Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Me on In a Handful of Dust

Title: In a Handful of Dust
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Lucy's life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy's childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy's future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach. When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what's killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn's mind, and the prospect of a "normal" life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever.

In a Handful of Dust is a return to a dry future, a world where water is more valuable than gold. Instead of the glimpse of this rough world readers found previously, this is a journey across plains, rivers, and mountains, showing that danger is everywhere and few can be trusted.

Lucy, and of course Lynn, are older now, a good ten years or so older. They stayed in the house with the pond, living with a few close family members and friends. But then they leave. The discover what the world's become after the Shortage. What's beyond home, beyond the pond. What kind of people are out there and what their motives are. How hard it is to survive. Lynn is the same as she was, and I was glad for that. She's rough, she's practical, she rarely trusts strangers, and she often suspects the worst when she meets someone new. She's set in her ways, focused on survival. Lucy isn't. Her childhood was full of change and death but also love, love from Lynn and those around her. She isn't a carbon copy of Lynn, and so she thinks differently of people, sees friendship where Lynn sees weakness and possible betrayal. Lynn is the voice of reason while Lucy is hope and dreams of the future.

Nothing about this world is easy. Not the landscape, not the weather, not the people. You need to be strong to live in this world. Intelligent. Practical. Not unemotional but realistic. Good with a gun, preferably a rifle. All of the fluff and excess has been trimmed away until all that's left is survival, trust, and sacrifice.

After reading Not a Drop to Drink last year, I imagined this would be rather similar. And in certain ways is was. A harsh, brutal, hostile world, a story of strength and survival, of being pushed, of defending what is ours, who is ours, until our last breath. But in other ways it wasn't. The last book was Lynn's story, and this is Lucy's. Lucy sees the world differently, sees hope for the future, sees what could be beyond the dust and the death. For those who wanted more after reading the previous book, and for those looking for frighteningly realistic post-apocalyptic dystopian, I would definitely recommend this book.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from HarperCollins Canada.)

1 comment:

  1. I was actually a little disappointed in this one because it just didn't seem as original as NOT A DROP TO DRINK. Still very vivid and well-written, just a little more generic than I wanted it to be. I'm excited to see what this author is going to do next!