An amnesiac struggles to make sense of his place in a war-ravaged world where small bands of human survivors scramble to stay one step ahead of a menacing, body-snatching threat.
In Bellin’s debut, after human wars devastate the population, a new threat emerges. The mysterious Skaldi—no one knows what exactly they are or where they came from—possess and feed on people. Querry’s the son of a “survival colony” leader, but an accident involving a Skaldi attack six months prior left him with complete amnesia. Despite his heritage, he’s an outsider in Survival Colony Nine—but not so much so that he doesn’t see the mutiny brewing, especially when its leadership turns erratic, ignoring caution and attempting to set up a relatively permanent encampment. Numerous plot twists—including one in particular that relies on a believability-stretching conspiracy—slowly cast loyalties into doubt and reveal the true urgency of Querry’s need to remember what happened six months ago. Querry’s memory loss allows for exposition to smoothly unfold. With each description, the Skaldi menace becomes more vivid and horrifying—especially because it’s so hard for characters to tell if someone they know has become possessed. The ending doesn’t explain everything, but it is action-packed and completes Querry’s emotional arc.
Readers won’t want to face the terrifying Skaldi, but they’ll enjoy reading about them. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 13-18)