by Emily Diamand

The Chicken House, $17.99, 368 pages

In the future, London is toast. There is nothing beyond Great Britain. Travel is limited to small skiffs and battle schooners. Computers are evil and tribal clans rule. Flood and Fire follows Raiders’ Ransom, written for young readers by lifelong environmentalist and Friend of the Earth activist, Emily Diamand. Two young protagonists – enemies – come together to save the prime minister’s daughter and reunite the remaining humans. Full of adventures, dilemmas, shifting loyalties, and a floating, bubble-headed Windows relic from the ‘bad days,’ orphan Lilly and young pirate Zeph must respect each other to save their world.

This adult reader was impressed with the author’s attention to contemporary elements becoming relics of the future, but found it difficult to alternate between the two narrator’s voices. Author Diamond creates a verbal language that is sometimes difficult to follow on the page, although her characters’ enthusiasm and focus drive the story to a satisfactory conclusion. Full of familiar icons and reminders from the recent turn of the century, this story series will remind emerging adults that the world will soon be in their hands, and they should face the future with the resolve of Lilly and Zeph – even when they can’t agree on what their future should be.

Bryan Burch