'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Review: Mountain Arrow

After their trip to the abandoned city to find medicine to save their village, Pandora and her friends have returned to the river. But one of them didn’t make it back and is still out there somewhere, and another is carrying the deadly virus that turns people into feral creatures.

Going back to the way things were before seems impossible, but Pandora tries, all the while battling her feelings for the mountain boy, Bayat, who protected them on their trip to Melney, and trying to accept her fate to be paired with Matthew.

But when the Mountain People appear looking for shelter, other refugees start to flood the river village and Pandora’s visions of the past and future come back, she knows trying to restart a normal life was na├»ve. 

Pandora and a few others head back into the wilderness to find the truth about what really happened to their world all those years ago, where the deadly creatures came from and how they might be cured.

River Stone, book one in The Burning Days series, was intertwined with letters from Pandora’s mother as she explained to her daughter the choices she had made that led her to the river and the things she had down that played a part in the destruction of the world. In Mountain Arrow, the chapters are dispersed with recordings from the friend who was left behind in the wild, explaining another world she has stumbled across and the secrets it is hiding.

These features are a brilliant form of storytelling, allowing readers to follow two storylines throughout the book that link up secrets and mysteries. The result is you, the reader, silently screaming at the characters to turn around because you know things they haven’t yet discovered.

Mountain Arrow is a brilliant read and a fantastic follow up to River Stone. Addictive and thrilling, I found it hard to put it down. Hennessy is a master of thrills, keeping your heart pumping in every chapter and making you question things all the way through, even though the flow is slower in this instalment than it was in book one, with a longer focus on life in the village.

Like River Stone, Mountain Arrow explores the ethics of actions serving the greater good and why an enemy is an enemy (and why they might not be). With the creatures featuring more in book two, this line of questioning is ramped up, and the story forces you to think about things from lots of different perspectives. Everyone always thinks they’re on the side of good. But are they?

Pandora is a strong and wild heroine, brave and determined, but flawed like all of us. She wants to do what she’s been told is the right thing, but she also wants to follow her heart, and she questions her options and choices throughout the book, giving readers insight into who she is deep inside. She is sometimes brave, she is sometimes selfish and sometimes she gets it wrong — but don't we all?

Mountain Arrow sets up the series for something huge to come in book three, and I’m eagerly looking forward to cracking all the secrets of this wild book world. If you like dystopian YA, definitely check out River Stone and Mountain Arrow.

Title: Mountain Arrow
Author: Rachel Hennessy
Publisher: MidnightSun Publishing, $19.99
Publication Date: November 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925227741
For ages: 13+
Type: Young Adult Fiction