None of them wanted to leave Earth. It might have been nightmarish, but it was all they knew.
Gary wanted to concentrate on his exams, in hopes of leaving the CityBlock and its bullies far behind. Kailee wanted to become an actress. Darrin merely wanted to live. But when the three teenagers win a competition, they find themselves taking the trip of a lifetime, a voyage to a colony world where they can see how the colonists live.
Meridian is very different from the dark and dismal cityblocks, a place where they can make a new beginning. But it also houses dangers, dangers that their education on Earth didn’t even begin to prepare them to face, dangers governed by the cold equations of survival.
And when disaster strikes, they find themselves forced to fight for their lives – or die, alone and unloved, thousands of light years from home.
Again I have to say that, when reading a book from Mr. Nuttall, it never comes down to whether I will like it or not but rather to how much I will like it. This book is a good one. Sure, there are a few of his books that I have liked more but there are a few that I have liked less as well. The book is one of those “out of line” books in this series in the sense that it takes place in the same universe and with the same apocalyptic backdrop but has little, nothing really, to do with the Marines on Avalon and the Commonwealth.
I liked the story concept very much. Totally ignorant as well as downright stupid city brats from Earth gets thrown into the real world outside of their decadent and dysfunctional home planet. Some of them are not only ignorant and stupid but downright criminal. Needless to say it becomes a shocking experience, lethally so for some of them.
As with all the books in this series the core of the story is the unsustainable government of Earth where people can roam around, do more or less what they want and still be feed by the government. The school system are of course equally dysfunctional and do not even aspire to teach the student anything but blatantly false government propaganda. Many readers would argue that this future is fiction and exaggerated and sure, it is both fictional and excaggerated…to an extent. However I cannot help to be worried when I do see how many people already seem to take it for granted that the government should support them no matter how lazy they are or how stupidly they behave. As far as the school system goes, well there I am pretty scared I have to say. The school system in my country of birth is already next to useless and more concerned about being politically correct than to actually produce people with some skills. I remember one instance a few years ago where the teachers actually forced students to give back private birthday invitations because they argued that, in true socialist spirit, handing them out on school property was not allowed unless everyone in the class got them. What the f…? Anyway I digress, back to the book.
The story is a nice mix of cultural shock and adventure for the kids. Naturally the kids are forced to grow up rather quickly and not only learn some skills but some manners as well. Not so surprisingly it does not go so well for all of the kids and for some of them mistakes become deadly. Actually this is one small gripe that I have with the book. A lot of the kids are meeting a somewhat untimely end without any real fault of themselves. I felt it a bit overkill (pun intended) actually. I was also a bit miffed when one of my favorite characters (not one of the kids) was killed off. Well it was the authors choice so I have to live with it and it is a minor gripe anyway.
The ignorance door swings both ways and it is not only the Earth kids that are in for a chock. Their handler, also a young boy, are totally unaware at the level of ignorance, not to mention stupidity, that the Earth kids are possessing. This is also the cause of some incidents of course.
The book more or less ends after Earth has fallen and for good measure the author throws in a bit of a cliffhanger at the end in order to tie Meridian further into the future plot of the series. Well, cliffhanger and cliffhanger. The main story arc of the book does indeed come to a proper conclusion. This cliffhanger is more to kick start some future part of the main story.
As usual I am looking forward to read the next book in the series.