I write, read and review, I blog frequently and love anything to do with books and writing, including editing. I am a Book Nerd and I wear that badge with pride. http://coffee2words.wordpress.com
A Town called Dust: The Territory 1, is a long-winded, Dystopian-esque, Young Adult, zombie adventure story that is accessible to just about any audience.
Let me unpack that sentence for you.
Young Adult: The protagonist, Squid is a young boy (aged 15-16) and the other primary character is Lynnette who also happens to be the same age. One thing that doesn't happen (that seems to happen in a lot of YA/Dystopian stories these days) is a love triangle. Or really, romance of any sort. This was refreshing.
Dystopian: Squid is being raised by his Uncle and Aunt on a dirt farm (yes you read that right) in the red, barren Australian outback in the general area of Alice Springs/Central Australia (I am assuming this based on some of the names in the story). Except, this version of Australia is overrun with ghouls (dried out strobe-moving creatures that thirst to ingest your bodily fluids) and it is jointly run by a parliament of sorts, and the Church (but not our church). These institutions run the world with an iron fist and the consequences of breaking their rules are quite harsh. This of course is a perfect setting for a dystopian story.
Zombie: As I breifly mentioned above, the ghouls are, for all intents and purposes, zombies. Their mannerisms are not all that different from your usual type of zombie. But there is one real difference. Instead of eating brains, these ghouls thirst for liquid because of their perpetual dryness. Their skin flakes off as they move about in the big red outback.
Adventure: Well of course, Squid and Lynnette end up having an adventure. That's pretty much agiven.
Long-winded: Probably the only real negative point for this book is the length of time it takes to see some real action. A great deal of the book is spent in one of two locations. Dust, where Squid's Uncle's dirt farm is, or the walled city of Alice, the major 'town' that Lynnette lives in. There isn't a lot of movement other than that.
The world building was great. The reader is given plenty of opportunity to get to know the ghouls, the protagonist and main characters, Dust, the city of Alice, the Church, the Ambassador who heads the parliament... pretty much everyone. This is where we could probably do with a little bit of a cull. Some of this comes across as being a bit stuck in the minutiae and really could be left to the readers imagination.
I knocked one star off for that.
The second star was dropped off because the villans aren't really villans. What I mean here, is that they aren't dark enough. This could be because of the Young Adult genre, but I've read far more 'evil/bad/crazy' villans in other YA work. The villan/s fell a bit flat for me in A Town Called Dust.
Overall, I think the book is accessible to all readers, with parental guidance recommended for younger readers because of the violence that crops up from time to time.
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**