by David Hofmeyr (Penguin Books) ISBN: 9780141354439
Adam Stone and his brother are orphans trying to survive in Blackwater, a desert town set sometime in future America. Annually residents have a chance to escape the hell-hole and live in the utopian Sky Base – if they compete in and survive the Blackwater Trail. This is a brutal cross-desert motor-bike race demanding extraordinary skill and courage.
Adam wants out, but he also wants the enigmatic Sadie Blood. Her brother and his gang own the town and they’re Adam’s nemesis. When a maverick stranger, Kane materialises as a wild card in the Blackwater Trail, the stakes are significantly raised.
Stone Rider is aimed at teenagers, but I was engrossed. I enjoyed the strong, simple writing and realistic dialogue that reveals character. Adam is endearing, lovable, and vulnerable. I rode with him and willed him to succeed. I loved the concept of “bykes” being generational heirlooms, each imbued with the spirit of their former “ryder.”
Thematically Stone Rider is reminiscent of The Hunger Games trilogy; youngsters in dystopia competing against each other and the odds for a chance of a better life among the elite. This is an imaginative first novel by a South African-born author. I look forward to the sequels.
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