Rogue – A.J. Betts – The Vault #1 – Pan Australia – Published 26 June 2018
There was no going back; there was no choice, anymore. I’d chosen out and this was it: hot-cold, dry-wet, bright-dark and lonely.
Hayley has gone rogue.
She’s left everything she’s ever known – her friends, her bees, her whole world – all because her curiosity was too big to fit within the walls of the underwater home she was forced to flee.
But what is this new world she’s come to? Has Hayley finally found somewhere she can belong?
Or will she have to keep running?
Rogue is the second book in the two book dystopian series, The Vault. As the follow-up to Hive, Rogue took the world of Hive and blew it wide open. With the same curious and ever-searching main character and even more incredible descriptions of the surrounding landscape, Rogue gives readers and Hayley the answers they were searching for in book one.
Hayley had so many questions and when the son gave her the option to leave her confined life behind and explore what else was out there, she took it. Now, Hayley finds herself in a place she never could have imagined, with new creatures, landscapes and rules. But she can’t forget the people she left behind, and, as she learns more about this new world, she isn’t sure if she should let her old world go or if she should share her new-found discoveries.
Once again A.J. Betts totally delivers on the descriptions and the way in which she builds the story and landscapes that encompass it. Now outside the confines of her old world, Hayley has so much to discover. And while the Australian landscape and creatures described may be familiar to most readers, it is seeing it all through Hayley’s eyes that is really cool. It is totally believable that Hayley has never before heard of the ocean or the sky or stars. She discovers these things alongside her new friend. I loved Kid. Loved his enthusiasm and kindness. He was a great addition to the story.
As well as expanding Hayley’s world, Rogue also gives readers some answers about the place Hayley was born and raised, as well as the condition of the wider planet earth. Set in the future, the reality is an all-too scary portrayal of both political and climate changes. As a result, Rogue is the perfect discussion starter for important topics of refugees, governmental control, population control and regulation, the environment, plants, animals, extinction, family, and relationships. Hayley, and the reader, can’t help but compare this new Earth to the contained world Hayley left behind, and the reader, alongside Hayley, must ask the question of which is better, or perhaps less wrong. I did enjoy the ending though, and thought it was the perfect ‘get out of jail free’ card. Giving no right answers, yet still providing a fulfilling and satisfying ending. There are still a lot of things left unanswered, which while leaving gaps for the reader remains true to Hayley’s perspective as the narrator and doesn’t provide details she would not know.
Rogue is best read after first reading Hive, and this two-book series is both compelling and unique.
Category: Young adult fiction
Genre: Science Fiction – Dystopian
Themes: Community, society, future, animals, bees, friendship, population control, Australia, seed vaults, nature, survival.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Published: 25 June 2019 by Pan Australia.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 368 pages.