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Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morgan

equinox Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morgan

Lara Morgans Genesis, the first in her dystopian YA trilogy The Rosie Black Chronicles, was a blistering read. Its sequel certainly continues in a similar vein, albeit with even more grit and integrity. Morgan writes of a future where climate change has rendered vast tracts of the world uninhabitable, and where the haves and the have-nots are divided almost in a way reminiscent of'Soylent Green/Make Room! Make Room!'(and the foods not much better, although admittedly a bit more vegetarian-friendly). Its a class system so entrenched that its closer to a caste system than anything, and things arent made much better by the oppressive government, which recalls all of those feared entities of golden age dystopian literature.

But we dont just get our Orwells and Zamyatins here: theres plenty of cyberpunk-inspired goodness lurking at the corners of this gritty novel, and every now and then you find yourself bumping into a Philip K Dick or William Gibson trope. Its angsty, its tough, and its worthy of Tank Girl.'Truly, its a welcome departure from so much of the stuff that has a dystopian label slapped on it these days: theres a wonderful awareness of the roots of the genre and all the issues and features that have been touched upon over the years. This isnt simply an alternative reality with some completely unfathomable and indefensible what ifjust because twist added to it; its organic and vivid, and you can imagine it growing out of the context of today.

Freshly returned from Mars and still shaken by the experience, Rosie Black is attempting to make a fresh start at the Orbitcorp Academy, where, despite being of the underclass, she shows immediate promise as a pilot. But this isnt Enders Game, and Rosies challenges arent limited to the computer screen. Rather, she finds herself hunted by Helios, haunted by her fears for her troubled father, and increasingly cynical about the enigmatic Riley and her worryingly absent aunt Essie. Her trust in those around her is further weakened when she finds herself both under surveillance and constantly pursued; things become even more eerie when Riley forces a neuro implant upon hersomething expedient, he assures herand it begins to cause horrendous, debilitating migraines.

Rosie, Pip and new arrival Dalton Curtis seek safety amidst the Gondwana nation, where they continue their fight against Helios, and Rosie, stricken by the effects of her implant, begins to learn just how high the stakes really are

Morgan does a dazzling job with the second installment in this trilogy, and although there are a few plot points and reveals that require some substantial suspension of disbelief, Morgans hyper-real ultra-urban setting allows this for the most part to work: the emphasis on the appalling living conditions and caste-like division of society positions the reader to be accepting of the worst and to treat everyone with suspicion. Theres certainly a prevailing sense of paranoia, and Morgan does an excellent job of exploiting this without alienating the reader or descending too deeply into the mire of dystopian grimness. The novel is dark, yes, but its human, too, and there are enough moments of levity and warmth (and the odd love triangle!) that you dont come away feeling as though youve been tainted.

Perhaps my favourite element of this series is that Morgan draws her setting so richly and evocatively. Too often in Australian YA settings become ambiguous or elided, but in Rosie Black its oh-so-real. Perth is Perth, and there are familiar landmarks (or as least as much as can be expected five hundred years in the future and after significant climate change) and other elements that have you believing that youre truly reading about Australia. Theres the harshness, the dryness, the unique scents and flavours: its all there. Morgan also allows the beautiful melting pot of the Australian situation infuse her work, and we see people of all different backgroundsthe main love interest, from what I can tell, is of Indigenous descent, which although it shouldnt be, is worthy of note.

Equinox'is a strong follow up to an excellent predecessor, and Im looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

Rating: star Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morganstar Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morganstar Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morganstar Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morganblankstar Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morgan (excellent)

With thanks to Walker Books Australia for the review copy

Support Read in a Single Sitting by purchasing Equinox from

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See also our interview and giveaway with Lara Morgan

See our reviews of other Lara Morgan books

Other books by Lara Morgan:

 Book Review: Equinox (Rosie Black #2) by Lara Morgan

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