Way down dark by

After I helped to kill my mother, I had to burn her body.
–James Smythe - Way down dark - c2015

The Australia trilogy : book 1
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.

I’d come across mentions of this book for weeks before I actually bought it. No one review made me pick it up, but there were mentions here there and everywhere. I guess marketing works because I bought it, and as I was waiting for the last book in The Raven Cycle to arrive I started reading it.

Way Down Dark  (The Australia Trilogy, #1)I’m not sure what I was expecting, but for Part One I really didn’t get what all the fuss was about. The ‘verse of Australia was just so bleak and futile and depressing. And I really didn’t understand why the whole aim of everything was to “be selfish” and stay alive by running and hiding and avoiding conflict. In that environment! when conflict is expanding into every nook and cranny! that just made no sense to me.

Some of it certainly felt bleak for bleakness’s sake as opposed to part of the world building, but then we got to Part Two and there were some changes. Not enough to make me any less irritated at the characters who felt that they could survive by doing nothing and hiding, but still, there was a sense of movement and change.

I’m still not sure why it’s gotten such huge positive feedback, it is a solidly entertaining read, and I will read book two at some point, but it is far from “extraordinary”.

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