A dangerous race is run with everything on the line in this gritty dystopian thrill ride.
Adam Stone has lived his whole life in the run-down town of Blackwater. He spends his time riding his byke, dreaming of local beauty Sadie Blood and a life in Sky-Base, the luxurious city in the clouds. The only way for Adam to get to Sky-Base is to win the Blackwater Trail, a brutal race that attracts the best of the best and the lowest of the low. When mysterious outsider Kane shows up out of nowhere, all hell breaks loose and Adam finds himself racing for vengeance with Kane and Sadie at his side. No one will hold up this book as a prime example of originality, but few will deny its ability to entertain. The novel's first third is its biggest weakness: over-the-top prose veers dangerously close to dystopian parody, and the worldbuilding is remarkably thin. The latter section, which details the long, winding race, is far superior, filled with action and suspense and cool character reveals. Through it all, readers stick with Adam, a character Hofmeyr smartly draws as just a kid who wants to get somewhere. It's a simple character type, but there's something to be said for relying on an old favorite. Less exciting is Sadie, who never rises above her stock character type of love interest/damsel in distress. By novel's end, readers will be very familiar with her curves but not remotely aware of her emotions.
An exciting, action-packed romp that hits a few bumps along the way. (Dystopian adventure. 12-16)