cover image Wrath


Shäron Moalem and Daniel Kraus. Union Square & Co, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4549-4522-2

Bestsellers Moalem (The Better Half) and Kraus (The Shape of Water) explore the implications of genomic editing and animal rights in this uneven near-future thriller. Charismatic Noah Goff founded EditedPets to enhance the relationship between pets and their owners through specialized companion animals. Using a genetic engineering technique pioneered by geneticist Sienna Aguirre, EditedPets took the world by storm with its bioluminescent fish and exceptionally talkative budgies—but its venture into the horse market failed dramatically. Now Noah and Sienna race against time and a faltering reputation to launch a new product, the Sammy Rat, a rodent encoded with human brain cells. Moalem and Kraus highlight some clever scientific concepts as the narrative details the variety of health problems that plague the Sammy Rats—and the sometimes barbaric methods employed to solve these issues. Then, after one Sammy escapes the EditedPets lab, he seeks vengeance on humans for their cruelty. Sienna and Noah prove ambitious and dynamic as pressure to perform brings out the absolute worst in them. Sammy’s voice, by contrast, lacks a sense of authenticity; he sounds more like a human child than an anthropomorphized animal. Though the human story outshines the animal perspective, there’s still plenty here for sci-fi fans to chew on. (Oct.)