The shining wall by Melissa Ferguson
Transit Lounge Publishing; 2019. 295p; pbk. ISBN: 9781925760187.
(Age: Senior secondary) The novel is set in a distant future, where the elite lock themselves in a mega city and clone Neanderthals to do their dirty work, while the disadvantaged struggle to survive outside the walls. Impoverished 'Demi-Citizen' Alida is trying to survive while providing for her ill sister, while Neanderthal clone Shuqba questions her beliefs when faced with prejudice and injustice.
And that's all that happens for hundreds of pages. The pacing leaves something to be desired, with much of the novel's early chapters just setting up character relationships and how terribly grim the world is. The sisters spend longer together than apart, where their separation is supposed to be the driving conflict once events finally start moving.
The use of slang was also distracting - words like 'sleep', 'see' and 'money' just don't exist in this world, which could easily confuse a non-native speaker.
In general, The shining wall does a poor job of engaging the reader, and does not seem to have much to say besides the stale message about classism its entire genre shades.
Due to the high mature audience themes including drug abuse and prostitution evident throughout, this book is not recommended for readers younger than upper high school (Years 10-12).