Review Blog

Sep 28 2015

Way Down Dark by J P Smythe

cover image

Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN: 9781444796322
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. The blurb to this first book in a trilogy boasts 'This is a hell where no one can hide'.
This dystopian novel really does take you way down dark. It really is hell. Chan, the narrator, was born on Australia. She is seventeen, strong, clever and courageous. The world of Australia is cutthroat and savage. Australia is a ship that has left Earth and inhabitants are waiting to arrive on a new safe planet. The leaving of Australia happened many generations ago and society has split into the Pale Women, the Bells, Shopkeepers and the Lows. Families are terrorised by the Lows and life is only possible for those who can stand up for themselves.
This book has many strong female characters who are well respected and portray the strong maternal theme that runs through this book. Agatha looms large in this book and she is integral to the character of Chan. Importantly in this novel there is little attention given to the looks of the female characters and this give greater depth to the story.
Many of the characters are violent and the chaotic scenes in the book are described so well it is easy to imagine being there.
'There's One Truth on Australia. You Fight or You Die'
This fast paced novel has a twist near the end that leaves the reader reaching for that second book. Where is it?
Linda Guthrie

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