Beyond Carousel, by Brendan Ritchie

The house isn’t powered like Carousel. Pretty much nowhere is. But it has a line of solar panels on the roof and two summers worth of power stored in the batteries. Enough for showers, air conditioning, pool filters – anything we want. Except for lights. Never any lights.
At night we shuffle the long hallways with tiny reading lights tucked into our belts and pockets, our voices hushed and careful against the manic drone of insects outside.

Nox, Taylor and Lizzy have escaped the confines of Carousel, where they were trapped for months.Now they are holed up in an empty house in the hills, resting while they figure out what to do next. most of the population of Perth has vanished in the same event which saw them trapped inside the Carousel shopping centre. Now that they are out they are trying to piece together what has happened and what they should do next.

But while they have found a temporary haven, they are far from safe. There are other people roaming the mostly abandoned city, and packs of wild dogs stalk them. There are also problems with food and water supply and, of course, the fear that they are stuck this way forever. Then they discoevr that time is running out to get everything sorted out.

Beyond Carousel is an action-packed sequel to Carousel, and would is bets read after the first, though could possibly be read on its own.The premise and the way it plays out create lots of intrigue and plenty of action.

Good stuff.

Beyond Carousel, by Brendan Ritchie
Fremantle Press, 2016
ISBN 9781925164039

Carousel, by Brendan Ritchie

‘We almost got a door open today,’ Taylor said.
Lizzy and I looked at her.Carousel
‘What do we do if it opens?’ asked Lizzy.
‘Get the hell out of here,’ said Taylor.
‘Doesn’t it depend on what’s out there?’ I asked.
‘What do you think is out there, Nox? Zombies? A nuclear holocaust? You’ve heard the noises. We have to go out there,’ said Taylor.
I stared hard at the floor and wondered why the idea of a door opening freaked me out so much.

Nox doesn’t really understand how he’s come to be stuck inside Carousel shopping centre with only three companions, nor what has happened to the outside world. But it’s where he is, and it’s become a disconcerting kind of new-normal. His fellow residents are Canadian musical duo Taylor and Lizzy, and teenage Rocky, each of whom seems to cope with their containment in their own way. Their seemingly endless days of containment become a mix of figuring out how to survive, how to entertain themselves, and how to escape. Then there’s the dilemma of what they will do if they do escape. They have no contact with the outside world, and no idea what has happened out there and why are the ones who have survived. As time passes, though, they do have a growing need to find out.

Carousel is an absorbing young adult read with a dark edge. The four protagonists are, to their knowledge, the only survivors of some sort of apocalyptic event, but they have no way of knowing how true this is, and whether the disaster has just wiped out Perth, where the shopping centre is located, or if perhaps the whole world has changed.

The story is told from the first person viewpoint of Nox, a university graduate who has studied creative writing but hasn’t fulfilled any writing ambition, As such, it is Nox who we get to know best, but as the novel progresses the stories of the other inhabitants also develop. Readers will be absorbed by their predicament and intrigued by the mystery of what has happened and why they are there. The ending hints at a possible sequel, but the story stands satisfyingly on its own.

A strong debut novel suitable for teen readers.

Carousel, by Brendan Ritchie
Fremantle Press, 2015
ISBN 9781925162141

Available from good bookstores and online.