By: Jonathan Mary-Todd
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 28, 2012
They’d left the Frontier Motel some time ago and had “spent a few moons moving east together.” The Frontier was a safe place, but it had been time to move on. Everything changed when their world turned upside down as all the adults around them began to die. Nothing seemed to work as it once did and eventually there wasn’t so much as a drop of gas to drive a car. Of course Beckley’s little sister, Emma, had been born at the Frontier and didn’t know any different, but the others did. Malik had been leading them while Wendell proudly said to the group, that he’d “caught our last dozen meals.”
Beckley, on one level, kept everyone going in the right direction. She pored over Gene Matterhorn’s Wilderness Survival Guidebook. Probably once a book that someone used for entertainment, but paying attention to what Gene had to say really kept them alive. Survival was the key, but with a storm threatening as they approached Des Moines, it was going to be necessary to find shelter. They’d avoided cities on their trek, but freezing to death simply wasn’t an option. Beckley’s handmade bola couldn’t protect them from the cold.
They had run up against trouble before from outsiders and Emma’s scarred face was proof of that. The stench of something disgusting hit their nostrils as they entered Des Moines, but something more insidious awaited them. They did meet a friendly band of people and the Captain and Mayor Catherine Forsythe brought them under their watch. The stench turned out to be from the Pig City area where ruthless traders hid out. Malik soon found himself “curled inside a cage” after their group was ambushed. Would they be able to wheedle their way out of this mess or be used to feed those stinking pigs?
This is an fast-paced survivalist adventure that will thrill the young reader. Reluctant readers, the target audience for this tale, will be enticed by this short, action-packed read. The scenario for this series, “After the Dust Settled” is one in which the world as we know it has ended and only the young survive ... if they can. The tale moves along quickly as this band of teens stick together as they move east. Malik, their apparent leader, tells their story in a matter-of-fact way as survival has simply become their way of life. The story is evolving and some of the earlier characters like Hector are no longer on the scene. The storyline as well as the characters are beginning to gel as they mature and learn to depend on one another. If you have reluctant or newly independent readers who want short, but exciting novels, this is one series you may wish to add to your library or classroom shelves.
Quill says: If you have a youngster who enjoys quick, exciting reads, the After the Dust Settled series is one you may wish to consider!