot from Robocop or Terminator, one of the Pre-Ultimate Revolution movies. After completing a thorough assessment, he surveyed the white leather office chair where Doctor sat with his liver-spotted hands folded on the round table. 

"Oh good. I'm not the first to arrive." Crusader Katz clomped in wearing heavy black boots, clean as the day they were made. "Gives me anxiety waiting around, wondering if I'm at the right place. Easy to get lost down here." 

A round clock above the arched doorway swept past the seconds. It was almost three A.M. Doctor hadn’t expected the tribunal meeting to take place so late. 

"Do you know why we're having the meeting now?" Doctor asked, casually. 

Rigby regarded Doctor with amusement, rather like the way a mama looks at her child when she asks where babies come from. "Yes, the Head Gajes had an inauguration party to attend.”

Doctor yawned. So much for not having time to get a coffee.


MY REVIEW The Willing is a dystopian novel set in Ovoidia. This city-state is a utopian society where women, once they turn 16, can be approached by men for sex. Sex is not meant to be pleasurable; it's just meant to be something women do as their duty to produce children so they can live in the Communities with other mamas. Everything they could ever want or need is provided, and they need to do nothing. Sounds a bit dull, am I right?
Enter Gypsy, our main character. Gypsy is a 15 year old girl who is creeping up on 16. She's not really looking forward to it, though. What if she doesn't want to "do her duty"? What if she can't have kids? Turns out, Gypsy is also harboring a secret: she feels pleasure when she shouldn't. She's the exception to the rule. It's a dangerous path, but one Gypsy feels she can go down with the help of Miles (who is gay), a physician known as "Doctor", and her sister Sadie. But Gypsy has no idea what awaits them on this path. Just how dark and evil do things get? You'll have to read it and find out.
I will admit, this book was a bit heavy. I was curious and intrigued based on the synopsis, and once I got into the book, I was definitely hooked. But it was a bit hard to read at times. It's definitely a rollercoaster of emotions, that's for sure. I felt angry. I felt sad. There's a lot to unpack once the book is over.
I liked Gypsy and Miles. I thought they were characters who were written well. And I absolutely hated the Gajes. They're women in charge who think nothing of doling out horrific punishments (like genital mutilation) to women who refuse to follow the rules. It's appalling.
The world is dark, bleak, and pretty awful, but it also has a very real vibe to it.
The story isn't super graphic, though. It tackles these terrible subjects in a delicate and respectful way while also making the reader think. And, considering the book is dedicated to victims of sex trafficking/exploitation, it really does make you think.
If you're a fan of dystopian fiction, and if you want to read something similar to The Handmaid's Tale, check out The Willing.
4 stars!


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lindsay Lees is originally from Los Angeles and holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, and while growing up and later in college, she split her time between the two countries. Lindsay earned a B.A. in 2008 from Manchester Metropolitan University, and next an M.F.A.in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. The Willing is Lindsay’s debut novel. She currently lives a quiet Southern life with her husband and a houseful of pets. 






The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. the cover is very eerie and unsettling... it draws me in!

  2. Hi Lindsay! The Willing sounds like a thrilling book for me! Thanks for sharing it with me and good luck with the tour and your book!

  3. The book sounds good and I love the cover.

  4. this cover! New author alert for me!!

  5. The architecture of the buildings on the cover is fascinating.


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.