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Book DetailsISBN: 9781925498530
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Book Review: Wilder Country by Mark Smith - Reviewed by CloggieA (26 Aug 2017)
Wilder Country is the second book in the Winter series by Australian teacher and author, Mark Smith. It’s some months since the tragic events that saw Rose’s death and the kidnapping of baby Hope by Wilder leader, Ben Ramage. The loss has hit Finn, Kas and Willow hard: each has grieved in their own way, but while Kas has been numb and silent, Finn has taken Willow under his wing, teaching her survival skills during the reprieve from Wilder attack that the winter snows provide.
But now it’s time to keep their promise to Rose: to find Hope and bring her home. And that will mean entering Wilder Country. Heading north via Finn’s good friend Ray in the Addiscot Valley, they are disturbed to encounter two Wilders and a scene of devastation. But with spring almost upon them, they can’t afford to delay. They formulate a plan they can only hope will not be derailed too much.
Smith gives the reader another action-packed instalment of this excellent YA trilogy. Finn and co are clever and resourceful, brave and loyal, and very determined. Again, this post-apocalyptic tale has heroes and villains (and, yes, some violence), 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. Reading the books in order is recommended as there are spoilers for the first book in this one.
Smith’s young protagonists are often surprisingly mature, and while their youth provides energy and resilience, their lack of life experience occasionally means they misplace trust and make poor decisions. Readers will find it hard not to invest in these characters, and will be eager for the final instalment, The Land of Fences, to know their ultimate fate. An excellent follow-up from a talented author
Mark Smith lives on Victoria's Surf Coast. His writing has won a number of awards and has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Review of Australian Fiction and the Big Issue. Wilder Country is his second novel.
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