Stranded in the desert, the last of mankind is kept safe by a large border fence … Until the fence falls.
Squid is a young orphan living under the oppressive rule of his uncle in the outskirts of the Territory. Lynn is a headstrong girl with an influential father who has spent her entire life within the walled city of Alice.
When the border fence is breached, the Territory is invaded by the largest horde of undead ghouls seen in two hundred years. Squid is soon conscripted into the Diggers—the armed forces of the Territory. And after Lynn finds herself at odds with the Territory’s powerful church, she too escapes to join the Diggers.
Together Squid and Lynn form an unlikely friendship as they march to battle against the ghouls. Their journey will take them further than they ever imagined, leading them closer to discovering secrets about themselves, their world, and a conspiracy that may spell the end of the Territory as they know it.
Bookish Things: 251 pages, the cover is quite apt to the story. This is the first book in a trilogy. The last book due for release on 14th of April 2016.
Where to buy: Amazon on kindle for $3.59 or paperback for $16.99
Let me unpack that sentence for you.
Young Adult: The protagonist, Squid is a young boy (aged 15-16) and the other primary character is Lynnette who also happens to be the same age. One thing that doesn’t happen (that seems to happen in a lot of YA/Dystopian stories these days) is a love triangle. Or really, romance of any sort. This was refreshing.
Dystopian: Squid is being raised by his Uncle and Aunt on a dirt farm (yes you read that right) in the red, barren Australian outback in the general area of Alice Springs/Central Australia (I am assuming this based on some of the names in the story). Except, this version of Australia is overrun with ghouls (dried out strobe-moving creatures that thirst to ingest your bodily fluids) and it is jointly run by a parliament of sorts, and the Church (but not our church). These institutions run the world with an iron fist and the consequences of breaking their rules are quite harsh. This of course is a perfect setting for a dystopian story.
Zombie: As I briefly mentioned above, the ghouls are, for all intents and purposes, zombies. Their mannerisms are not all that different from your usual type of zombie. But there is one real difference. Instead of eating brains, these ghouls thirst for liquid because of their perpetual dryness. Their skin flakes off as they move about in the big red outback.
Adventure: Well of course, Squid and Lynnette end up having an adventure. That’s pretty much a given.
Long-winded: Probably the only real negative point for this book is the length of time it takes to see some real action. A great deal of the book is spent in one of two locations. Dust, where Squid’s Uncle’s dirt farm is, or the walled city of Alice, the major ‘town’ that Lynnette lives in. There isn’t a lot of movement other than that.
The world building was great. The reader is given plenty of opportunity to get to know the ghouls, the protagonist and main characters, Dust, the city of Alice, the Church, the Ambassador who heads the parliament… pretty much everyone. This is where we could probably do with a little bit of a cull. Some of this comes across as being a bit stuck in the minutiae and really could be left to the readers imagination.
I knocked one star off for that.
The second star was dropped off because the villains aren’t really villains. What I mean here, is that they aren’t dark enough. This could be because of the Young Adult genre, but I’ve read far more ‘evil/bad/crazy’ villains in other YA work. The villain/s fell a bit flat for me in A Town Called Dust.
Overall, I think the book is accessible to all readers, with parental guidance recommended for younger readers because of the violence that crops up from time to time.
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**