Tag Archive | Dystopian

The Black Ditch by Simon J Lancaster

The Black Ditch

 

The Black DitchLAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

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My Review:

A bleak perspective on the future of mankind.

Global warming has devastated the world, and London is now a prison filled with criminals, refugees and dissidents, kept in line by criminal hierarchy and the police who seem to be allowed to kill without repercussions.

Laurie Stern has grown up in this world, but now his life, and the lives of his family and ‘friends’, are threatened at every turn. Tortured and shot at, Laurie doesn’t know who he can trust, if anyone.

Moving at a brisk pace, the book is filled with action and intrigue.

I found this complex story hard to follow – with so many factions and betrayals; it was difficult to figure out who was on whose side

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

  

Meet The Author:

Simon J LancasterSimon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers. Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot. He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

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Saturday Spotlight

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Battle Ground Series by Rachel Churcher

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

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(I received complimentary copies of the books for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

Battle Ground

Book 1

battle-groundSixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.

My Review:

I enjoyed this first book of this new series. A dystopian story set in the not too distant future of the UK. It’s aimed at Young Adults, but perfectly suitable for older readers too.

Bex Ellman and her friend, Dan are conscripted into the army, while their other friend Margie has disappeared along with a teacher to join the ‘terrorists’. As recruits Bex, Dan and other teens are put through a harrowing training regime, merely to be shown off to the public to prove that they are safe from attack.

With propaganda, misinformation and rumour it’s difficult for the teens to decide what the truth is and whos side they should be on.

The characters are well-rounded and most have a back story which helps you get to know them. They’re not perfect, they’re flawed and make mistakes like all teenagers.

The story moved along at a good pace and in today’s climate the plotline was plausible and believable! I look forward to reading the second book of the series.

 

False Flag

Book 2

False Flag Rachel Churcher coverKetty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

My Review:

In Battle Ground, the first book of the series, Ketty Smith was Bex Ellman’s nemesis and not a particularly nice person. However, there are two sides to this story.

Instead of following on from book 1, as I expected, this book revisits the same events only this time from Ketty’s point of view.

Although we already know what happened during this timeframe, the shift in viewpoint added depth and showed new aspects of the events.

I now understand Ketty as a person, although because of the ambiguous political backdrop to the story, I’m still unsure which side I should be rooting for!

I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3.

 

Darkest Hour

Book 3

Darkest HourBex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

My Review:

In book one of the series, Battle Ground, we witnessed a sequence of events as experienced by Bex Ellman. Book two, False Flag, saw the same events but from Ketty Smith’s point of view. This book follows on from those events and this time we get alternating chapters from Bex and Ketty.

I like the strong and loyal female characters that take the lead in the books. Whether rebel or army neither side has much control over their own life. Both girls are simply trying to do their best to protect their friends and/or accomplices and fight for their beliefs.

Darkest Hour is my favourite book so far, of this fascinating series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment.

 

Fighting Back

Book 4

Fighting BackBex Ellman and her friends are in hiding, sheltered by the resistance. With her family threatened and her friendships challenged, she’s looking for a way to fight back. Ketty Smith is in London, supporting a government she no longer trusts. With her support network crumbling, Ketty must decide who she is fighting for – and what she is willing risk to uncover the truth.

My Review:

Fighting Back is the penultimate book of the five book Battle Ground Series. The story continues on from book three and once again we get alternating chapters from Bex and Ketty.

Both girls are still struggling to come to terms with their losses, and trying to do the right thing, while realising that they have no control of the events or their part in them.

This series goes from strength to strength as the story reaches its climax. While, once again being well-written and steadily paced, this book had a feel of being the lull before the storm and I’m looking forward to reading the final instalment.

 

Victory Day

Book 5

Victory DayBex Ellman and Ketty Smith meet in London. As the war heats up around them, Bex and Ketty must learn to trust each other. With her friends and family in danger, Bex needs Ketty to help rescue them. For Ketty, working with Bex is a matter of survival. When Victory is declared, both will be held accountable for their decisions.

My Review:

Victory Day is the final book of the five-book Battle Ground Series, and what a great way to finish.

The final battle is coming, but not quick enough for Bex and her friends. They need to fight now, to save the government prisoners from execution.

Ketty and Bex meet face to face during the final battle, and while Ketty prevents Bex from being killed, she still has an agenda. She needs to survive the outcome, no matter who wins.

Victory Day is action-packed and thrilling, keeping me in suspense from start to finish.

I have enjoyed the series and will keep my eye out for future books by Rachel Churcher.

