Across the Risen Sea


Publication Date: 4 Aug. 2020
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781760526054

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    It's one of them days when everything is off. A hot sweaty night in Rusty Bus means we kids is all grouchy-tired. Me and my best friend, Jaguar, is trying to cool down by taking turns at dipping in the sea pool. Him standing on the sea wall made from car frames and rocks on lookout for crocs, me swimming, then we'll swap places. We's always doing things as a team, him and me. We's gonna be the best fisher people and the best salvagers on the whole of the inland sea one day.

    Neoma and Jag and their small community are "living gentle lives' on high ground surrounded by the risen sea that has caused widespread devastation. When strangers from the Valley of the Sun arrive unannounced, the friends find themselves drawn into a web of secrecy and lies that endangers the way of life of their entire community. Soon daring, loyal Neoma must set off on a solo mission across the risen sea, determined to rescue her best friend and find the truth that will save her village.

    Information

    Book Type: Junior High
    Age Group: 11 to 14 years
    Traffic Lights: Green/Amber
    Class Novel: Yes
    Good Reads Rating: 4.5/5
    Literary Rating: 4.5/5

    Review

    Neoma and her best friend Jaguar (known as Jag) were both both and raised on the Ockery Islands of the Inland Sea. Like the other children in their gentle community, they must not get too close to strangers in case they fall ill. It's only safe for the oldies, as they were the last of those routinely inoculated against disease when they were children.

    The oldies are also the ones who have knowledge of power sources and the developments that led to the decimation of the world as we know it. They remember the clouds when they were white, but now they are green and polluted. They also witnessed Sydney turning into a walled city, and most of the city relocating to New Armidale, away from the rising sea.

    When three armed foreigners come to their island and install some kind of technology on their hill -- without any discussion -- it is the first sign that things are changing. After threatening the community that they must not touch the technology, the strangers leave. Some time later, their boat is found with the two women on board, one of whom is dead and the other badly injured. The man is missing.

    Concerned that they might be blamed for something that had nothing to do with them, Neoma devises a plan. She will secretly disconnect the mysterious "box' and then make friends with Gerra, the injured woman, so she doesn't mistakenly think they're the ones who killed her sister.

    But Neoma's actions bring serious consequences. Other strangers from the Valley of the Sun arrive and insist on knowing who interfered with their technology. When Neoma confesses, Jag steps in with his own (untrue) confession in order to protect her. As punishment, he is taken away to work off the "debt' for his crime. The lands are theirs now and they must be obeyed.

    Neoma is determined to bring Jag home. She takes a boat and follows them, looking for an opportunity to save her best friend. Her journey turns into a grand adventure, involving crocodiles, sharks and an extremely determined female pirate.

    When she finally arrives at the Valley of the Sun she is shocked to discover that rather than the valley she imagined, it is a group of ships lashed together with a huge garden in between. The people are split into sections based on their jobs on board, and Jag has been placed with the engineers. With Jag rescued, and Saleesi -- who escaped from Pirate Bradshaw -- also on board, Neoma sets her mind, and her boat, towards finding out the truth about what happened to Gerra's family, and brokering peace between their people.

    Along the way she is not the only one to discover that the actions we take -- and the choices we make -- often have unintended consequences, and that if we take the time to listen, there is much we can learn from one another.

    An engaging climate-fiction adventure with a small touch of steampunk, set in the risen seas.

    Themes

    climate fiction, friendship, family, community, steampunk, rising seas, consequences, geopolitics

    Content Notes

    Non graphic violence and danger throughout. Pirate Bradshaw fights a shark and there is some implication she is killed, but she later turns up alive.

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