River Stone by Rachel Hennessy
Genre: Dystopian #LoveOzYa
Publication: May 1st 2019
Publisher: MidnightSun Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You
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Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵
We are not special. We are just survivors.
Pandora wants so much more than what her village can provide. When disaster comes to the River People, Pan has the opportunity to become their saviour and escape her inevitable pairing with life-long friend Matthew. She wants to make her own choices. Deep in her soul, she believes there is something more out there, beyond the boundaries, especially since she encountered the hunter of the Mountain People.
A story of confused love, difficult friendships and clumsy attempts at heroism, Pan’s fight for her village’s survival will bring her into contact with a whole new world, where the truth about the past will have terrifying reverberations for her people’s future survival.
River Stone by Aussie author Rachel Hennessy is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy. River Stone has a fresh and unique feel that drew me in right from the start and kept me hooked until the last page.
The protagonist Pan grows up not really knowing anything of the past, as it is too painful for most of the village elders to talk about – her mother especially.
River Stone is set on our earth in what could be our not too distant future. In the years before Pan’s birth Earth has been nearly destroyed; mass animal extinction, land becoming barren and unfarmable, people with wealth turning their backs on the rest of the world and the collapse of modern civilization as we know it.
The story mostly follows Pan as she undertakes a journey. A journey that I can’t really say much about without giving away the plot of the book. Hmmmm. Just know the journey tests Pan’s abilities to adapt and learn fast. It teaches her a lot about the world outside her village and she sees things that she never even knew existed.
The other part of the story is told through letters that Pan’s mum writes to her while she is on her journey. In these letters Pan’s mum writes of all the things she could never bring herself to talk to her daughter about. The letters allow us to gain the backstory of the world Pan is living in. In the letters Zaana tells her daughter who she was before the burning days and how she came to be with the River People. I especially enjoyed the letters, they allowed us to get to know Pan’s mother and understand why the River People behaved the way the did – which is almost cult like at times.
River Stone never becomes preachy, but there is a real lesson in there – one of the dangers of greed and environmental complacency.
River Stone is a story of survival, of adapting, of friendship, of being human, and of being a teenager living in the shadow of expectation.
I really enjoyed River Stone and am excited to see how the River People’s story continues in the next book.
‘A fantastic story for our times. Thilling. Chilling.’ – Seann Williams
‘An intelligent dystopian drama that is as addictive as it is thought provoking.’ – Winnie Salamon
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