Cover Image: Land of Fences

Land of Fences

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Member Reviews

This is the third book of Mark Smith’s Wilder trilogy and it continues the story of Finn and Kas who  have been enjoying a more relaxed time at the beach, however this changes when the lights start to flicker and a radio signal comes up with a message - is life going to return to normal and what will this mean for each of their futures? What follows is both exciting and captivating. I found Mark Smith’s writing style easy to read and the story line flows with just the right amount of descriptive section and fast moving events. The characters are well developed and believable. An excellent read not just for young adults but for all who enjoy dystopian stories.
Highly recommended read.
Thank you to Netgalley and publisher Text Publishing for a copy to read and give an honest review.
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Finn and Kas had been lulled into a false sense of safety in their small coastal town which now held only them and the elderly Ray. Along with Rowdy, Finn’s dog. Surfing, fishing, diving – enjoying themselves. Until the day the truck arrived, demanding anyone who had survived to turn themselves in. JT and Daymu had joined them before the truck’s arrival, weak and exhausted after their escape. Finn knew they needed a few more days for the two of them to build up strength, but they didn’t have the luxury of time. 

With Kas and Daymu still wearing trackers – Siley’s could never escape – Finn knew they needed to get away. But their escape was foiled. Their capture was particularly hard as the girls were separated from the boys and Finn and JT knew they were in trouble. Taken to two different compounds – a long way apart – the future looked bleak for them all. But Finn and JT were determined to escape – any opportunity and they’d be gone. But could they? The soldiers were brutal, their cruelty knew no bounds. 

Would Finn and JT manage an escape and be able to rescue the girls? 

Land of Fences is the 3rd and final in the Winter Trilogy by Aussie author Mark Smith, and I’m very sad it’s over. A brilliant set of dystopian young adult novels set in Australia, the intrigue and mystery along with the electrifying pace is captivating. Thoroughly enjoyable, Land of Fences is one not to be missed. But this is a trilogy that must be read in order to appreciate the ongoing story. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Text Publishing for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a thrilling final episode and marvellous conclusion to this excellent ya dsytopian series by talented writer Mark Smith.

Kas, Finn and Ray have enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful summer in Angowrie. While Ray tends the veggie gardens and looks after the cooking, Finn and Kas have enjoyed swimming, diving for seafood and hunting. However, when Ray fixes an old radio they hear a broadcast telling them the country has been divided into regions they know there days of peace and solitude are numbered as the regional commissioner will start rounding up everyone to move into settlements. When two old friends, Daymu and JT turn up and tell them that their old enemy Ramage has been made Commissioner of their region with the ruthless and cruel Tusker at his side, they know they must leave for somewhere safer to hide. As Sileys, Kas and Daymu would be sent back to slavery if caught by Ramage. Unfortunately, during their escape their worst fears are realised and they are captured by Ramage's troops. Kas and Daymu are sent to work in the factories and farms at the regional centre in Wentworth, an area surrounded by security guards and fences. Finn and JT must now not only escape Ramage and Tusker but also find some way to break through the fences if they are to have a chance of rescuing the girls.

Mark Smith has written a wonderful trilogy that is bound to become a classic high school read. There is plenty of action throughout and particularly in this final episode, with strong, brave and resilient lead characters and sensitively handled relationships. Highly recommended, not just for young adults but older readers as well.
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I've loved Mark Smith's first two books in the Winter trilogy, and the third, Land of Fences didn't disappoint. What a relief! I've become nervous about third acts, however Land of Fences brought more thought-provoking, nail-biting action in the lives of our brave adolescent survivors. The battle to escape the emerging regime in a virus-riddled society, choosing who to trust, encountering old enemies, and discovering that there are often two sides to a tragic story. Set against the beautiful but harsh Australian landscape (which almost becomes it's own character), the futures of our heroes will finally be decided. Can there be peace and happiness in such chaos and disaster?

Great recommended reading for our Year 8 -10 students who love adventure, relatable Australian settings, and mature plot points (no fluff here!).
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A short and snappy book, that was consistently fast paced.

