Tuesday, 10 May 2016

REVIEW - WAY DOWN DARK - THE AUSTRALIA TRILOGY BY JAMES P. SMYTHE & SERIES PROMOTION - THE AUSTRALIA TRILOGY BY JAMES P. SMYTHE

Title: Way Down Dark
Series: The Australia Trilogy
Author: James P. Smythe
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian
Release Date: 2nd July 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
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.
 



Title: Long Dark Dusk
Series: The Australia Trilogy
Author: James P. Smythe
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian
Release Date: 7th April 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
The moment she learned the horrible truth about her life on Australia, the derelict ship overrun with violent gangs, Chan Aitch made it her mission to save everyone she could from their fate worse than death. But her efforts were in vain. Now, everyone she cares about is dead or in prison, and Chan is more alone than ever before.

As the only person to have escaped Australia’s terrible crash-landing back to Earth, Chan is now living in poverty on the fringes of a huge city. She believes Mae, the little girl she once rescued on the Australia, is still alive – but she has no idea where Mae is, or how to find her. Everything on Earth is strange and new, and Chan has never felt more lost.

But she’ll do whatever it takes to find Mae, even if it means going to prison herself. She’s broken out of prison before. How hard could it be to do it again?


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REVIEW
Title: Way Down Dark
Series: The Australia Trilogy
Author: James P. Smythe
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian
Release Date: 2nd July 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
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.
 


INITIAL THOUGHTS
I chose this one as its a mixture of both dystopian and post apocalyptic genres which I usually love.

THOUGHTS WHILST READING
65% Well I didn't see that coming! But what a brilliant twist it is! I can't share anymore on the "twist" as it would be a major spoiler. I think you'll agree with my thoughts when you read the book too!

REVIEW
I was super lucky with this book as myself and my daughter Rachel of Rai2BookReadNReview received a paperback from the publishers via Bookbridgr, and I also received an e-copy via Netgalley. 
The cover of this book is quite simplistic yet the orange/red colour on the cover is striking. Would the cover make me want to pick this book up from a book store shelf? As I always say in my review I am being totally honest and it is my own opinion. . . I don't think I would immediately rush to pick this one up as the lines and design of the cover actually trigger my menieres disease a little. The thing that attracted me to read this book was 100% the blurb.
This book is set on board a ship called Australia that is in space. The main character and the point of view the book is told from 16 year old Chan Aitch. The ship was the only option for the ancestors of Chan and its occupants. Earth had ever decreasing resources and with the climate change, everything was dying off, the only option left had been Australia. However the occupants of Australia may have escaped earth but "life" aboard Australia had become merely an "existence". Those still alive on Australia were simply just waiting to die. Living on Australia is a case of "survival of the fittest" which is why Chan's mother has told her she must kill her. A last act to try to ensure her daughter will be feared and have a stronger chance of staying alive after her own death. A plan has been made between her mother Riadne and her mothers older friend Agatha. The plan is to try and transfer Riadne's tough reputation to her daughter Chan. It is certain that with Riadne gone the different gangs and their members will challenge and want fight Chan. Representative of all the different people, gangs, "tribes" have been to visit the ailing Riadne. From "the pale women", "the bells", "the tailors", "the merchants", "the smiths". Then it finally comes around to Chan's turn to say her final goodbyes to her mother. Riadne has three important rules to tell her daughter, 1, Stay away from the lowest depths of the ship. 2, avoid the gangs as much as possible as they cannot be trusted and finally 3, eat healthily, because malnutrition can be as much of a killer as the gangs. Riadne then makes her daughter promise to stay out of any trouble, be selfish and put herself first even at the expensive of others. Chan agrees though it will be the promise that proves to be the hardest, even more so than the rules to keep. Riadne's mother dies and Chan remains strong and keeps to the rituals of how her mothers body should be dealt with. As Riadne had predicted it doesn't take long for one of the gangs to appear to confirm the death and to try to take Chan and their area of the ship for the "Lows", once again Chan remains strong and refuses to join the Lows gang.
The ship has a central sort of large glass box that is full of nature, with it's trees and edible crops. Water, air/oxygen is recycled by machinery on the ship. Chan continues her work of collecting fruit to eat as well as extra fruit to trade in the lower part of the ship that houses the merchants and tailors.
This book has a complex plot and is fairly steady pace throughout. It also has a corker of a twist! I admit I had a slight inkling to the true purpose of the ship and who it's occupants were, but it still came as a bit of a shock. Especially the more "secret" area of the ship that is not revealed until later in the book. I thought Chan was a strong, kick butt female character who also had a softer side that cannot ignore the plight of those less fortunate and able to defend themselves or care for themselves. James Smythe even manages to make you feel sympathy towards the leader of the notoriously fierce gang, that goes around the ship taking what they want and killing anyone who gets in their way, called the Lows. I also enjoyed the, at times, erratic relationship between Agatha and Chan, and their journey through the book. I really enjoyed the part where Agatha re-tells the story of Riadne meeting Chan's father, their relationship and the story of Chan's birth. I won't go into detail about it as again it would reveal too many clues/spoilers. This book reminded me a little of Tracer, Outer Earth Bk#1 by Rob Boffard.
Did I enjoy the book? Oh, yes. I really enjoyed reading this book and am eager to read more in this series as soon as I am able.
Would I recommend the book? Yes! If you are a fan of dystopia, or post apocalyptic books then this is for you. Though the book also has sci-fi, space ship, fantasy, mystery and betrayal elements within it's pages too. I'd also say that I cannot really be classed as being of the "YA" age group, I definitely fall into being of "Adult" age and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. So don't let a book being classified as YA put you off reading it!
Would I want to read the next book in the trilogy? Yes, please. I have a paperback copy of it, and its only my eyes not being so great that is stopping me reading it. If I had an e-copy I would be reading it now!
Would I be interested in reading other titles by this author? Being totally honest, though I did love this book it would depend on the individual book blurb and it's genre.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Oh wow! really ending the book right now! What a cliffhanger! I definitely want to read more of the Australia series. Brilliant plotted, with detailed back stories for the main characters. The author really maintains and holds your attention giving you just enough to keep you wondering and second guessing your ideas of what will happen next. 

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