Beyond Carousel by Brendan Ritchie

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Beyond Carousel follows directly on from Carousel. Nox, Izzy and Taylor have escaped the shopping complex and now face the world that Perth has become while they were imprisoned inside. Danger is ever present – wild dogs roam the streets; Loots lurk in alleyways and they now must find food and shelter. It is a post-apocalyptic world, with houses empty, broken roads and no one to repair the energy sources of electricity and gas. They go to the hills where they find a house with solar panels and rest there for a while, meeting Tommy, a photographer who is interviewing survivors and documenting what is happening. The trio know that they must venture out to discover what has happened to their loved ones, so leave the safety of the hills. But their venture is perilous. Will they survive? Will they learn what has happened to all but the artists that they have met?

The book is written in the voice of Nox who is easy to relate to. Isolation from Izzy and Taylor forces him to trust himself and by the end of Beyond Carousel he has matured into a leader who is courageous and caring. Ritchie also sensitively writes about gay relationships and conflict with family members. Combined with the character development are breathtaking chases, encounters with pit bulls and peril from exploding gas.

Pervading Beyond Carousel is a theme of Art and the place of artists in society. A wonderful light show brightens Perth every night, a famous film actress works on a monologue and stunning art works are produced. However, without the Patrons, ordinary people, Perth disintegrates into a broken shell.

Ritchie’s rich and thrilling conclusion satisfactorily answers some of the questions posed in the duology but leaves the reader pondering unresolved ones. Other books featuring people trapped in shopping centres include Royals by Tegan Bennett Daylight, and Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. 

Themes: Survival, Missing persons, Perth, Dystopian fiction, Art.

Pat Pledger