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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apocalyptic Genius
The Chrysalids tells the story of an isolated remnant of human civilisation struggling to rebuild in a world that was devastated (by thermonuclear war - although he never says this directly it is clear from the effects he describes).
The story works superbly by not providing too much detail - it invites the reader to fill in the blanks and is a much more intelligent...
Published on 30 Jan 2006 by Wordy

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More subtle than the Kraken or the Triffids
I was slightly disappointed with this book. Yes it had the dystopian, apocalyptic future attached to it that can be seen throughout the rest of Wyndhams books, but it just didn't hold my thoughts in the same way as his other books have. In the past I have thought about the books long after I had finished reading them, and I may be going against many other people's...
Published 8 months ago by Rachel


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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apocalyptic Genius, 30 Jan 2006
By 
Wordy (Cromer, Norfolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The Chrysalids tells the story of an isolated remnant of human civilisation struggling to rebuild in a world that was devastated (by thermonuclear war - although he never says this directly it is clear from the effects he describes).
The story works superbly by not providing too much detail - it invites the reader to fill in the blanks and is a much more intelligent take on the post apocalyptic genre. The 'how it happened' aspect of the story is secondary to dealing with the human issues.
In particular Wyndham's vision of a society that has reverted to an extreme paranoid interpretation of the bible is superb - the paranoia over checking for mutants amongst them has strong overtones of the Salem witch trials etc.
I am a relative newcomer to John Wyndham and read The Day of the Triffids before moving on to his other work. Having now read most of his novels I would rate The Chrysalids as his best.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is change, that's how it differs from the rocks, 14 Nov 2005
By 
Sally-Anne "mynameissally" (Leicestershire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Chrysalids (Paperback)
This was what Wyndham did best: he's created horrible futures for us. He was a dab-hand at the nightmare vision. Like 'The Day of the Triffids' and 'The Kraken Wakes', 'The Chrysalids' points to a grim, dystopian future where people struggle to survive and reconstruct lost order and security after a terrible disaster. But whereas the events that led up to the annihilation of most of the human population in The Triffids and The Kraken were explained in detail in those books, the devastation of huge areas of the planet that are described in The Chrysalids, occurred hundreds of years before the time this story begins. The people have not the vaguest memory and no documented reports of how it happened. It seems probable to the reader, from revelations about the after effects of the killer event, that what happened all that time ago was a nuclear holocaust. All the signs point to it, so it's ironic that the people of Waknuk in Labrador, where this tale is focused, have been struggling to re-establish their lives in the image of the much revered 'Old People' and the halcyon days when life was happy and untroubled by the horrors of what they call 'tribulation'. Even though they believe the Old People brought down the wrath of God upon themselves and their descendents, they know nothing of nuclear war. So they're working to redeem themselves in the eyes of God. One way they try to do this is by ensuring the destruction of mutants. Humans must conform to the image of God, as they believe God intended. Any human that deviates from that norm is considered an abomination. Human mutants are sterilized and ejected from the community, mutant animals are slaughtered and mutant crops are burned. Then, quietly and undetected, a different kind of human mutation evolves. For a long time it goes unnoticed, because these new mutants look normal. However, they have certain mental abilities beyond what is normal and acceptable. This aberration isn't discovered by the normals until some bad luck and carelessness draws attention to the change. When the mutation is discovered, the reaction of the community is ruthless. In their hysterical state of fear and loathing, they mean to root out every last abomination. At some level they must understand that this particular mutation, far from dragging them into mutational melt-down, might actually replace them as the dominant species. The future looks bleak for these young people. They must hide their talent or run away, but where can they go? Life in the wild fringes beyond the slowly genetically stabilizing safe region where they live, is a horrible lurid area of unstable biology and lawlessness, and beyond that chaotic zone there is no life in the burnt badlands.
Wyndham was full of apocalyptic ideas and post-apocalyptic strategies for the survival of the human species. His main protagonists are reasonable, well balanced and humane people who are forced by circumstances beyond their control to be practical - taking whatever distasteful steps seem necessary in order to survive. The stories are always compelling and interesting. The Chrysalids is no exception: interesting characters with a bit of depth, a desperate situation calling for desperate measures, and all adding up to a good read.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Park Year Six review of The Chrysalids, 30 Jun 2008
This review is from: The Chrysalids (Paperback)
We think that Wyndham's book 'The Chrysalids' was an extraordinary book with amazing descriptions. This book would be suitable for people of 11 years and upwards. Some of the ideas are quite challenging, but we read it in class, and were able to have discussions about some of these elements, for example whether the Great Horses were a deviation or not.

The book starts with David's dream of a calm sea, and a shining city with flying fish shaped machines, but this is a world that the people of Waknuk have never seen. The introduction made us think initially that the book might be a little boring, but then we met Sophie. Sophie is a normal, fun loving girl...or is she...

