River Stone – Book One of The Burning Days
by Rachel Hennessy
(Midnight Sun) YA Science Fiction PB
Reviewed by Jeffery E Doherty
Disaster comes to the River People on the day of Pandora’s Blossoming. Most of the adults are struck down with a sickness and the only chance to save them lays in finding a cure inside a city, mostly destroyed in The Burning. Pandora believes in her heart that she is destined for more than her inevitable pairing with her life-long friend Matthew, so she volunteers to find the cure.
Joined by Matthew and several other young people from the village, she sets out for the city. The group do not realise how unprepared they are until they meet, Bayat, a young hunter from the Mountain People. Bayat decides to accompany them and help the group prepare for the dangers they will face.
River Stone is a post-apocalyptic story set after an event called The Burning. It explores the conflicted feelings of Pandora, while being paired with Matthew by the village elders, develops a deep connection with the confident young hunter. Although there are moments of struggle and high action in this book, it is essentially a quiet, character based, coming of age story of a group of sheltered young people discovering a big and dangerous world.
River Stone is the first book in The Burning Days and is a great lead into the series. Rachel Hennessy has created an appealing cast of characters and left several threads to be explored in the next book. There are questions to be answered about the city and the strange once human creatures inhabiting it. There is a missing friend who Pandora has vowed to find, and will Pandora fulfil her duty to the village by pairing with Matthew or will she choose Bayat.
This is a book I would recommend to readers 12+ years and fans of character driven dystopian fiction.
Original Review on Buzz Words Magazine
Jeffery E Doherty is an children's writer and artist who writes chapter books, picture book texts, junior and young adult novels.