Book Review

Oliver Twist meets 1984 in this dystopian surveillance adventure


Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw

In near future England, the Coalition has taken over the rule of the country, and is now implanting small chips into all citizens in order to “keep them safe from cradle to grave”, which also makes them easy to track and, further more, to keep on track.

At the beginning of the book, Jake has almost miraculously managed to escape from the Home Academy where he’s been kept more or less in custody since the dramatic and somewhat mysterious death of his government employed parents. Almost alone in the world, ’cause he’s at least got his childhood companion Jet the Dog by his side, Jake soon finds a new existence and family in the gang of children called Outwalkers that he stumbles upon. Together they begin a dangerous journey towards Scotland, and the possibility of a life in actual freedom.

Rating 🐖 🐖 🐖 🐖 🐖

I received this book via BookBoxClub and to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard of it before. So when picking it up I felt both very thrilled because OMG DYSTOPIAN ADVENTURE GOING DOWN but also a bit sceptical. ‘Cause these kind of plot driven, adventurous novels (especially if the main character is a boy) quite often tend to unravel in heroic and macho quests with a lot of attitude but not so much political analysis or relationship focus.

To my utmost happiness, this contained very little of world saving missions, action packed dialogue or black/white visions of what would make a better world. ‘Cause even though Outwalkers is adventurous and plot driven, it’s also all about relationships, survival, living as a refugee, and feelings ranging between those of tearing hunger, paralyzing sorrow and glints of hope of a better world – or just of a bed with clean linen.

At the same time as it does ask those big existential and societal questions, Outwalkers is nothing of a heavy read. It’s fast paced, plot driven, and full of those thrilling cliffhangers that just makes you wanna keep reading. So even if you’re more into underground rail rides than what this world is turning into-scenarios, you will probably enjoy this novel.

Dr. Bea approves

If “big brother is watching”-adventures are right up your alley, I can really recommend Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. And if you like some techy stuff and a bit of virtual reality added to those governmental conspiracies, Layers by Ursula Poznanski might be just your cup of tea.



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