Saturday 9 May 2020


The Wild Lands by Paul Greci     {Reviewed by STELLA}Alaska is cut off and abandoned. Industry has ceased as the resources dried up, wildfires have ripped through the landscape year on year and most people have left their homes — bussed out to an uncertain future. There are no supplies, no internet, no news, and those that stayed are hardy and resourceful, living in underground shelters — basements of houses — the rest of the homes being razed to the ground, and attempting to survive off the land. The ongoing environmental disasters have tipped the landscape into chaos and now without any salmon running in the waters nor beasts on the plains, after two years of eking out an existence, it’s time to move on. Walking is the only option over vast distances. North or South? Travis’s parents decide on North towards the Yukon. It’s a long walk, especially for his little sister Jess, and there are many dangers along the way, especially some of the people they encounter. When they finally get to the river it’s vast and the way across looks impossible, but teaming up another small group is a way forward — until disaster strikes. Separated from their parents and with no way across the river, Travis and Jess head back to their home to retrieve more supplies, left behind (buried) just in case they needed to return. Suddenly, all decisions are on Travis’s head and the responsibility for his sister lies with him and him alone. Who can he trust? Anyone? Where should you go? They can no longer stay in such an inhospitable environment. And when you do meet new folk, it will be a test each and every time.  Pit this alongside the physical dangers and the shortage of food and the sheer willpower you will need to keep moving towards an uncertain future and you have a riveting survival story — both rich in its description of a ruined (and recovering) landscape, and provocative in its glimpse of what a future planet could look like if we continue on the extraction path. It’s also got some sassy survivalists as well as some dangerously deluded ones. Will Travis be able to find a safe place for Jess, and will he have enough strength to keep going when the odds are stacked against them?  And how far will he go to protect those he loves? A gripping teen story that rips along at a great pace.  

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