Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 07 Jun 2024

The Deadlands: Survival by Skye Melki-Wegner

The Deadlands: Survival is the final instalment in what has become a hugely popular and exciting series of novels for the young adult market. Here at The Letterpress Project, we reviewed the previous gripping episode (here) but it would be useful to reprise some of what I said then to give you some context because this is, after all, a book packed with rather unusual protagonists. What I said in the previous review will, perhaps, help:

“What you need to know is that the famous asteroid strike that is credited with bringing about the precipitous end of the dinosaurs, didn’t, in this reality, end them all. Those that survived found themselves ‘benefitting’ from fall-out that gives them language, logic and….warfare. Tribes, or kingdoms, emerge that battle it out for survival with two of these groups surviving – one for the herbivorous and one for the carnivores.

In the middle of this life-or-death battle for survival, a motley group of five dinosaurs who have been cast out of their herbivore tribes are trying to find refuge in the unforgiving wilderness and they also want the answers to some troubling questions about how the war between carnivores and herbivores is being conducted.

They are led by the reluctant Eleri, who is an Oryctodromeus and not by instinct the bravest of herbivores. He, and the rest of the group of five, are convinced that some conspiracy is afoot that will result in the carnivore kingdom overwhelming the herbivores and they desperately want to find the evidence.”

Well, against all the odds, the unlikely band of five deal the Carrion Kingdom a devastating blow and find their evidence of treachery and now they are heading back to their own kingdom to reveal the truth. There are only two problems: the defeated carnivores are on their trail and want bloody revenge and their own tribes (from which they were originally exiled) might also be keen to do away with this troublesome quintet.

Eleri the Oryctodromeus proves himself to be a brave and honourable leader – he’s compassionate and loyal in a world where such qualities seem to be in short supply. Treachery seems to be endemic and Eleri’s potential nemesis turns out to be his own brother, Agastron who is determined to savour the pleasure of seeing his exiled brother meet his end. Indeed, Agastron now has his own investment in the corruption that has kept Cretacea in a worn-torn mess – he’s become the leader of his tribe following his defeating of the Prairie Alliance and it’s a status he doesn’t want his brother’s evidence to jeopardise once the details of a dastardly plot to keep the war going are revealed.

With the evil machinations of Agastron on one side and a vengeful army of carnivorous beasts on the other, how can Eleri and his faithful companions survive the final showdown?

Well, I’m not telling you because you’re going to want to read it for yourself.

Available now from Walker Books, you will be able to get a copy from your local independent bookshop – who will, of course, be happy to order you a copy if they don’t have copies on the shelf.


Terry Potter

June 2024