The first in a new YA trilogy The Burning Days, River Stone is a different take on the dystopian genre. The world has been destroyed due to misuse of the environment, animals are extinct, land masses have changed, the air is unbreathable in cities, drought has made outer areas unlivable. Then comes The Burning.
People who survived The Burning have started small tribes away from the cities, hiding and starting new communities with new rules and laws to help them survive.
Pandora’s tribe The River People has survived for close to 20 years, but now a forgotten disease has struck the village and things are going to change.
I really enjoyed this novel, and except for a part in the middle which had me disinterested for a bit, I plowed through 80% of this novel not wanting to put it down.
The River People have a coming of age ritual where the parents pick a partner for their children in order to keep the tribe going. Pandora’s promised was Matthew, not a choice that Pandora was happy with. I didn’t much like Matthew, I thought he was childish, surly and selfish at times. And in the middle of the story he really started to get on my nerves, as did Pandora for a while when she wouldn’t make up her mind about what she wanted. The whole premise of having a person chosen, a promised one, didn’t sit well with me, I got the reasoning behind it, but if there are other tribes around, why not go outside the tribe to find a partner. When Pandora and her friends come across The Mountain people and she meets Bayat, and their connection is instant, I felt this should have been an option. Matthew’s behaviour towards Bayat and his possessiveness towards Pandora, even knowing she didn’t want him really annoyed me to the point I put the novel down for a few days. I am glad I picked it up again, once I got past the really annoying bits, the story picked up again and the action didn’t stop.
Pandora and her friends are tasked with travelling to the city, a place they know nothing about to try to find medicine to cure the people in the tribe. Their adventure starts when they leave their home for the first time. This journey that they begin completely drew me in and I travelled with them along the river into the unknown, not knowing what they would encounter. They meet Bayat and the mountain people on the way, who know much more about what they are going to encounter in the city. Bayat decides that to give them half a chance he will accompany them. The journey to the city, their awe at seeing immense steel structures for the first time was like the wonder I’ve had when I’ve travelled to places with ancient temples, where seeing something is different to having a vague theory of what it is.
Friendships and beliefs are tested and they will learn to rely on their inner strength and each other to keep going and stay alive. Their encounters in the city will change everything, especially for Pandora.
I am really looking forward to book 2 in this new series and seeing where it goes from here.
Available 15th May 2019
Thanks to MidnightSun Publishing for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.