Dystopian Duet - Long Dark Dusk and The New Order

May contain spoilers for book one. See my review here

Long Dark Dusk The Australia Trilogy Book Two
Written by James Smythe
Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published April 12th 2016
400 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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The moment she learned the horrible truth about her life on Australia, the derelict ship overrun with violent gangs, Chan Aitch made it her mission to save everyone she could from their fate worse than death. But her efforts were in vain. Now, everyone she cares about is dead or in prison, and Chan is more alone than ever before.

As the only person to have escaped Australia’s terrible crash-landing back to Earth, Chan is now living in poverty on the fringes of a huge city. She believes Mae, the little girl she once rescued on the Australia, is still alive , but she has no idea where Mae is, or how to find her. Everything on Earth is strange and new, and Chan has never felt more lost.

But she’ll do whatever it takes to find Mae, even if it means going to prison herself. She’s broken out of prison before. How hard could it be to do it again?
The Australia has returned to a ravaged Earth, fenced in large cities and towering walls that protect citizens from the desolate landscape and relentless climate. It's here where Chan works the slums after escaping custody, trying to find Mae after promising to keep the little girl safe. What lies within it's walls is an oppressive community, where newborn children are silence through back alley surgery and drug dependability ensures it's lowly citizens are kept complacent by those seeking power and notoriety. This isn't the Australia. It's far worse.

Selling stolen goods to local trader Alala and with the aid of underground exposé author Ziegler, Chan is determined to access the new arrivals database in order to find Mae. Chan plans on breaking into the heavily guarded Archives but not without consequence, Alala expects information in return for her services.

Nothing could prepare Chan for what she's about to endure. Yet again she'll have to fight for her freedom, fight to find Mae and fight to become the person she once was, the tough, determined girl who fell from the sky.

Kelly's Thoughts

The Australian series is one of the most explosive, enthralling and confident young adult series that pushes the boundaries of what we expect from our dystopian based reads. Long Dark Dusk continues shortly after Chan has disembarked from the Australia, and Mae torn from her arms. Still aching with grief of all she's lost, Chan is determined to rescue the young girl from captivity. Her only ally is underground reporter Ziegler, who teaches Chan about her new world and provides assistance in exchange for her story. With the aid of local trader Alala, Chan is now indebted to the ruthless merchant as she plans to access the Achieves where it is believed she will find Mae's whereabouts.

As on board the Australia, Chan will again need to fight against the oppression of her new world and her own sense of self. 

With so few words, James Smythe is able to create an incredibly vivid world of brutality and oppression. From the addict lined streets of the outer slums, to the opulence of the wealthy citizens and stark, desolate landscape beyond the city walls. It's breathtaking. Where Way Down Dark was fiercely brutal and raw, Long Dark Dusk has a quiet and ruthless determination, intricate and devious as Chan needs to navigate this world with cunning.

One of the qualities that sets the Australia series apart is how unpredictable it is. It doesn't rely on romance to further the storyline, nor does it follow the standard young adult format of instant love and overwhelming blocks of world building. Chan is a character who knows how to adapt. On board Australia it was fight or flight, but on the ground she's aware of how the new society works through observation of others. She knows she no longer needs to defend herself and although risking being captured, her life isn't being challenged by those determined to dominate. I love her. Fiercely.

Final Verdict

Buy it, read it, love it. A strong female character, intricate world building, a raw determination and written to perfection. The series is phenomenal.

May contain spoilers for book one. Read my review here.

The New Order The Young World Trilogy Book Two
Written by Chris Weitz
Survival, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Published April April 12th 2016
384 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
They thought they were the only ones left. They were wrong.

After the unexpected revelation at the end of the first book, Donna and Jefferson are separated. Jefferson returns to NYC and tries to bring a cure to the Sickness back to the Washington Square tribe, while Donna finds herself in England, facing an unimaginable new world. Can the two reunite and prevent an even greater disaster than the Sickness?
Their world was desolate, run by the gangs of New York City where only teens remain free from the sickness. After finding what may be a possible cure offshore, the group of survivors now find themselves on board a Navy vessel heading for what may be a fate worse than the streets of New York. Those on board want to question Donna, Jefferson, Brainbox and the American survivors are questioned and assessed while the group learn that the world has survived and thrived in their absence. 

Confined and monitored, it soon becomes apparent that the authorities have no intent on rescuing those left behind to await their fate. Within the crew on board lies a group of covert mercenaries who are willing to return the group of recused teens to New York in the hope of administering the cure and unite against the cause. But when the group attempt to escape it's Donna and Jefferson who are separated, Donna left behind to ensure the survival of both their allies and rivals while sacrificing herself for the cause.

