The few hardy survivors left in post-plague, apocalyptic Australia struggle on in this sequel to The Road to Winter (2017).
In a land peopled by white Australians—who are either Wilders, ruthless bandits organized under their leader, Ramage, or regular folk trying to get on as best they can—and Sileys, asylum seekers from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, most of whom have been enslaved by the Wilders, potential danger lurks in every stand of trees and abandoned, half-crumbling building. Picking up where the last novel ended, Finn and his loyal dog are living with Kas, an Afghani girl whose sister died after giving birth to a baby (who was then kidnapped by Ramage), and Willow, a little blonde girl they saved from a farm settlement that was under attack by the Wilders. Wanting to fulfill their final promise to Rose that they would rescue her baby and hoping to reunite Willow with her parents, the foursome set off across the bush, facing a series of misadventures and moral dilemmas. The superb pacing, natural dialogue, and vivid descriptions of a country and people ravaged by disaster make this a pulse-pounding read. Kas is a welcome heroine: competent, strong, assertive, and brave—and it is refreshing to have a female love interest who is not traditionally beautiful (she has a large birthmark on her cheek).
A strong addition to the genre. (Dystopian. 13-adult)