, by David Hofmeyr
is quite literally a wild ride. Set in a dismal, almost lifeless future, Adam Stone has little to look forward to in life and no source of joy save for in ability of his byke. His Longthorn has
been passed down through the generations and is not only a part of him, but also has the memories of his family members who rode it before it became his.
The is only one way to escape the horrors of his life and the horrid fate of becoming a miner like most of the people struggling to survive in the town of Blackwater and that is to get a ticket to the floating paradise of Sky-Base, but only one person a year is allowed to enter and that is the person that wins the dreaded Blackwater race. This race claims more lives than it allows the racers to finish.
Adam Stone is too gentle and kind for the world he lives in. Where most are brutal and viscous, he has a streak of kindness and avoids violence which in his town, and certainly during the race, are traits that will get you killed or worse. Only days before the race, his life is torn apart and plunged into chaos. He meets a strong racer named Kane and he is with him when the leaders of Blackwater's worst byke gang confronts Adam. Between Kane's help and the assistance of the girl he has eyes for, Sadie, he survives the encounter, but the gang returns and destroys, not only everything he owns, but kills his brother. Only Adam's byke is left and he has no choice but to enter the race.
The race is brutal. Miles of harsh desert hold traps both natural and man made. Predators on two and four legs hunt them, while the other bikers seek to better their odds by eliminating the competition any chance they get. Adam joins forces with Kane and Sadie, but knows he will have to face the gang that killed his brother before either groups reaches the final finish line.
This book grabs the reader and does not let go. Another quick read for me. Did not have any desire to wait to see what would happen to Adam. Good plot twists and great dialog coming from Kane and Sadie. Kane is a strong character and Sadie is a better female lead that you find in most novels.The villains are vicious too and the three primary gang members are fleshed out well. Adam is also a likable person although sometimes you just felt like shaking him, because where everyone else was as tough as nails, he would often hesitate or make poor choices.
I probably would have given this novel the full five star rating if Adam was not so slow to stepping up. The guy has almost everything in the world go wrong and is given many chances to grow stronger, but instead cowers or passes out. I understand that this is a novel about him reaching manhood and finding his inner strength, but again and again he makes foolish choices or just does things badly and gets beat up and tortured because of it and if he isn't, his friends are.
That being said, this book is a must read for folks that enjoy gritty science fiction. No shiny space crafts here, just dirt, dust and danger. More of a Mad Max meets Book of Eli. I suppose it is officially an Young Adult book, but do not hold it against the novel this time. In this book it worked well. I will be looking forward to the next one and I hope they send it to me soon. This is one you should grab.Dalsala Den