Monday, November 14, 2016

The Road to Winter by Mark Smith

In a grim future Australia, where the seas have risen and then a virus has swept through, killed millions and pretty much wiped out the population - especially the women who seem to be more susceptable, life is very tough and lonely for 16-year-old Finn. His family are all gone, but left him well prepared, he has a great cache of supplies but is in constant danger of being attacked by roaming packs of people, nicknamed Wildlings who are hungry and desperate. He has a dog for company, I always love the dog characters and this one is no exception. Finn has made a life for himself, hunting rabbits, fishing, surfing and eking out an existence on what he can find. It is a tough life and he needs to be constantly on guard. Suddenly his routine is totally disrupted by the arrival of a group of Wildings who are tracking a girl. This injured and vulnerable girl is Rose, and she needs Finn's help, she is stroppy and damaged and Finn is overwhelmed but kind to her. She is searching for her sister and Finn is unable to resist helping her to find her.

What I loved so much about this book was the fact that it is not only a really well-written dystopia, but that has much to say about current Australian politics. Rose and her sister are Siley's, slang for asylum seekers, originally from Afghanistan, they are treated as slaves on farms and in factories as a way of solving the asylum seeker problem. Mark Smith makes his politics clear on this topic but not in any kind of preachy way, but in a humanitarian way which makes you think. It is interesting to see these issues tackled in this way, often there are bright red pointy arrows to an author's politics but, in this case it is way more subtle. 

This is the perfect book for those who like dystopia, it will appeal to juniors and seniors and comes highly recommended by those people who have read it so far. 

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