A group of boys leave their primitive home to save one of their own in this dystopian debut.
Urgle has grown up in the Ikkuma Pit, a volcanic trash crater, with his Brothers, a tribe of abandoned boys who have raised one another since infancy. Each member of the tribe vacates the pit on his Leaving Day, when he comes of age, and another baby is mysteriously left at the pit’s edge to replace him. Urgle has never heard of anyone returning after leaving, so he is suspicious of Blaze, a wounded adult stranger who tumbles over the pit’s edge one day. When the monsters who chased Blaze over the edge kidnap Urgle’s little brother, Cubby, Urgle is forced to trust Blaze, as he is the only person who has knowledge of the outside world. Blaze and Urgle organize a ragtag rescue party, encountering several different communities on their journey to find Cubby, including a society of warrior women whom they recognize as their lost Mothers. How and why the women have abandoned their male children is the basis for an invented mythology with political ramifications that challenges everything Urgle believes to be true. The prose is rife with densely written descriptions, and the overlong action sequences can be confusing, but the compelling mythology and dystopian setting will appeal to genre readers.
Fans of James Dashner, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Patrick Ness need look no further. (Dystopian adventure. 10-15)