Title: Way Down DarkAuthor: JP Smythe
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 2nd July 2015
Stand Alone/Series: The Australia Trilogy #1
First Lines: The story goes taht Earth was much older than the scientist thought.
The first in an extraordinary new YA trilogy by James Smythe, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.
There's one truth on Australia: You fight or you die. Usually both.
Seventeen-year-old Chan's ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, in search of a new home. They never found one.
The only life that Chan's ever known is one of violence, of fighting. Of trying to survive.
But there might be a way to escape. In order to find it, Chan must head way down into the darkness - a place of buried secrets, long-forgotten lies, and the abandoned bodies of the dead.
Seventeen-year-old Chan, fiercely independent and self-sufficient, keeps her head down and lives quietly, careful not to draw attention to herself amidst the violence and disorder. Until the day she makes an extraordinary discovery - a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so would bring her to the attention of the fanatics and the murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger.
And a safe return to Earth is by no means certain.
Thanks to Hachette Australia for sending this to me. I must admit that the first few pages in, I struggled. Not with the writing because it was amazing, but the scene that it painted. Of a life that you had to fight tooth and nail for survival and there being no escape. A life where children die for something as simple as getting in the road, or for being in the wrong gang, or for just existing. So this was hard, being the mother of a six year old, and reading about the struggles that Chan and the people on Australia had to face just to survive.
In saying that, It's been a while since I've picked a book up that has contained so much grit and drama as Way Down Dark had, that I struggled to put it down. Chan is a strong willed and determined character to do what's right, not just what's selfish and not just 'staying alive'. Because she believes there to be a better way.
JP Smythe paints a bleak atmosphere for the occupants of Australia. On one half of the ship are the lows. A gang that is violent and cruel doing whatever it takes to claim more of the ship. They encroach on the free area and this spurs Chan into action, against the warnings from her dying mother and that of her mother's friend Agatha.
The one thing I'm the most happy about is that you find out right at the beginning that this is part of a Trilogy. In all honesty after reading other books about people in space, I'm not sure what it was about those, but I've never gone for anything that has been space related. The synopsis on the back of this did suck me in though. Once I started reading, it's not that you forget that they are on the ship, because it's there in the description but it's so wonderfully done, that it feels real and it feels legit. So I can't wait to go looking for more of this Author's writing.
Overall I recommend this read to others to try. Be aware that it is graphic at times, in both it's words, and what it doesn't say, so you have been warned, but in saying that, don't pass up on this.
I look forward to reading what happens next for Chan and the characters of Way Down Dark.
Book received from: Hachette Children's Book