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Sunday 26 April 2015

Review: Havoc

After months of attacks and reprisals, a tenuous ceasefire is in place between the warring sides of the river. The city is split in two by the division of the river and by other conflicts that are much harder to overcome.

When the ceasefire is betrayed, it seems all hope is lost for those in Southside until Nik discovers a stranger amid the debris. Who is she and why does she repeat the word ‘Havoc’? How is she connected to the secret experiments taking place in the Marsh? Can Nik find a way to avoid the barricades and make his way to Cityside to find his father and discover who betrayed the people of Southside?

Jane Higgins, the Text Prize-winning author of The Bridge, continues the story of a city divided by those in authority whose first priority is their own self-serving schemes. This is a relevant and scarily believable story of biological warfare, corruption and wilful ignorance that demonstrates just how easily the majority can be coerced to voluntarily submit to the will of a few.

The writing is well-structured and the story well-developed. I haven’t read The Bridge, but I was able to pick up the threads of the previous story reasonably quickly to understand the unfolding drama of Havoc. Having said that, I am now keen to backtrack and read The Bridge to gain a better understanding of the back story of the central characters and to discover how the situation between Cityside and Southside originally developed.

Havoc is a thought-provoking story of friendship, loyalty, betrayal and the desire for power at any cost that could easily prompt discussions about identity, belonging, the role of government in regulating and controlling scientific discoveries, the potential impacts of biological warfare agents, and the nature of leadership.

There are teachers’ notes available for both Havoc and The Bridge.

Title: Havoc
Author: Jane Higgins
Publisher: Text Publishing, $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: 25 February 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922147295
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction