Jenny Moyer’s Flashfall had a premise that reminded me of Red Rising, one of my favorite books, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on it. I wasn’t disappointed. I definitely got vibes of both Red Rising and The Hunger Games from the opening scenes and the initial situation, but I’m also glad to say that this story really did have something new to offer fans. There is all the rebellion, action, and adventure I crave, but there is also a fresh storyline with some unexpected developments. I gave Flashfall four stars, but the more impressive endorsement is that I have had a hard time keeping it in my classroom library. I recommended it to one kid, and I haven’t seen it on the shelf since – word of mouth has kept it in high demand. I’m really surprised there hasn’t been bigger buzz about this one, so if you missed it when it published in November, it is worth your time to check it out.
Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.
But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.
Orion is a strong female protagonist with an admirable goal and a strong protective drive for the people she loves. She is easy to empathize with, and she is flawed enough to be believable. The relationships in the story are engaging, and the romance is developed slowly enough to feel right. I think the biggest draw for readers, though, will be the fast pace of the story – the action is pretty constant and the threat is real. While I feel like the overarching world building is a bit fuzzy – I never quite understood exactly why Orion and her family were being used to mine this particular substance, or even where or when the story was set – I was still quite happy to just enjoy the story. I will definitely be on the lookout for the sequel. Fans of dystopia won’t be disappointed. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+, but adult readers of YA can enjoy it as well.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.