Book review: Sacrifice by Joanna Orwin

This book is in bookshops now and is a finalist in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

Several generations after volcanic eruptions and tsunamis caused the onset of the Dark, the descendants of the few survivors are struggling to maintain their tenuous communities in swamplands at the far northern end of New Zealand. Now food and resources are dwindling, and the real hope for the future rests with the youths selected every five years as Travellers, their goal being to venture into the devastated mainland in search of other people and any remaining food sources.”

This time five were chosen to travel the ocean in search of other land, food and resources. They come together despite their differences to build a ‘moki’ to take them on their journey, where they discover an island with different people, culture and religion to their own. The people they find are unwelcoming and wary of the travellers. They have to find a way to allow them to take food plants back with them for cultivation. They end up competing in a canoe race with the local men and after a tie they are finally allowed to return home with the plants on the condition that one of the travellers stays behind, who then ends up making the ultimate sacrifice.

This is the story of five youths, how they change and grow in themselves and in their relationships with each other, gaining trust and companionship along the way. The author used elements from religion, mythology and astronomy to create the cultures and beliefs of the people of this future civilisation. I found the story had an interesting premise and was well written, but it was quite slow to progress and did not hold my attention completely. This book may appeal to readers who enjoy dystopian fiction with a New Zealand flavour.

Reviewed by Rachel Crewe, Facebook fan

by Joanna Orwin
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509125

1 thought on “Book review: Sacrifice by Joanna Orwin

  1. Pingback: Sacrifice, Joanna Orwin

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