- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 646 KB
- Print Length: 251 pages
- Publisher: Momentum (13 November 2014)
- Sold by: Macmillan (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00OIKC87G
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 51 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #347,126 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
This price was set by the publisher.
A Town Called Dust: The Territory 1 Kindle Edition
|Length: 251 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $2.99 after you buy the Kindle book.
|Age Level: 12 - 100|
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About the Author
Justin Woolley has been writing stories since he could first scrawl with a crayon. When he was six years old he wrote his first book, a 300-word pirate epic in unreadable handwriting called "The Ghost Ship". He promptly declared that he was now an author and didn't need to go to school. Despite being informed that this was, in fact, not the case, he continued to make things up and write them down.
Today Justin is the author of the Australian-set dystopian trilogy The Territory Series, comprised of the novels A Town Called Dust, A City Called Smoke and A World of Ash. Justin lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and son. In his other life he's been an engineer, a teacher and at one stage even a magician. His handwriting has not improved.
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Naturally, I was confused when in the first chapter, a character was looking after 160 miles of boundary fence. Later in the book it mentioned a suit of armour weighing 97 pounds. I don't care how far into the future this story is, there is no logical reason to revert to archaic units of measurement. I came to two conclusions for this: either the author isn't actually Australian, or they are writing for an American audience and assume their potenial reader is too stupid to understand a metric system.
Still on the American thing - why would you use a US narrator for an Australian setting?
The soilders are called diggers in the story (Australian - tick) but the lieutenant is called a 'loo-tenant' instead of the Australian/English pronunciation of 'lef-tenant'. Also is an 'emoo' meant to be some mutant emu/cow hybrid, or did no one proof the audio files?
Issues with the world included the ready supply of wine (where are grapes grown in a mostly desert landscape), a ready supply of horses (not sure why there were no camels, the desert is the reason they were brought to Australia and they run wild in parts of the country), there were other things that seemed odd that they had considering the story location but I can't recall the exact things right now.
On the setting - why would you locate the soilders 500 kms away from the city? The Rock is in the middle of nowhere. Also it's not logical, structurally sound, or energy efficient to hollow out the Rock to house the soilders. Not to mention the fact that it's a sacred site so the traditional owners would probably object to someone coming along and adding a few windows to the Rock.
The whole place is described as dust and desert, but Alice actually sits at the foot of a mountain range that has multiple natural gorges along the length. The other thing I recall from driving through Central Australia was all the 'water over road' signs. Sure all the creeks were dry in December, but the area can see a lot of water.
The main characters were supposedly 16 years old but acted more like they were 13, giving the impression that this author probably shouldn't be writing Young Adult Fiction.
The next rant includes spoilers: There is a battle scene where 2,000 diggers face 10,000 zombies. 5-1 odds. These are the same odds the mostly untrained Aussies faced on the Kokoda Track in WWII. In 1942, the Aussies held off the attack and eventually forced the invaders back. In this story, they all died. They were supposedly trained to face the enemy and yet they displayed less tactics than the guys who were sent in to fight the Emu War of 1932. The outcome was not believable.
I was vaguely interested in the story concepts and wanted to know the answers to some of the questions left hanging at the end of the book however after this book, I don't have enough trust in the author to not disappoint me. After all, the characters are off to find a vaccine that from what I can tell was created 200 years earlier. Why wasn't it used then? It's no good now. It would be well passed its expiry, not to mention the fact that the zombie virus would have mutated over 200 years and a vaccine wouldn't even work. So no, I won't be continuing the story.
I really liked the australian take on the post apoc zombie thing although there were far too many similarities with far more books than i could list to take this above 3 stars it's still not a bad read.
I'll continue the series but seriously doubt I'll read anything else by him.
A great swathe of villains and heroes and also those characters that don't fit well, or consistently, into any camp.
This is such a compelling world and I was reminded of the Empyrion series in some ways with the diversity.
Can't wait for book two.
Thank you Mr Woolley for a great yarn.
Very well written characters and plot, and lovely descriptive writing used to allow the reader to visualize the world of Dust.
Top international reviews
As with any genre, there are sub-genres. I would fully describe this as young-adult, zombie, dystopian and post-apocalyptic (as per the zombies). It was a very easy read and most enjoyable. As per almost all young adult stories being written now, this is part of a series and before you ask, it cannot be read as a stand-alone and I have no idea how many books there will be.
I don't know if the following is really a spoiler since the story left me with so many unanswered questions, but just in case:
The two main characters are Squid and Lynn (where did that name come from?). Squid is an orphan living a very hard and unloved life on his uncle's dirt farm. On the day he turns 16, he gets drafted into the Diggers (Army). Lynn is the daughter of a Colonel in an upscale town. When her father gets murdered, she is set to live with the Sisters but she very quickly runs away, disguises herself as a boy and joins the Diggers. Squid and Lynn (currently going by Max) become friends while in Digger training.
During this time, there has been a breach in the fence that surrounds the territory and ghouls (zombies) have been able to come in. A lot of them. The Diggers have been sent out to kill off the ghouls before they reach the towns but the horde is in the thousands. The Diggers end up getting slaughtered. Squid and Lynn make it back to her town but subsequently get sent out to fulfill a prophesy.
Reading this put me in the same mindset as Rot and Ruin since they are both young-adult zombie tales. I enjoyed reading them equally but I couldn't rate ATCD as high as it wasn't stand-alone (no ending). Forget that this is a zombie book, if you want a fun summer read, this is a great choice.
