Caroline Clough (author); BLACK TIDE; Kelpies (Children's: Juvenile Fiction) 9.99 ISBN: 9780863158773
Byline: Jill Allen
Given how much teens enjoy stories of heroic adolescents, they will quickly become engrossed in the adventures of young Toby Tennant as he sets off to rescue his father and sister against the backdrop of a wintry dystopian Scotland beleaguered by ruthless thieves and super-intelligent, predatory black dogs. As Black Tide, Caroline Clough's second novel and sequel to Red Fever opens, a disease known as red fever has decimated the human population, and turned some wild canines into vicious packs of roaming cannibals. Moreover, some of the human survivors have banded together into vigilante groups to terrorize and capture people like the Tennants. When a gang of these ruffians takes his father and sister for use by a madman known as the General, Toby knows he must rescue his family while avoiding raiders and man-eating dogs.
Clough excels at drawing readers into her post-acolyptic vision, suspenseful plot, and likeable characters. Based on the author's vivid descriptions, one can sense the desolation of the ruined country as well as the pervading cold and hopelessness. Fortunately, though, the fast-paced yarn and relatable protagonist refuse to let readers get caught up in despair. This story will appeal to both girls and boys; Although Toby possesses skills and courage, he never seems superhuman and expresses a ralistic mixture of bravery and confusion. Toby is aided by a teenage girl named Tash, who can tame animals, cook just about anything, and wears a wolf pelt. Refreshingly, the interplay between the two quickly develops into friendship, without a hint of romance. While Toby performs more of the heroics, they both respect each other's abilities during their adventure. Toby's connection to his family...