[505]: The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn

University of Queensland Press | Paperback, 304 pp.
Publication Date: July 24th, 2013
Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

The worst has happened. Nuclear testings between two unnamed countries brought on nuclear winter that changed the landscape of the world as we know it.

Somewhere in Australia, Fin woke up in a dark, cold world without his dad and stepmother. In his care was his younger brother. Days and weeks go by. Food became scarce. The military stopped giving rations. Desperate, people succumb to their basest of instincts. They steal, they maim, and some even kill for food.

As they realize the hopelessness of their situation, Fin and his brother banded with the school outcast and the girl Fin likes to find their mother – the only person that could offer hope, shelter and answers as to why the government had abandoned the rest of the continent.

Reminiscent of Ashfall series by Mike Mullin, this book shows the story of survival among four kids when the world is blanketed in a perpetual winter. It shows the slow decline of civilization and humanity when resources, infrastructures, and basic necessities slowly diminished. It is whatever horror you could conjure up in your nightmares in a slightly lesser degree than that of Mullin’s Ashfall series.

It’s hard not to compare the stories as it shares a couple of similarities: one is the setting (winter), and two is the male perspective for which both stories were told. Fin showed incredible calmness with every peril he’d encountered; and calculating intelligence with every decision he’d had to make. The readers see him adapt a different set of values driven by survival instincts. He is forced to grow up in a dangerous place where he would have no choice but to be his brother’s defender, provider, and saviour.

The isolation of a group of individuals “worth saving” was a plot point that was interesting to me. It reminded me of “the lottery process” in that movie, Deep Impact, wherein the government selected specialists and professionals in their fields to be saved as Earth prepares for an extinction event. In this book, anyone trying to cross the Inner Sydney border would be killed, and anyone harbouring “outsiders” are cast out.

The Sky So Heavy was an interesting book. A thought-provoking piece that will give readers pause. Considering how stubborn some countries are about the way they are handling their stash of nuclear weapons, this book will at least make you think about the precarious situation we all live in. Zorn captured this doomsday scenario pretty well, and have chosen a realistic narrator in Fin.


You may also like