Review - Where the World Turns Wild

Hi! Double posts today, all part of the Where the World Turns Wild blog tour.

I've got a very special guest post by author Nicola Penfold, that I'll be sharing here. It's an excellent piece about journeys in literature, and I definitely recommend reading it. To keep things straightforward, I'm sharing my own review of Nicola's book in this post.

Also, don't forget to check out the rest of the tour! Some of my very favourite book bloggers are involved.



Where The World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold.


Where the World Turns Wild is middle grade dystopian fiction, which is something you very rarely see. This alone would have been enough to catch my interest, but it's also about rewilding, a passion of mine. 

The basic set-up of the novel is that the dying world has been deliberately sabotaged by climate change activists, essentially. They've introduced a deadly disease carried by ticks that has made most of the world uninhabitable. The last remaining people are locked away in cities with dead zone moats, where anything wild and natural is ruthlessly eradicated.

This is a fascinating premise. What if the cure for the planet is the near extinction of the human race? What would become of the world without humans in it? And what would become of the humans shut away from nature?

Well the answers are  just as fascinating. Most of the humans it seems readily accept this new way of life, and the story quite cleverly shows us how they are effectively indoctrinated and made to accept this as the new normal. Some of them just don't fit in though, they feel the need for the wild deep inside them. This is where Juniper and Bear, our main characters, come in. I felt that the depiction of the new society was really well done. Most of it we see from the child's perspective and obviously focuses on school life, but you can really see how control and influence happens in dystopian regimes at a very early age, which isn't something you actually see that often in this kind of fiction. That image of someone young growing up within such a regime is really quite a powerful one.

I really, really like Juniper and Bear. They are brave and scared, uncertain and ready to take risks. The love and affection they have for each other is just brilliant. Their journey together into the unknown wild is inspiring and beautiful. There's peril and hardship and there's acceptance and belonging. I love Bear's wildness and carefree nature, and also the pressure this puts on Juniper as she takes on responsibility for him. It's an interesting depiction of someone who's pushed into the responsible big sister/mothering role by outside circumstances.

I love the use of Ennerdale in Cumbria as the "promised land" they're journeying to. Ennerdale is the site of a real world rewilding project, and was clearly deliberately chosen for that very reason. This really ties it into our own world events, and also means that the destination for the children's journey is somewhere readers can maybe visit and actually see for themselves what rewilding efforts can lead to.

Where The World Turns Wild is brimming with love and affection for the natural world around us, and is a joy to read. It's a scary vision of a possible future, but one filled with hope too.

I'm giving Where the World Turns Wild 5 moons.

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Where The World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold is published on 6th February 2020 by Stripes Publishing. I was given an early proof by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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