I’m kicking off the blog tour for second instalment in Tom Huddleston’s apocalyptic middle grade series – ‘DustRoad.’ I also have a cracking guest post from Tom about some other brilliant apocalyptic tales his readers might also enjoy.
Just to fill you in briefly, FloodWorld finds main protagonists Kara and Joe living in the impoverished Shanties – a ramshackle series of floating buildings behind the dam protecting the City of London from the deadly floodwaters which have entirely engulfed most of the rest of the country. They live a hand-to-mouth existence, making money anyway they can. When their whole way of life is threatened, the pair find themselves at the centre of a plan to eliminate the enemy and save their people.
When DustRoad begins, the pair are at sea aboard the Mariners’ impressive ‘ship’ The Ark, but a storm and a nighttime raid see them cast adrift until they finally hit land on the American continent. Ravaged by war, the people of the American continent are not much better of than anyone else, despite not being submerged. Supplies are scarce and it’s every person for themselves.
Desperate for help, Kara, Joe and their Mariner friend Nate, go with bounty hunter, Lynx, and find themselves guests of The Five. Charismatic, identical and deadly, The Five are cult-like figures, bent on uniting their follows to declare war upon the Mariners, who they claim are living much better lives than the rest of them. Kara and the gang are desperate to get a message of warning out, but how will they ever do that when they seem to be being watched at every turn? It’s going to take all of their courage, wits and resolve to see their mission through….
As with the first instalment, this is a pacey, action-packed adventure with moments of true grit and peril. The post-apocalyptic theme of flood and drought is highly topical at the moment, with global warming and increasing flooding causing widespread alarm. It will certainly make readers stop and wonder – ‘What if..?’
The bond between Kara and Joe is tight, their love for each other as ‘chosen’ siblings radiates from the page, with each acting to protect the other. Kara is outwardly tough and driven by strong principles, whereas Joe is inwardly more resilient and level-headed. However, there are moments when the layers of toughness are peeled back and the reader is reminded that they are only children. Children with the survival of thousands weighing heavy on their shoulders.
I’d definitely recommend this for older middle grade readers who love gritty, cinematic reads, aged 9+
Now to get some other top recommendations from the author, Tom Huddleston:
5 amazing apocalyptic stories for kids
With my futuristic adventure story FloodWorld and its sequel DustRoad, I’ve imagined a world where climate change has ravaged the globe, where the seas have risen, the cities have been drowned and humanity is struggling to survive in a ruined world.
The breakdown of civilisation might seem like a challenging topic for a childrens’ book, but with boundless opportunities for adventure, excitement and overcoming adversity, apocalyptic stories have become a staple of the sci-fi genre. Here are five of my favourite end-of-the-world stories suitable for younger readers.
The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher
Sci-fi author John Christopher imagines a future where the Martian invaders from HG Wells’s War of the Worlds have successfully conquered Earth and enslaved humanity, fitting everyone over the age of 14 with a metallic ‘cap’ to control their behaviour. When young Will realises what’s about to happen he flees, setting out in search of the fabled White Mountains and the band of human rebels rumoured to be hiding there. I loved this trilogy when I was young – the second book, where Will becomes a slave-spy in the aliens’ city, is truly weird and unsettling.
Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
Philip Reeve’s epic Mortal Engines quartet are hugely popular, and with good reason – set in a world of giant mobile cities, they’re wildly imaginative and exciting. But in some ways I prefer his prequel trilogy following the adventures of apprentice engineer Fever Crumb, which take place in a crumbling, overpopulated future London. Fever is such an amazing heroine, and the books are packed from over to cover with wild inventions and bizarre ideas that feel at once completely real and totally fantastical.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
An intimate story of the apocalypse, as American teenager Daisy arrives in England, falls in love, and finds herself in the midst of the Third World War. Meg Rosoff’s story stays close to its characters, rarely giving readers a full picture of the raging war, but only showing us the effect it has on Daisy and her family. It’s beautifully written and quite upsetting. I also really recommend the underrated film version starring Saoirse Ronan.
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
This enchanting book depicts an apocalypse beyond the apocalypse, as the last human survivors of a planetary disaster find refuge in an underground city only to find it crumbling around their ears. Another book crammed with ideas and featuring a brilliant, imaginative heroine, City of Ember was also made into a really enjoyable film starring Saoirse Ronan. I’m starting to think she’s cursed…
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
This one’s a little bit more grown up, but I loved it when I was young. It’s set in the aftermath of a nuclear war, and follows a group of mutant teenagers who must hide the fact that they have psychic powers from their fearful, close-knit farming community. It’s a fascinating look at intolerance, and a really gripping adventure story. If you like it, try Wyndham’s equally apocalyptic Day of the Triffids next.
I love a good apocalyptic adventure and am slightly ashamed to admit that I haven’t read any of the above titles! Something to fix over the coming weeks.
*Many thanks to Nosy Crow for having me on the blog tour. Make sure to visit the other stops too*