Similar to: It had something of a Hunger Games feel
Could be enjoyed by: Fans of environmental disaster dystopias
Publication date: 13th May 2018
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge #3 Read a book by a woman and/or author of colour that won a literary award in 2018
“They tell me the country looked different back then.
They talk of open borders and flowing rivers.
They say the world was green.
But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky.”
After The Green Withered begins like a hellish version of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson – except instead of warning about the potential devastation of our planet, the worst has already happened. Enora lives in a world post-climate change; a world where the relentless heat has caused desertification of the land and salinization of the oceans. Water is now the global currency and is severely rationed by the shady controllers of this fundamental resource – the DMC. Enora is shocked when she’s picked to join their elite ranks but when the true nature of her “Pathfinder” role becomes clear, she is forced to confront a painful reality. Who are the DMC? What are their true aims? And why do they need Enora?
I have to begin by saying that I’m so glad that I actually enjoyed this book. I am notorious for moaning about how much I don’t like YA fiction but I’m pleased to say that although the characters in the novel were teenagers, the overall tone was fairly grown up. There were some scenes later on in the novel that were quite upsetting so it’s definitely not a book for younger readers.
I loved how the scene was set in the first chapter regarding the state that the world was in. Yes, it was a bit of an info-dump but it was a powerful summary of everything that could (and probably will) go wrong if we continue to ignore climate change. The fact that the world-building was rooted in actual science made it hit home even harder.
The writing was good, even though I felt like the pacing was a little off in places. Some parts were a tiny bit slow, whereas others were heart-in-your-mouth exhilarating. However, I did like how easily I was able to visualise even the most complex, technical parts of the novel, such as Enora’s Pathfinder display or the kit that she used.
I liked Enora as a character but felt a little ambivalent towards some of her male counterparts – a couple of them popped up so infrequently that I struggled to emotionally connect with them. There’s clearly something fishy going on with every single one of them, so hopefully the next book will allow readers to get to know them better.
The book finishes on a total cliff-hanger and I have SOOOO many theories as to what happens next but I’ll keep them to myself for now. I’m absolutely dying to know though!
Overall, I thought that After the Green Withered was a good debut – really thought-provoking and engaging. I had a few issues with pacing and character development but I think that it’s a great set up for the second book in the series. I liked the overall theme of climate change and I hope that it might make people think more seriously about what action we need to take right now to prevent this awful world from becoming our future.
Three and a half “OMG I think I know what happens next!?!”s out of five.
Well written and scarily prescient. A good debut with a fantastic message!
Please note that I read this book for free in exchange for an honest review courtesy of The Write Reads blog tour. Thank you to Kirsten for giving me a copy of her novel and to Dave for putting the tour together!