Review: This Quiet Tyranny, by Jessica E. Thomas


Laine has a horrible life. Her husband is financially ruined, and is turning abusive. His son is withdrawing from her. And she pops pills just to make it through day after dystopian day. It’s about to get worse.

See, she’s about to run into Boyd. And while Boyd seems fond of her, there are some friends of his that have plans for Laine. Big plans. Plans that won’t end well for her. Unless Boyd has something to say about them.


Four stars out of five. Can’t deny the artistry in this book, but man is it bleak.

What’s good:

  • Not your average Christian endtimes/sf/dystopian book. It’s more like a world five minutes into the future, with driverless cars, mars visits, and one hell of a sense of melancholy. No storm troopers or relocation camps, just ennui and violence lurking under the surface. No saintly believers, no valiant fight against the end. Even the idea that might be the end times is very subtle and not as much a part of the book as you think.
  • A realistic heroine. Not many Christian books are good at showing how a person’s spirit can be ground down over time. This one does. From the role she plays in things, to her past, to her present, Liane is a realistic and fragile heroine. If that; it could be argued that she runs the edge of being an anti-hero. Boyd also.
  • Does not shy away from things. Gritty without being absurd. Liane has a hard past, and suffers a lot. All of this is shown, but never seems gratuitous or forced. Well, one aspect, but more on that later. But this will fill a need for people who don’t like the sort of antiseptic, vanilla world you find in most Christian dystopian books.

What’s bad:

  •  Bleak. It ends well enough, but wow, is it a dark ride getting there. This quiet tyranny indeed. Eveything in this world is grey; even the “good” guys. That gives it a sharp edge, but you wish Liane had a little more sunshine in her life.
  • What’s with the vomiting? Maybe it’s me but Liane does it. A lot. The puke pail might have been a bit much.
  • Mature content warning. I put this under “what’s bad” only because some Christians aren’t keen on mature content in Christian fiction. It’s not guns, guts, and gore but instead family and societal dysfunction shown bluntly at times. Keep it in mind.

My thoughts:

A strong debut novel done with art and skill. It’s a good counterpart with Rage’s Echo; both show how realistic a Christian novel can be, and how powerful using “edgy” content can be used in service of a story. Both have issues that might affect some readers. In This Quiet Tyranny, it’s more the bleakness of the fictional world and the realism of how Liane suffers in life. But both are also tight, strong works of fiction and show just how much Christian fiction can tell a serious tale with skill. Both break the mold, for good and for ill (for people who like their fiction squeaky clean.)

Provision Books is coming strong out of the gate with This Quiet Tyranny. Well worth the reading.


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