Still, they are fun kids, there is some good action, suspense and some character development , the zombies are really only a plot device and their zombieness does not really figure much in the story. We end with our hero and heroine setting off on a new adventure, about to meet up with a third protagonist from a similarly less-than-believable culture. The third book promises to wrap it all up.
I am not sure I will continue with books two and three, but I can see how many would do so eagerly.
Squid only has one possession in the world that means anything. It is a key that was his mother's. He has no idea why it is important... Just that it IS. Something inside of him tells him he MUST NOT lose it. Or let anyone take it. He MUST protect it! No matter the cost. Living with his cruel Aunt and Uncle on their dirt farm is not much of a life, but it is all that he has ever known. Other than school, which he loved, dirt farming is, sadly, his life. Why did they pull him out of school? Will he ever be able to go back? Could there be anything out there better for him? Or will he spend his whole life in hard labor and drudgery, just surviving the abuse of his relatives and the back breaking work?
Lynn has always wanted to be a Digger and serve the Territory as a soldier taking out ghouls and keeping everyone safe. Just like her General father. Too bad she is a girl. They are not allowed to be Diggers, only men. Will she ever find a way to live out her dream of becoming a Digger? Are there really Ghouls inside the Territory? Can her father survive standing up to the Administrator? What will become of her of something happens to him?
Set in an Apocalyptic world that has truly fallen in a prior Apocalypse and never recovered, this series paints a vivid and disturbing picture of a world where life is just survival and waiting for the next disaster for all but the citizens of one city, Alice, and then only the privileged few that live within the walls.
***This series is suitable for mature young adult through adult readers who enjoy apocalyptic fiction filled with horror, action, adventure, mystery and intrigue set in a world truly dystopian :)
There are a lot of switches between characters that are somewhat vague, but essentially, the book followed Squid, a dirt farmer's nephew, and Lynn, the daughter of a high level Digger (which is army, but it's never actually explained why they're called Diggers) as they both join the military and attempt to go up against the ghouls that are invading their land.
What I found particularly interesting is that this book is set in Australia, which is something I haven't come across in a post-apoc book before. The ghouls are zombies, but they're different than the usual zombies in that they are dried out and seek moisture, not just brains or flesh. In the vast desert sections of Australia, this is quite believable and makes the story more interesting.
Overall, excellent story, albeit off to a slightly slow start. I'm going to buy the second one now.
Bad Language: No
Sexual Situations: No
Editing: Good--needs some sentences reworded for clarity; Aussie slang should be removed for clarity; remove many "that"s used incorrectly
Proofreading: Excellent--hardly any errors
Suggested Age: late high school, young adult
The initial wave of The Infection left generations ago, but the ghouls, the dried out remnants of infected people, still wander the desert looking for any kind of moisture. Squid, a foundling left on the doorstep of dirt farmers he calls Uncle and Aunt, raised with physical and verbal abuse, just wants to go back to school. Conscripted into military service by a sympathetic Digger (Army) man, he finds himself an unwilling participant in a massive push against the ghouls with his only friend, brave Max. In the meantime, the Head Priestess of the Church of God the Glorious Redeemer plots to take over the enclosed town of Alice, while the administrator of the town tries to leave a legacy as the man who destroyed a goblin horde and reclaimed land previously overrun.
The author has built a rich and satisfying world, populated by interesting people and factions. Teenaged Squid is a bit of a dreamer, a mathematical whiz, and not really all that coordinated. We watch him try to act more like people his own age, even though his Aunt and Uncle have kept him isolated from other children. He's the perpetual person in the wrong place at the wrong time; the one caught doing the right thing at the wrong time. He has an important role to play as the civilian view in a bad situation.
Max is Squid's only friend, who hides a secret he almost tells Squid. He's the short tempered, impulsive person, with sword skills beyond his years. Squid is perpetually following Max, providing the argument for more reasoned actions, and supporting Max as he can. Max provides the all-or-nothing military view.
Inside the walled-in town of Alice life goes on very similar to life before the Infection. They have ice cream, changing clothing fashions, and horse and carriages. The town is technically ruled by the Administrator, a hereditary position, and his council. The Administrator wants to leave his mark for posterity, and isn't above manipulating people and situations for his own goals. Ignoring advice that doesn't support his view, he makes dangerous decisions.
On the other side from the law is the Church of God the Glorious Redeemer. Rapidly approaching Inquisition-type behavior, the High Priestess gives or withholds her blessing. Historically, the Church provided a balance of empathy against the rule of law, but has been corrupted by the Head Priestess' need to rule.
This book also has the most interesting version of a zombie this reader has come across. Dried out husks, they keep from turning into dust by seeking out any source of moisture. The infection is transmitted by bite, and the host is rapidly reduced to a sand and dust creature.
These factions and people are skillfully woven together to make a believable and interesting story. The protagonists and other characters make for a story of depth and good continuity.
The evil "Sisters" were perhaps too one-dimensional, but everyone else was pleasing interesting.
I will say I was surprised how few references there were to people of Aboriginal heritage (called Nomads within the book). I think that was a lost opportunity.
SFF, Fantasy, Horror, Territory 1, Series, Post-Apocalypse, Border Fence, Undead Ghouls, Zombies, Diggers, Armed Forces, Defense, Boy, Orphan, Conscript, Runaway, Girl, Enlistee, YA,