Wasteland is the second book in the Operation Galton series. The author has written in a variety of genres, but she has a special talent for creating dystopian worlds that are so close to everyday reality that the readers is left thinking What if? While this book is part of a series, it is possible to read the books out of order.
The title Wasteland refers to the area in the UK outside of the megacities where the population of the country now lives, having been cleared from towns and sorted. Those unable to find work to support themselves have been sent to so-called Hope Villages, sort of modern-day poor houses from which they will never leave, despite promises to the contrary. The last bit of the people not scoured from the landscape lives in the wasteland, supporting themselves off the grid, raising their own food, and generating their own electricity. Some things which they cannot make, they barter for with groups within the megacities or get from donations.
In 2061 in the megacities, speech is no longer free—one wrong word and you are given a social demerit and a hefty fine. One too many demerits? Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages. Everything is owned by Nutricorp, which is ruled by Ezra Bettencourt, and he has great plans to change the world.
Rae Farrer is the perfect megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding, and content with her job at Balance, a therapeutic wellness center. She grew up in the Non-parental Upbringing system, her parents supposedly dead, where she was indoctrinated into the megacity way of thinking. She lives with Nash, a weak, demerit-prone analyst for NuSens, the biometric sensor that everyone has had implanted. It not only locates those with the implant, but alerts the employer to the use of alcohol, drugs, and what nutrients they are lacking each day – even too many sweets
Rae has a secret – she wants to locate her parents and siblings, whose names she was given by her Counsellor Support Giver at Balance at great risk. To locate them she must leave the city and travel to the Wasteland. Genevra has connections, but one can’t normally leave the city for any reason.
This is a fast-paced book, once the story setting is created, with thrilling action as Rae escapes and realizes that life in the Wasteland is not what she’d imagined. As she scours the countryside for her family, she becomes disillusioned but finds what she seeks, sort of. Pursued by the megacity military, she zigs and zags to escape detection, discovering many Wastelanders along the way. There is also a slowly developing love story, with powerful relationships. The ending is particularly tense, with an unexpected twist.
The Wasteland is wonderfully real, and the world created is a strong reminder that it is not outside the realm of possibility. As usual, the author has created three-dimensional characters that draw the reader into their world, and for me, it was a page-turner. The only drawback was that there was a lot of telling, rather than showing at the beginning, which is unusual for this author. But the pace soon ramps up and by, the end, is shocking and breathless.
Five stars, highly recommended.
The next book in the series is Megacity, which in my usual befuddled way, I read first. You can see my review of that here: https://saylingaway.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5576&action=edit
About the author (Amazon):
Terry Tyler is the productive author of twenty-two books available from Amazon, the latest being Megacity. Also published recently is ‘The Visitor’, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as her popular Project Renova series. She is currently at work on a psychological thriller that centers around an internet dating con but has not yet finished with devastated societies, catastrophe, and destruction, generally. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team. She is also a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly the 12th-17th century), along with books and documentaries on sociological/cultural/anthropological subject matter. She loves South Park, the sea, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the northeast of England with her husband.
You can find the author
On Twitter: @ Terry Tyler4
And at: http://terrytyler59.blogspot.com