'The Chrysalids' is great because it doesn't give us all of the information straight away, it is packed with elements of surprise, and we enjoyed looking for, and working out the clues as we went along.

We were all a little disappointed with the ending, as there were still a lot of unanswered questions, and we wish that Wyndham had written a sequel, so that it wasn't such an abrupt conclusion.

If you enjoy science fiction and adventure this is the book for you. Even if you don't there are plenty of plot lines, and situations which pose moral dilemas which made us sad and annoyed and is definately worth reading.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of all time, beautiful, true and pure., 22 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Chrysalids (Paperback)
Perhaps the best book I have ever read, I read it some 15 or so years ago and it still remains fresh in my mind. You'll read it in one sitting if possible and I hope you derive the same pleasure from it that I did.
Imagine a world that has gone wrong and suffers from the legacy of the mistakes it made in a previous era and then imagine a people that can rise above this imperfection and strive for a world of unity and love. In this book you've got it all, "Beautiful."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review, 16 May 2007
By 
A. J. Cull (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Chrysalids (Paperback)
The Chrysalids has my vote for best novel by John Wyndham; I loved it as a teenager and still find it an excellent story, as fresh and evocative as ever. Set in the future after an apocalyptic war has ravaged the earth, this is about a group of unusual children, who find themselves dangerously at odds with the fundamentalist community into which they have been born. As well as being a tale of adventure and survival, The Chrysalids is also about difference, and what happens when society draws an arbitrary line between normal and deviant. Watch Thou for the Mutant!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A community of the future., 15 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book more than forty years ago and it still grips. Small communities struggle to survive when deviations appear amongst the farms, whether it is mutant corn, animals, and even humans who are considered to be possessed by the Devil.The story explains how these mutations appeared, and what happens when some young people began to experience thought transference. They become outcasts, but find friends in unexpected places. It is a pity that this story, unlike some of John Wyndham's other novels, has never been filmed. A good read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world is upside down and it's about to get worse, 11 Jan 2002
By A Customer
The world is plagued by genetic mutations, people are reduced to primitive, Dark-Age styled living and the past is a blank with strange hints of a nuclear war. Amongst this a small group of humans find out that they possess a power unlike any other, they can read each others' minds. Constant fear and awful watching day and night go along with their power,one day, someone is bound to let something slip. Eventually, they see a way out but they need to find out how to get halfway round the world and people are on to them. A masterpiece of post-apocalyptic style writing, conflicting morals and persecution to the highest degree culminating in an escape attempt that brings an army after them. Brilliant writng exposing the best and worst in human nature
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction at its finest, 17 Nov 2007
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Chrysalids (Paperback)
Before I read "The Chrysalids" the title of the book made me expect something very similar to John Wyndham's "The Day Of The Triffids", and that 'chrysalids' would be some form of monster or danger. In fact this story is quite different in many ways.

This novel is post-apocalpyptic but warns of dangers quite different to those hinted at in "..Triffids". The world has experienced a holocaust, details of which are never too closely explained, which is one of the ways in which the novel can remain timely. Surviving tribes have reverted to pre-industrial and extremely religious ways of life, because the Bible was the only book to have survived intact from 'the old times'. So God-fearing are these people that any child, animal or crop that shows any sign of genetic deformity is immediately and brutally killed. The story centres around David, a young man who slowly realises that he has telepathic abilities, and that there are others around him who share these powers.

Like "Triffids", the novel is science fiction at its finest, that manages to say a lot about modern society without prescription or Star Trek-style condascending tones- but with healthy doses of adventure thrown in. In particular "Chrysalids" is very concerned with issues of organised religion, and religious fervour, which are handled excellently.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Horrifying vision of the future, 6 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This is probably John Wyndham's finest novel. Set in a farming community ruled by religious fanantics who are bent on destroying all those who do not conform to what is natural, this is a story of a group of youngsters struggling to survive. They possess the ability to communicate telepathetically and have to keep their abilities secret.
A wonderful story of a group of youngsters struggling to survive in a world of prejudice and superstition. A must read!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly written argument against bigotry, 18 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Chrysalids (Paperback)
This is a book I'd seen on the shelf at home a lot when I was younger, but never took much notice of. As far as I was concerned, Wyndham equalled Triffids and not a lot more. I now realise what I'd been missing!
This was the first book for a long time that I read straight through, from cover to cover, in one go. Absolutely riveting stuff, with a rather more believable framework than most post-nuclear stories - for example, the fact that there *is* still a legal system and government, but one twisted into ugly shapes (like, indeed, the people it governs).
The interaction between the characters is beautifully observed, and the gradual realisation of what is going on later in the book creeps up on you so stealthily you're barely aware of it until it's too late. To use a cliché, "a real page-turner"!
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The Chrysalids
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (Paperback - 7 Aug 2008)
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