It is 2084. Nuclear radiation has poisoned the country. Society has fallen apart. Starvation is rampant, and power shortages have resulted in piles of obsolete gadgetry. Necessity has driven those who've survived to complete self-reliance, if they have the means to do so. For Melissa and her Nan, survival is just about possible, so long as they can guard the tiny crop of potatoes in their back garden and find enough fuel to cook on - and as long as they are safely barricaded inside their home by curfew.
For after dark, feral dogs hunt, and violent gangs from the old Olympic Stadium (now a miserable ghetto) roam to loot and plunder. If they catch you, they are not merciful; so when Melissa falls into the hands of Careem's gang, her prospects look bleak. But Careem soon realises that she might just be more valuable alive, as a ransom victim. However, he hasn't reckoned with Melissa's resourcefulness. Soon part of his young gang are completely beguiled by Melissa and her story of a hidden valley in Scotland - a place that sounds like a comparative paradise, if they can get there. But apparently only Melissa knows the way, and only she can lead them there. But Melissa is hiding a secret. She has never been to Scotland in her life, let alone a mythically Elysian valley there. Can Melissa's stories keep her alive long enough to escape - or will they get her killed?
My Rating: 5/5
I received this book for review from the Five Mile Press.
Dystopians are my favourite genre at the moment but this book has got to be one of the most realistic ones I have read.
Unlike most dystopians I have read, this book actually explains how the world got the way it is. The reasons were also really believable.
I loved how London was used as the setting and it was obvious by the vivid world building that it is a city (even in its dystopian state) that the author knows well.
I also loved the Greek Mythology elements that were integrated into the story.
Melissa was a strong female protagonist both physically and mentally. My favourite character was 6 year old Lenny as he always brought hope into otherwise hopeless situations.
Usually I would be glad that a book is a stand alone because I am terrible at reading sequels but I really would have liked a sequel for this book.