The main characters even with their flaws are likeable, and I kept rooting for them the whole book. I also enjoyed the focus on the plot, and how the characters dealt with it.

The themes explored (friendship, death, asylum seeking, equality) were dealt with in a manner that really caught my attention well.

Rating: 4/5
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I've been very invested in the survival of Finn, Rowdy, Kas and Ray. I've been rooting for them since the very beginning of The Road to Winter, the first book in this series. This book is what I call a hook book, a book that gets young men reading, I have a bunch of Yr 11 boys at school who are hanging out to get their hands on this one, I was really pleased to get an advance copy from Netgalley. 

The story picks up with a marvellous opening scene of Finn and Kas swimming in the rockpools and surf of the bay, there is a great sense of happiness and calm and the love between these two is so beautiful to read. Then this is shattered immediately as they become aware of the advance of troops to their town who declare it uninhabitable and out of bounds. The team are on the run again but get caught almost immediately and transported to a processing centre where they are tagged with trackers. Of course nothing is as simple as that. Finn's mortal enemies Ramsay and Tusker are still causing him trouble and this time they mean to take him out completely. They are now in positions of power and have the backing of the new regional powers. This is disastrous for Finn and Kas.

Like both of the other books the action is full on in this, there is a lot going on, daring escapes through dangerous ground, terrible hunger and thirst and constant fear. Through all this we have the wonderful love of Finn and Kas, their protectiveness for those they become involved with along the way and lots of scary moments as they fight to regain their land and home.

I've so enjoyed this series. I'll continue to recommend it to students and keep buying copies, we currently have 5 of each of the previous books and they are hardly ever on the shelves.
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The Land of Fences is the third book in the Winter series by award-winning Australian teacher and author, Mark Smith. For some months, Finn, Kas, Ray and the dog, Rowdy have been living, in a world now so different, an idyllic existence: hunting and growing food, swimming and surfing. They know it probably can’t last, and when Ray puts batteries in the portable radio, they hear an “official” broadcast: Authorities have organised the area into zones, and appointed leaders. Power seems to be sporadically restored, and Kas worries her subdermal Siley tracker will soon again be functional. 

When two friends, made during the previous winter’s skirmishes with the Wilders and the No-landers, arrive, the news they bring is not good. Wilder Ben Ramage, the man certain to hold a grudge against them all, has been made the Regional Commissioner of their zone, with his deputy, the hated Tusker and the support of the Army. Kas and Finn, J.T and Daymu know they need to leave Angowrie before they are flushed out. 

But their escape doesn’t go according to plan, and Finn and J.T. find themselves separated from their Siley girls. Help comes from unexpected quarters, but against sound advice, they decide to travel to Wentworth to mount a daring rescue. It will involve a long trek to the hub and close calls with pursuers before crossing seemingly impenetrable boundary fences. 

Smith’s trilogy beautifully illustrates that, even in a first-world country, an apocalyptic event can result in opportunists seizing power by force. And when that apocalyptic event depletes the numbers of the defence forces, those opportunists might be appointed by virtue of that position and use it to make arbitrary decisions that affect the lives of their opponents: corruption at its basest level. Do right and good eventually win out?

Smith’s young protagonists are often surprisingly mature, and while their youth provides energy and resilience, their lack of life experience occasionally means they misplace trust and make poor decisions. At seventeen, Finn recognises this: “It seems my life since the virus has been a string of quick decisions. I never know whether they’re right or wrong until things either go pear-shaped or they don’t. Mostly they’re guesses. But I’m getting better at making them.” Readers will find it hard not to invest in these characters.

Smith gives the reader a fast-paced finale to this excellent YA trilogy. Finn and co are clever and resourceful, brave and loyal, and very determined. Again, this last installment has heroes and villains (and, yes, some violence), humour and heartache, and plenty of excitement. It may be branded Young Adult, but it is certain to be enjoyed by older readers as well. An excellent conclusion from this talented author. 
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing.
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