Review Blog

Dec 30 2015

Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr

cover image

Penguin, 2015. ISBN 9780141354439
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. 'Welcome to hell,' Adam says, under his breath.
This action-packed book is set in a dystopian future where the Earth is barely habitable. One way to escape that life and earn the right to live off world in a utopian existence on Sky-Base is to win the Blackwater Trail byke race. This is an arduous and dangerous race with a history of a 40 percent mortality rate. An interesting touch in the book is that each chapter counts down and from the start of this race.
Adam Stone has been saving to enter the race. He, Sadie Blood and mysterious Kane have entered the race and form a team in order to overcome the dangers of the desert, wolves, bandits and cannibals. The writing style is fast paced and has the reader urging forward as much as the riders in the race. Adam, Sadie and Kane each bring special skills and abilities that enable the team to avoid many desperate situations.
Those with motorcycle riding experience will appreciate the descriptions of the rider expertise in the race. There are technical details to enthral, including 'The Rider's Code' at the end of the book (a mystical guide the byke riding and maintenance). An interesting weapon used by the riders is a slingshot. Kane tells Adam: 'a sling needs tenderness. You hold it like you hold a woman. Loose, but strong.' More detail in the use of this weapon is included in the Guide.
This book explores the theme of loyalty. The characterisation of Adam, Sadie and Kane appear at first to be light, drawing on the action, violence and starkness of the environment to stage the story. As the story progresses the reader sees there is more to Adam, and questions arise. Who are the Nakoda? How do they live so well and how are they a part of the life of Kane? The planned sequel to this book and the answers to these questions are already awaited by this reader.
Linda Guthrie

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