This is the first in the ‘Seventeen’ series, written by Suzanne Lowe.
What would happen if all the adults in the world disappeared, and somehow teenagers were left to build a new society? It’s a familiar question, and one which has been explored many times already; William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ is a prime example (and in my top 20 non-SF / Fantasy novels).
Lowe has updated the tale somewhat, by including a virus as the catalyst and using some of her scientific knowledge (she has a science degree) to add spice and realism. She isn’t the first to come from a pandemic angle, though; Michael Crichton’s ‘Andromeda Strain’ and Max Brooks’ ‘World War Z’ are both good examples – and Margaret Atwood’s ‘Oryx & Crake’ is excellent.
Though setting a (semi-)post-apocalyptic story in Australia isn’t particularly original, Lowe’s description of Perth’s descent into semi-barbarism is obviously one that she has pictured for some time in her head, having been born there and where she now lives. However, it would have been nice for the reader to have seen this better. There weren’t enough detailed descriptions, heartfelt or otherwise, of this place – its streets, shops and people that the writer obviously loves – and therefore no real sense of loss when things begin to worsen.
Unfortunately, I found the characterisation similarly lacking; there are some odd stylistic choices that have been made with the writing and the viewpoint, so that we never really get properly inside the protagonist Lexi’s head. The dialogue isn’t particularly natural, the prose is somewhat clunky, and both are often overwritten.
Having said that, the book is apparently the winner of the New Apple E-book awards in YA Horror and Sci-Fi, I like the almost Western feel to the latter part of the book, and the story isn’t bad so far (this is only the first in the series, after all). So, what do I know?
It just goes to show how personal an experience reading a book can be!
The series is aimed at the YA market, though I would suggest that they would more likely appeal to older children / early teens, who are just starting to break into more teenage fare; this is where Lowe aimed her previous ‘The Pirate Princess and the Golden Locket’, and I feel this may be where her strength lies.
Cool cover, though.
Imagine a world where everything you grew up with is gone. No adults, no internet, no rules.
The world is facing the deadliest virus ever known.
When the KV17 virus kills everyone above the age of seventeen, life becomes a battle of survival for the children left behind. Seeking to escape the escalating violence in the city, two sisters, Lexi and Hadley flee to the Australian outback. Finding sanctuary in the small town of Jasper’s Bay, they soon realise it is far from safe, as a gang of lawless teenagers terrorise the town.
Caught in a bitter feud leading to betrayal, deceit and murder, the girls must quickly uncover who their enemies are, and who they can trust.
In a world drastically changed from everything they once knew; can the sisters and children of Jasper’s Bay learn to adapt? Can they maintain control of their town, and protect it from those who would destroy it?
I do not get paid for blog tours, and received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.