Wednesday 11 September 2019

Final Storm

Final Storm by Deborah Abela, (Puffin Books), 2019, Pb, RRP  $16.99
ISBN: 9780143794462

Reviewed by Pauline Hosking

This is the third and final of Deborah Abela’s Grimsdon series. Isabella, Griffin and their friends exist in a reimagined civilisation after climate change has wrecked the planet. Since managing to survive in a flooded world (described in the second book) they have settled into the relative safety of  New City.

Before long their home is threatened by ever more erratic weather patterns. An organisation named Future World Solutions promises it can control the weather. But Isabella discovers that the man behind the organisation is their old enemy Byron Sneddon. Even worse, the person she believes to be a new ally is, in fact,  Sneddon’s son. After a series of escalating adventures, the son turns on his father, and the good guys triumph.

The story is fast-paced with many unexpected twists. The friends are action heroes who manage to overcome each potentially deadly challenge in the nick of time. There is no clear main character, which is unusual in a middle grade novel. Both Griffin and Isabella take centre stage at different times, concerned for each other and the future of New City. Especially poignant is Isabella’s desire to find her mother.

Some of the best writing describes the terrifying extreme weather events. Abela wrote the series because she was angry that governments around the world weren’t doing enough to combat climate change, and as a rallying cry for young environmental activists. I found it surprising, though, that her vision of climate change encompasses storms, winter weather and floods - not high temperatures and drought, which is something Australia is already experiencing. 

There maybe one or two moments of confusion for those who have not read the previous novels (e.g. the introduction of Matilda without any explanation as to what she is). Overall this is an exciting read for Grades 4,5 and 6.

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