A dystopian future book for YA readers that rattles along at a good pace. The characterisation is credible, the story convincing and the setting very much part of the reader's enjoyment. The author is a keen surfer & so is the main character, Finn; indeed his relationship with surfing is almost religious. Ramage, the villain of the novel, is perhaps not so well realised as he might be, functioning I suppose purely as the great evil against which our protagonists contest. Overall a quick and enjoyable read that offers us some provocative thought on what it means to be genuinely, bone-deep civilised in our dealings with others.
A really great read. I couldn't wait to jump into bed and continue on with the story each night. It was such a easy enjoyable , no nonsense read. Well done Mark SMITH. Please keep up the good work. Maybe Finn could jump on a boat and head over to the Mornington Peninsula.
The Road To Winter is the first book in the Winter series by Australian teacher and author, Mark Smith. Finn Morrison is fairly certain he is sixteen. Apart from his dog, Rowdy, he has been on his own since his mum succumbed to the virus about two years ago. His dad, Tom died earlier from injuries sustained while helping to defend the supermarket from looters.
Finn is the only one left in the coastal town of Angowrie, and he survives on the rabbits he traps, the seafood he catches, the vegetables he grows and the store of non-perishables and fuel that his dad cleverly stockpiled before things got bad. Finn stays sane by playing with Rowdy and by going surfing when he gets the chance.
When Rose runs onto his beach, injured and fleeing from a violent gang, Finn makes a split-second decision to help her. In hiding from the people he refers to as Wilders, Finn shares food and shelter with Rose. They also share their stories, although Rose is less forthcoming than she might be. But she is insistent that they must find her sister, Kas, who is on the run from Ramage and his Wilder band.
Smith’s portrayal of the post-virus coastal Victoria is utterly believable; his plot may seem predictable, but has enough twists to keep the reader engrossed; his characters have depth and appeal, despite their flaws. Finn appears resourceful and mature for a teenager, but occasionally his judgement belies his age. The ending is no cliff-hanger, but readers are bound to want to know what next will happen to Finn and his companions.
This post-apocalyptic tale has heroes and villains, humour and heartache, and plenty of excitement. It may be branded Young Adult, but it is certain to be enjoyed by older readers as well. Text give the reader a “Love it or your money back” guarantee on this one, and it is difficult to imagine they will need to pay out many refunds. A brilliant debut from an author to watch. 4.5 stars