While Jefferson unites the New York tribes, Donna is sent to a surviving Cambridge England, at Trinity college where she will be given a false identity and migrated back into society. Lies, manipulation and agendas will separate the young group of survivors in world that is merciless and unforgiving. 

Kelly's Thoughts

In a world reminiscent of a brutal colony run by gangs, it's always been kill or be killed. A plague wiping out adults and children, leaving the teen population to inherit a now broken New York. Segregation runs rife, gangs are challenged for their supplies, weapons and space. In The New Order, our young group of protagonists have been rescued from the island with a possible cure and now find themselves on board a Navy vessel, still unaware to the state of the rest of the world.

As the storyline progresses, the readers learn more about the new world through multiple points of view. Luckily each point of view has a unique voice and spans across the globe, especially Donna and Jefferson. Jefferson is working with the Patriots who have an agenda of their own beyond saving the New York teen population, while Donna is sent to Cambridge and begins to migrate into college life. New friends, exploring her surroundings while having the occasional drink with her new friend in Rab. In The Young World, I found Donna's character likable but in the latest series installment she's incredibly annoying.
"Who in the what, now?"
"Say what?"
"Within the what?"
"Tutor? Am I, like, that dumb?"
Well now that you mention in Donna, although she didn't start out that way.

With her new Valley Girl persona, Donna's new surroundings seem to have little purpose to the actual storyline overall. Luckily those chapters are offset by Jefferson, who I enjoy much more as a character despite being incredibly straight laced and wise beyond his years. I would have loved to have heard more from Peter's character, who for me made The Young World much more enjoyable.

The Final Verdict

Overall, I did enjoy The New Order but the series may have benefited from being a duology as much of the content felt unnecessary. It was Jefferson's point of view that intrigued me most and the only progression within the storyline. I was thankful that the pop culture references were few and far between, but I still feel as though the storyline is clinical and a little too cliche. It needs more emotion to be able to invest in it's characters and their plight. Looking forward to the series finale, but still with some reservations.


  1. Long Dark Dusk, (I literally got tongue-tied trying to say this damn title lol) sounds so freaking good! I seen your review on Goodreads for Way Down Dark, and I need it like NOW! I don't read enough Dystopian as it is, and it's quite shameful because I always enjoy what this genre has to offer. Even though it's pitched as " for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent " I absolutely love how the story goes into it's on lane, instead following the mold of both popular titles. Like come on, Australia is set in freaking space!! Let me hop my ass over to amazon to see if this is available in my country!

    1. It's truly incredible Tika, I'd put the series in the same realm as The Hunger Games and it's far superior to Divergent. It's tough dystopian, incredibly gritty and kick ass. It's one of those books I recommend to everyone. It's on par with Illuminae for my favourite read of last year. That's how incredible it is.

  2. I wish I could get The Australia series on the kindle. I don't like reading physical books, but damn, I may have to cave.

    1. It should be available on Amazon Christy as it's not actually an Australian author. It's well worth purchasing book one, it's one of the most incredible dystopians I've ever had the privilege of reading.

  3. Ahhh the second book in The Australia Trilogy is out and I still haven't got around to reading Way Down Dark - I'm getting so far behind :-| So many books, so little time!!!!!

    1. You still have plenty of time Sarah, or even still, you don't have too long a wait until book three is out too and you can binge read the series. It's one of my all time favourites and I can't wait to see what you think of it.

  4. I really enjoyed Way Down Dark so I need to get my hands on Long Dark Dusk soon! I heard that the third book is actually coming out later this year so yay for less waiting! Glad to hear that Chan remains awesome, as she was my favourite thing about the last book. Aentee at Read at Midnight

    1. I believe it is Aentee, it can't come soon enough. I loved both installments, but Long Dark Dust is a quieter and more intricate book, not any less brutal though. It introduces you to the world on the ground and what Chan now has to do to just survive. Gosh I love her, she's one of the best characters I've come across in young adult.

  5. I recently read Way Down Dark and adored it, it was so dark and perfect as a dystopian. A completely new take on a genre I thought had been overdone. I most certainly need to read Long Dark Dusk (it's sat on my shelf gathering dust) especially after your review. I loved the character Chan and I want to read about more of her.

    1. I loved her too Becky, wasn't she incredible. Fierce but with such heart. I think you'll adore this one too, it has a different feel than Way Down Dark but still brilliant nonetheless. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.


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