 

The Author:

Rachel ChurcherRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker.

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR! You can also just share what you are currently reading. It’s very easy to play along, as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • -BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Victory DayOur crates of armour sit just inside the door, and we’ve pushed our guns under our beds. I didn’t think the Scottish government would let us take them when we left, but they’ve told Fiona that they’re backing the invasion, and they’ve sent guns and armour for all of us

~Victory Day (ARC) by Rachel Churcher

Saturday Spotlight

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False Flag by Rachel Churcher ​​

False Flag Rachel Churcher coverKetty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Amazon

 

My Review:

In Battle Ground, the first book of the series, Ketty Smith was Bex Ellman’s nemesis and not a particularly nice person. However, there are two sides to this story.

Instead of following on from book 1, as I expected, this book revisits the same events only this time from Ketty’s point of view.

Although we already know what happened during this timeframe, the shift in viewpoint added depth and showed new aspects of the events.

I now understand Ketty as a person, although because of the ambiguous political backdrop to the story, I’m still unsure which side I should be rooting for!

I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

 

The Author:
Rachel Churcher Author photoRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Saturday Spotlight

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Light the Way by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 2)

 
Light the WayIn the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside.

MaryAnn Hunter has crossed over to become a fugitive on the Outside. Hiding out in the Union headquarters MaryAnn is slowly coming to terms with the lies she has been brought up with.

But when a friend asks for help MaryAnne finds herself on a dangerous rescue mission that takes her on a terrifying journey back into the desperate clutches of the Director and the Light.

MaryAnn faces a fight for survival. It’s a fight she must win against insurmountable odds – but is it one she is willing to win at any cost?

Light the Way is the second book in The Union Trilogy.

Set in a dystopian future The Union Trilogy is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown.

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My Review:

A brilliant follow up to Blinded by the Light. This time, in addition to MaryAnn’s point of view, there’s Charlotte’s point of view, which doesn’t detract from the main character and definitely adds to the story, as MaryAnn can’t be in two places at the same time.

In this book, we once again join MaryAnn, who is growing from her experiences and is no longer the spoilt rich kid we met at the beginning of book one. Although still uncertain as to whether or not she wants to join The Union, she doesn’t hesitate to help when one of the Unionists family members needs rescuing from The Light.

MaryAnne and her friends undertake a dangerous journey and rescue attempt, even though it puts their lives at risk, and MaryAnn within reach of the Director of the Foundation again.

I hoped for a lot from book two and was not disappointed. I can’t help wondering whether MaryAnn and Peter will ever stop arguing for long enough to realise that they have feelings for each other.

I am more than ready for book three. Fingers crossed, I won’t have to wait for too long.

  

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. The weekly Meme wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading.

  • Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    -BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Light the WayPeople rarely spoke about life before the virus, even those who were adults when the disease broke out. We’d been shown broadcasts at school about how people used to live, but it was definitely not considered acceptable dinner conversation.

~Light the Way by Joe Kipling

 

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 1)

Blinded by the light

In the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it’s all about being noticed at the right parties.

But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.

This dystopian young adult fiction book set in the near future critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It Shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to ‘do the right thing’.

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My Review:

Set in a future where the population has been decimated by the Sandman Virus and the elite live in Neighbourhoods run by The Light Foundation. This was an enjoyable read, told from MaryAnn’s point of view.

MaryAnn’s father is an important man in The Light Foundation and at the start of the book MaryAnn has a perfect life, she’s a spoilt rich kid who has everything she wants.

After meeting her estranged brother, Daryl, at a party, disaster strikes and MaryAnn has to live with the Director of the Foundation. Although still rich and spoilt, she becomes isolated with only the Director’s daughter, Maud, for company.

When her brother contacts her again, she discovers he is a Unionist. The Unionists live outside of Neighbourhoods and know the truth behind The Light Foundation. As MaryAnn is introduced to other Unionist members, including her Uncle Patrick and Daryl’s friend, Peter, her beliefs are challenged, and her world changes from the ‘them and us’ attitude that she was brought up with.

The characters were well written and multi-dimensional, my favourites being MaryAnn and Peter. I loved seeing MaryAnn adapt and mature as the story went on, and the developing friendship between her and Peter, though it was heartbreaking watching the life she knew collapse around her.

The Author has done an amazing job of world building and how her society is structured, and it’s easy to imagine living there, either as one the elite or one of ‘outsiders’

Overall, a topnotch and imaginative start to a trilogy for young adults, and older adults also. I’ve already started Book 2, Light the Way.

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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