Review Blog

Oct 04 2017

Wilder country by Mark Smith

cover image

Text, 2017. ISBN 9781925498530
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Dystopian fiction, Survival, Violence. At the end of The road to winter (2016) Finn has created a place of safety for himself and Rose, away from the Wilder people, those out to kill him and take Rose into servitude. The disease that swept the world has left pockets of thugs in control, roaming the countryside in search of women and food. Finn and Rose seem safe, but then she dies in childbirth and the baby is taken by its father, Ramage, the leader of the Wilders, Finn needs to reassess their situation. He and Rose's sister, Kas and a young child, Willow, pressed into his arms by her parents who knew their time was running out, have survived all winter but now must find out what has happened outside and find the baby, something they promised Rose.
This breathtaking survival story does not let up. Kas, Finn and Willow meet others on the road, but are unsure of how much to say or who to trust. They come across several Wilders at Ray's place, but he is nowhere to be seen and when one attempts to rape Kas, she deals with him. They move on, back to the farm where Willow's parents live, but find them in chains, working for Ramage and his motley crew. A deadly stalemate ensues.
With all the excitement of a multi layered thriller, Wilder country will grab the attention of those who read it. A survival story, a road novel, post apocalyptic in its scope, the story will be eagerly read by those who love the genre heralded by John Marsden's series, Tomorrow when the war began, and recreated in many forms since.
The evil is so evil that I had to stop reading and put the book aside, the creepy atmosphere created by Smith is one that takes hold of the reader as they proceed. Teens will love it, and see parallels to what is happening in some places around the world. That it is set in Australia makes it more relevant and readers may ponder the impact of such a situation in their own backyard. And like all good dystopian novels, the last few sentences leaves it open for a sequel.
Fran Knight

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