The Deserter by Peadar o Guilin

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The Deserter by Peadar o Guilin

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: It's been a long time coming, but the sequel to The Inferior is finall with us. This time, the character-driven chase story takes place in the Roof, not on the Surface. Fans of dystopian fiction will love it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: May 2011
Publisher: David Fickling
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0385610963

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It's been four years coming, but this sequel to The Inferior won't disappoint those who have loyally waited. I've loyally waited. And I would like to say that four years has been too long. In that time dystopian fiction for young adults has become more and more popular - lots of it is very good - and I did wonder if I would love the central character Stopmouth quite as much as I had before. I shouldn't have worried. He's a gorgeous creation - brave, honest, loyal and committed, he will appeal equally to male and female readers.

In The Inferior, the action took place on the Surface where human cannibals and aliens fought and ate one another to avoid extinction and - unknowingly - for the entertainment of those in the Roof. In The Deserter, Stopmouth makes his way into the Roof, both to save his Tribe and to retrieve his wife Indrani. So this second book has more of a Bladerunner feel than the first, for the Roof is dying. A mysterious virus that attacks technology has led to overcrowding and shortages and Stopmouth is in a race against time to find both Indrani and the seeds he hopes will save the Tribe from endless wars and cannibalism.

It's a real page-turner of a book and I stayed up far too late to finish it in a single sitting. Although the central narrative is one long chase and there are enough fight scenes to shake a stick at, it has many and complex layers. It turns out the Surface humans are the descendants of rich and powerful men who left Earth after the pillage of resources had devastated it. And the Roof dwellers are the descendants of the people they had left behind to die. The Roof has many political factions but mostly its people are suffering and hungry, at the mercy of one extremist sect or another. It's not at all as Stopmouth had imagined and it's very difficult for him to focus on the goal of saving his Tribe.

I loved it and all fans of action-based dystopian fiction will love it too. I understand there is to be another book in this Bone World sequence - I only hope we don't have to wait another four years for it.

My thanks to the good people at David Fickling for sending the book.

If a mix of dystopia and fantasy sci-fi is your bag, you'll also enjoy the peerless The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Slightly younger readers will love The Sky Inside by Clare B Dunkle.

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