Monday, July 27, 2015

Stone Rider

by David Hofmeyr

Summary From GoodReads

"Intense, original, compelling . . . bristles with attitude. So cool. Just read it."--Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Gone and BZRK

In the vein of The Outsiders and the early Western novels of Elmore Leonard, this inventive debut novel, a cross between the cult classic Mad Max movie series and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, blends adrenaline-fueled action with an improbable yet tender romance to offer a rich and vivid portrayal of misfits and loners forced together in their struggle for a better life.

Adam Stone wants freedom and peace. He wants a chance to escape Blackwater, the dust-bowl desert town he grew up in. Most of all, he wants the beautiful Sadie Blood. Alongside Sadie and the dangerous outsider Kane, Adam will ride the Blackwater Trail in a brutal race that will test them all, body and soul. Only the strongest will survive.

The prize? A one-way ticket to Sky-Base and unimaginable luxury.

And for a chance at this new life, Adam will risk everything.

Thoughts on the Book

Yet another BEA pick. There were three YA book piles, each with a different book, by the time I got to it (there was a line leading up to table) only two of the three books remained, this was one of them so I grabbed it.  This past weekend I finally organized my BEA loot in order of when I should read things.  This made it to the top of the list since it was published earlier this month.

My Review

This book is about a kid, Adam, who is orphaned and friendless.  He lives in a society that relies heavily on bykes.  If you don't race with the byke you're forced to work in the mines, which is a horrible existance, alternatively if you do race and you survive you are allowed to work anywhere.

I started reading this book knowing nothing about it, so when I just looked at the summary posted at GoodReads I had to laugh.  My first thought after opening the book was "wow, this is a lot like The Outsiders".  It definitely started with that same feel, but Stone Rider is so much better.  It's a YA book that is definitely more geared towards boys, riding bykes (fancy mind-melding motorcycles that run on sun-power)and  minimal romantic entanglement, there's a girl, Adam has a major crush on her, he's incoherent when she's around, he races and writes her off until she joins him.  

I really enjoyed this book, which is surprising because I wasn't expecting to, it didn't seem like my type of book at all.  The race was kind of predictable, even the horror of it, setting things up so kids would die while the Watchers from the sky watched for entertainment and made bets.  The characters really made the book.  Adam was great, he's your average kid, not really wanting to be part of anything, to scared to risk his life in the race, but knowing that he was an excellent rider.  His personal growth throughout the book is great, I absolutely loved his decision at the end.  Sadie was a great character too, a bad ass girl who didn't take shit from anyone, especially her brother.  She knew exactly what she wanted and she made sure she got it.  Sadie's also really smart, kind, and open-minded.  She was definitely my favorite character.  Then there's Kane, he was by far the most interesting character, you have no clue about anything about him until the very end of the book.  You learn bits along the way, but it's not until shortly before the finish line that you really find out exactly who he is.  It's almost out of left field, unless you're very imaginative and pick up on the smallest hints dropped throughout the book. 

Overall I give this book a 8/10.  The race was a little predictable (although the order of the finish I was slightly surprised at), and I wish Hofmeyr spent a little more time describing things, like the wolf attack.  And an explanation for Adam's blackouts, why he suddenly stopped having them, what exactly happened when he did have them.

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