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Flood Child Paperback – 6 Jul 2009
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The whole two main characters meeting up, felt very sudden and a bit jarring. One minute one is at home and the other is at sea. Then bang both in same place, same time instantly. There were two other places where it felt like chunks of the story had been removed, then just slapped together.
Either way I am a bit annoyed with myself that I didn’t like it that much. But I have to be honest and this is just my own opinion.
Generally I think there are two kinds of Dystopia - technology gone crazy like Uglies, or return to the past where a technological breakdown plunges everyone into the dark ages. Flood Child is the latter.
The world Lilly Melkun lives in is a barbaric, harsh world, where peasants struggle to get by as raiders smash their boats and destroy their livelihoods. The priests speak of the time of `puters' as a period of great excess and evil, responsible for the flooded plight of the current people.
It's a world easy to imagine, what with global warming and melting ice caps, which makes it a rather frightening one to read about.
I liked the characters, and the choice to have both a fisher village girl and a Reaver (sort of like a pirate) boy telling the story as a dual narrative made it a much richer story. Without Zeph's point of view it would have been easy for the Reavers to become evil charicatures, but in creating him as a sympathetic character, Emily Diamand challenges the reader to overturn any preconceptions. Which I think is a really important thing in children's literature - learning that there is always another side to the story.
What's Not So Good
The phonetic dialect, while not overbearing, won't be to everyone's taste. It's not ridiculous, but things like `ent' instead of `isn't' are common in both speech and the prose (as it's a first person perspective, it is at least the character's voice) and the initial transistion from Lilly's perspective to Zeph's confused me, until I realised the drawing at the head of the chapter changed with the different characters - a cat for Lilly a knife for Zeph. Once I'd twigged that I was with a new character, it was fine. The book doesn't struggle to differentiate the voice of the characters, and they never sound the same.
Lilly was coming home from spending time with cat out on the sea, as she turns towards home she sees smoke rising from her village and broken boats in the harbour which she has to carefully navigate through so she can dock. Whilst moving her way through the boats all she can think about are the ones she loves and she's praying their safe.
Andy is waiting for her; he's shouting her name and waving frantically. She notices that the whole village seem to be there, even one is looking at her and some shake their heads.
Once she finds out that it's the Reavers doing Lilly and cat run to her Grandmas house. When she gets there she finds that her Grandma is dead and Hetty is sat there and she tells Lilly that the Reavers were looking for her sea cat.
Besides Lilly losing her grandma the Reavers have also kidnapped the Prime Ministers daughter and have demanded a ransom. In his anger the Prime Minister wants the villagers to pay for not helping to keep his daughter safe. So he decides that all able-bodied young men must fight the war he wants to start, then he arrests all leaders in authority and then threatens to hang any of them if they turn out to be traitors.
Mrs Denton, (the Prime Minister Sister), asks to see Lilly as she feels she's the only one she can talk to due to them both suffering a loss. Whilst there she over hears her brother saying that he won't pay for his daughters ransom as he won't give in to the Reavers.
Lilly finds out that Mrs. Denton has thought of a way to give the Reavers what they want. She wants her niece back and doesn't want her brother to start another war. But the person she wanted to do this isn't able to, so Lilly sneaks into her home and takes the ransom. Lilly and her sea cat get into her boat and set sail to go and save the Prime Ministers daughter.
I don't want to say anything else about Lilly's journey as that would spoil it for you.
Emily Diamond won a writing competition with this her first novel and after reading it I can see it was well deserved.
Not only is this an excellent story but her characters have great depth and personality. I found this an enjoyable and compulsive read.
Whether you're a teenager or an adult if you love adventure then this is the book for you. :-)
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