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Review of Hydrosphere Rising by Philip J. Rutherford.

Overview.

This book has a serious message within an exciting story. It is set in the future when, because we have failed to act quickly enough on climate change, the seas have risen by 5 metres and devastated the coastline of Australia, where the story is set.

Blurb

The year is 2120 and sea levels have risen five metres in the last hundred years. The coast is now also lashed by superstorms. Owen is a teenager who grew up on the flooded coastline of Australia. He sets out on a journey to find a missing marine biologist but is about to come up against powerful forces that will push his mind and body beyond their limits. Owen must battle both internal and external monsters to solve the mystery of Evelyn’s disappearance before these forces change the ocean forever and threaten the future of the entire planet.

Owen likes writing poetry (or he used to) but he’ll need to revive every last one of his poetic skills to find the clues that will guide him. Time is running out but why is poetry suddenly so important?

This book has used the latest topographic maps and climate science to imagine what Australia could really be like in a hundred years if climate change continues. It also explores the human response to these changes. What are the implications for the rest of the world?

Story

Owen is haunted by the disappearance of his older sister, and blames himself, although he was not in anyway at fault. This guilt leads him to go in search of his sister’s teacher who has disappeared.
What he thought was a straightforward adventure turns out to be something far more serious and threatening to the whole world.

Characters

The character of Owen is well-drawn. He is a young man of eighteen, with all the adventurous spirit of one of that age. He is a little lacking in confidence, though, due to the guilt he feels over his sister’s disappearance. It is because of this that he sets off to find Evelyn, her teacher. His character develops through his adventures, and at the end he has changed.

Owen is the main character, and there are few others as Owen is mainly alone on his boat.

Writing

Although nothing grammatically wrong with the writing, except for a few typos, I felt that it could be made so much better and stronger. With some tweaking here and there, we would feel much closer to Owen and the action.

Conclusion

I enjoyed reading this story. It kept me guessing all through as to where, or if, he would find Evelyn, and what he would discover when he did. I enjoyed the poetry, which gave the story an extra dimension, and turned out to be important in the end.
The twist at the end surprised me.
I give it 4* for the story, losing 1* for the writing.

Please add your comments in the comments box. If you’ve read this, or any books like it, what do you think of them? Do you think such stories help in the serious condition the world finds itself in?