Rage: Australian YA Post-Apocalyptic Drama (Seventeen Series Book 2) by Suzanne Lowe takes us into a dystopian environment, in part, in homage to Lord of the Flies, in Western Australia where the world is now populated by children. The mysterious KV17 virus, eighteen months ago had wiped out the entire adult population (everyone over the age of 17). Left to fend for themselves the young teenagers and children attempted to keep life operating and survive in the harsh environment that was the Western Australian outback. Lexi and Hadley, two sisters who had lived in Perth, had escaped the crime ravaged and vermin infested city to travel to Jasper’s Bay, a small rural town where they hoped they could link up with other survivors and somehow rebuild their lives. In the first book of this series there had been a violent confrontation between a bully-gang and the ordinary children that had resulted in deaths and the realisation that the now mutated KV17 virus would also infect those children when they turned 17, not killing them but altering their brain chemistry to make them emotionally unstable and dangerous. In this forbidding backdrop Lexi, Hadley and their friends have to try to eke out an existence whilst always be cognisant of the dangers of wild teenage enemies and equally, dangerous friends.
I found the premise fascinating and this is what drew me into this story. Could a group of children form a cogent society once all the adults had disappeared? William Golding suspected not, what would author Suzanne Lowe make of the opportunity? In Rage: Australian YA post-apocalyptic drama (Seventeen Series Book 2) she presents us with a wide variety of differing characters that generally ring true to form; from the “black sheep” of the family in the guise of the evil brother Kevin, to his brainless sycophantic girlfriend Cindy, right through to those characters determined to make the most of an impossible situation. I found the story to be well written and the flow and tempo to be totally appropriate to the setting. I particularly enjoyed the clear emotional connection between Braydon and Lexi and wanted very much to see with this would lead. The author’s target market is clearly the YA market however, this did not stop this sixty-year-old from, thoroughly enjoying the read. The author clearly knows her environment and this shows through in her work. As a New Zealander, the Aussie slang was second nature to me but even for others it just adds authenticity to the work rather than distracting from it. Lowe did an excellent job of filling in the backstory as we went along, so this can be read as a stand-alone book. The ending (although I’m not personally a fan of cliff-hangers) did nicely set up book three and I look forward to reading it.