I review Children Of The Different by S.C. Flynn.
Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy.
Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and either emerge with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals.
In the great forest of south-western Australia, thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead.
After their Changings, the twins have powers that let them fight their enemy and face their destiny on a long journey to an abandoned American military base on the north-west coast of Australia. If they can reach it before time runs out.
CHILDREN OF THE DIFFERENT is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel set among the varied landscapes and wildlife of Western Australia.
Meet Arika and Narrah, twins, and our protagonists. They’ve grown up after The Great Madness wiped out almost all of humanity, and Arika has already started Changing. Narrah is scared, for his sister as well as himself, and his coming Changing, which occurs in all survivors at the onset of puberty.
This is YA, but it gives us a nice break from the usual Strong Female Character, But Must Have Male Love Interest, And Probably A Love Triangle, excuse my language, bullshit. Arika and Narrah are siblings, with a much closer, more realistic relationship. The characters are rich and vibrant, and their bond, alongside their realistic reactions, is what makes it so easy to empathise with them.
The narrative does feel somewhat young, even for young adult – perhaps this might even be suitable for younger readers. But Flynn doesn’t talk down to the reader; in fact, the narrative felt empowering, encouraging. It reminded me a bit of Peadar O’Guilin’s Bone World Trilogy.
Children Of The Different is a typically dystopian, post-apocalyptic yarn, but it offers so much more, with the threads of fantasy and Aboriginal myths weaved through. With beautiful description, enjoyable characters and a fast-paced plot, Children Of The Different is a debut that is not to be missed.