Chasing the valley by Skye Melki-Wegner

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Random House Australia, 2013. ISBN 9781742759548
Recommended. Chasing the valley by Skye Melki-Wegnner is a novel that exceeds already heightened expectations. Main character Danika Glynn, is living off the street in a town called Rourton - which is surrounded by a huge wall that prohibits escape - that lies in the north of the land of Taladia. The King of Taladia is someone who likes to expand his own and conquer neighbouring countries, but their military and weaponry have developed from modern times and from what we know, they have magic.
Each person in Taladia has a proclivity, an individual specialisation of magic. By the time you are of age (18), you are able to expose your proclivity tattoo which is naturally formed on your neck, and also, you are conscripted into the king's army. In Rourton, Danika escapes the horrifying but also bedazzling effects of an alchemy bomb, deployed by order of the king and finds herself down the sewers and crashing a meeting of a soon-to-be refugee group. Refugee crews are well known for dying in the attempts to reach a place called The Magnetic Valley. Here alchemy doesn't work and the king and his army cannot move pass successfully, it's a safe haven but it's a long and dangerous trek. Will this bunch of refugees let Danika join? And, even if they do, what are their chances of survival?
The characters in this novel are bright and individual, all having their own story which really makes them easy to relate to. The plotline itself is unpredictable and exciting, keeping the reader enchanted and wanting to hear more of this struggle for freedom and justice.
Sarah Filkin (Student)