Way Down Dark by James P Smythe

Way Down Dark (The Australia Trilogy)

by James P Smythe

There's one truth on Australia.

You fight or you die.

Usually both.

Imagine a nightmare from which there is no escape.

Seventeen-year-old Chan's ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, in search of a new home. They never found one.

This is a hell where no one can hide.

The only life that Chan's ever known is one of violence, of fighting. Of trying to survive.

This is a ship of death, of murderers and cults and gangs.

But there might be a way to escape. In order to find it, Chan must head way down into the darkness - a place of buried secrets, long-forgotten lies, and the abandoned bodies of the dead.

This is Australia.

Seventeen-year-old Chan, fiercely independent and self-sufficient, keeps her head down and lives quietly, careful not to draw attention to herself amidst the violence and disorder. Until the day she makes an extraordinary discovery - a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so would bring her to the attention of the fanatics and the murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger.

And a safe return to Earth is by no means certain.

Reviewed by Kelly on

5 of 5 stars

Way Down Dark is the young adult dystopian of the year. Gritty storyline and a strong willed, determined, kick ass heroine that will have you on the edge of your seat. It's dirty, it's gritty and exactly what the dystopian genre needs. A tough, balls to the wall storyline that holds the reader hostage. And you'll love every. Freaking. Moment. It's action from cover to cover, leaving little time for you to catch your breath.

Australia is stationed in space, hovering above the earth in search of a new home. Previous generations have passed down the stories of the Earth being over populated, dying and a new home was needed to save mankind. It's inhabitants scrambled to build ships to send skyward, but one was never found. Chan was born upon Australia, a ship of murderers, hardened criminals and misfits of society. The next generation on board are split into groups, the Pale Women who live by their Testaments, the Bell's who are experimental genetically modified soldiers, dangerous as they are dim witted. Shopkeepers who recycle clothing and shoes from the dead and the Lows. Deadly gangs that roam the ship looking for their next victim. But now they've decided to expand. Families are being terrorised, children stolen, parents gutted like animals and thrown into the depths of the ship and Chan may only be one seventeen year old girl, but she's determined to fight back.

Chan is absolutely fierce. I adored her! She knows when to keep her head down and when to fight back. The families who live within the berths, she considers her people and when the Low's begin to sweep through with their own form of caste cleansing, Chan takes it upon herself to take them on. The Low's aren't your average young adult villains, they're brutal, terrifying and have no qualms about slashing you to ribbons just because they can. Their leader Rex is nothing short of a ferocious, homicidal and now out for blood.

It's fight or flight on board Australia, but eventually they will find you. There's no where to hide, even for Jonah. Jonah with his shock of red hair lives under the instruction the Pale Women, until he finds his world ripped apart by Rex. Together he and Chan form a tentative bond, wanting to rescue others from the clutches of the Low's and themselves. But Australia isn't what it seems. Years of fables told throughout the generations could never have prepared them for what those on board are about to discover. It's explosive.

James Smythe is an incredible author that has crafted an engaging, enthralling and brutal dystopian young adult novel that will leave you breathless. It's intelligent, dark and incredibly gritty. I loved it for it's brutality, it's honesty and it's determination to fight for the underdog.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 28 June, 2015: Finished reading
  • 28 June, 2015: Reviewed