Born This Way
The Survival of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, volume 2)
By Tade Thompson
2019’s The Survival of Molly Southbourne is a sequel to Tade Thompson’s 2017 The Murders of Molly Southbourne.
Molly’s house is in flames but Molly herself is alive. Or rather, a molly is alive.
The original Molly Southbourne had an unfortunate medical condition: each drop of blood shed would scavenge materials from the environment  to become a duplicate of the original. These mollys did not have the ability to spawn copies. They did have a homicidal mania focused on the original Molly. Eventually, the original Molly could not bear the strain of living in wait for her duplicates to kill her and she committed suicide.
The current Molly is a molly, captured and spared by her progenitor. For super-science reasons, this new Molly has all of her predecessor’s memories, which in turn gives her access to the shadowy organization that watched over the previous Molly. What she does not have is any idea what to do next.
Justifiably wary of her shadowy minders, Molly becomes aware that a second party is stalking her. Molly’s in possession of all her forebearer’s lethal skills and kills the first stalker to approach her, pistol in hand. Generally, killing people makes them stop bothering Molly but not in this case. In short order, more iterations of the stalker appear. It seems the original Molly Southbourne was not the only person with Molly’s gift of duplication. Moreover, this other duplicator knows how to work in concert with her duplicates.
How the other woman manages this is a mystery, and an indication that there is a lot Molly does not know about her condition.
The novella is pretty short and this review will be as well.
There’s a lot of cloak and dagger, homicidal confrontation, dark secrets, and mysterious organizations in the novella. Molly has inherited her lethal skills from the previous Molly and she gets considerable use out of them. If you’re looking for a book where one woman beats another woman to death in a bathroom, here you are!
Come to think of it, this is the opposite of The Bourne Identity, in that not only is the super-capable character not suffering from amnesia, she has a whole set of someone else’s memories to help her along.
Mostly, however, this is the story of an incredibly dangerous person finding themself adrift, free to find a new life but without the basic tools needed to even begin. Consequently, the narrative wanders a bit. If you’re looking for character growth to go with action, you might consider this.
NOVEL is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Barnes & Noble), here (Book Depository), and here (Chapters-Indigo).
1: Sometime the material is other people’s living flesh. Losing an adult-woman-sized amount of body material is hard on the host entity.