Review Blog

Oct 22 2020

Across the risen sea by Bren MacDibble

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Allen & Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760526054.
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Marta, Neoma and Jag are going to the sunken city to scavenge what they can from the tall buildings, now mostly underwater. Curious and ferociously independent, Neoma takes the stairs, excited by the writing on one of the floors she comes across. She has heard of such places where people sit at tables and others cook and serve them food, but now, it means there may be salvageable cans, enough to sustain them over the long hot summer.
A stunning dystopian story, Neoma and her mother are part of a small community on an island, one of many formed after the seas rise. Strangers from another settlement, called the Valley of the Sun by the islanders, came one day and cut down some trees, erecting a pole with a flashing light on top and guys to hold it fast. Neoma, ever curious, digs one of the boxes at the base of one of the ties and is badly burnt.
Coming back from their scavenging, they come across the interloper's boat, now derelict, and tow it back to their island. One girl is still alive and they nurse her back to health, with only Marta able to understand her language. But the islanders are concerned lest the others think they killed her companion and consequently Jag is kidnapped by people from the Valley of the Sun as retribution. Neoma follows in the catamaran but is soon taken over by a pirate. She steals back her boat, but the girl from the pirate's boat comes aboard, now less one finger, and they sail on to rescue Jag with a crocodile and shark in tow.
A dystopian mystery by the author of award winning The dog runner (2018) and How to bee (2017), this tale is suffused with future warnings, Neoma's island rejecting the trappings of modern life, but equally needing some vestiges of it to survive. The ominous green clouds, the disease which befell the nations, the rising seas, a society fragmented into small islands of survivors, all suspicious of each other, point to a world gone awry, and a future which seems all too imminent for thoughtful readers. Teacher's notes are available from the publisher's website.
Themes; Global warming, Climate change, Dystopian novel.
Fran Knight

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