Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals.
In the great forest of South West Western Australia, thirteen-year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead.
After their Changings, the twins have powers that let them fight their enemy and face their destiny on a long journey to an abandoned American military base on the north-west coast of Australia…if they can reach it before time runs out.
Children of the Different is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel set among the varied landscapes and wildlife of Western Australia.
Children of the Different is the self-published debut novel from author S C Flynn and one I quite enjoyed. There is a very distinct Australian feel to the book, a country I am very familiar with, as I live here. At times you can feel the dry of the land and the heat in the air as the story unfolds. The use of the Australia, as well as its distinct flora and fauna gives the story a very grounded narrative.
Generally YA is not a category I read in, but the story carried me along nicely and kept me reading. The narrative is uncomplicated and leads the reader along slowly before a more energetic conclusion. The benefit of this is the plot development of the characters and the world is more organic.
The main protagonists, Narrah and Arika, 13 year old twin brother and sister have begun their journey into adulthood, the consequence of this in their post-apocalyptic world is a mystic transformation. Living away from the cities, the surviving adults from the Great Madness try to protect and shelter the children from the old world, with its wars and unintended consequences. The anxiety, confusion and doubt you would expect from new teens and breaking away from the only lives they know comes across in the telling as the pair discover their new found abilities and a danger which threatening their freinds, their world and their lives.
The villain, an unknowable and malevolent entity keep Narrah and Arika guessing as they try to stop its plans. I liked that there wasn’t (to me anyway) any clues to the villain’s identity until the concluding chapters, it added to the mystery and dynamic as the each begins their odyssey, emotionally and geographically, overcoming the obstacles in their paths.
As a stand alone piece of work the story is well thought out, there are some good twists and turns before you come to a satisfying conclusion. I would recommend. 8/10.