Back in February, I reviewed No Man’s Land, a post-apocalyptic thriller, set in the UK, aimed at the younger end of the young-adult reading range. Now I’m reviewing The Drowning Day, a post-apocalyptic thriller, set in the UK, aimed at the younger end of the young adult reading range. Both are published by a small UK imprint, Uclan Publishing. Both are excellent pieces of fiction.
What Is The Drowning Day?
Britain: The near future. Sea levels have risen, flooding great swathes of the country. Technologically, we have taken a step backward. People have fled to the high ground, living in walled enclaves. They only allow “Wetlanders” to live there when the tides are at their highest.
Now the tides are rising again. Wetlander Jade must flee the village in which she lives, but what about her aging grandpa? He won’t be able to make the trip. Instead, he gives her a keepsake. A treasure that might help Jade find her missing sister. When Jade loses the treasure, after being mugged by some “feral” children, she faces a choice. She can head away from safety to try to reclaim the single link to her sister or press on to find safety within the walls of North-Hampton. It’s not hard to guess which she chooses.
She travels with a mysterious friend, Bates, who says he knows the ferals and can help her persuade them to return what she has lost. This sets Jade on a journey that will make her question everything she knows about ferals, her family, and the world around her.
Why Read The Drowning Day?
The Drowning Day is a comparatively short novel, a very personal story in a wider dystopian world. This is not a story about solving the world’s problems; it’s about doing the best you can in difficult circumstances. It’s a story that demonstrates why it’s important to question your assumptions. It’s a novel about refugees and pariahs and why it might be in the best interest of those in power to exaggerate negative stereotypes about them.
I very much enjoyed Cassidy’s world-building. In terms of the area covered, we don’t see very much of this flooded Britain, but we glean elements of the wider picture, as well as exploring the town of North-Hampton and its social structures. As you could expect, “might is right” in this semi-feudal outpost.
The interplay between the novel’s three main characters works well. Through their eyes, we see not only the brutality of their world but also the small acts of kindness that make existence bearable. For every selfish person in Cassidy’s novel, there are at least two others who would give the small amount they have to help those in greater need.
On the surface, the Britain depicted in The Drowning Day is bleak and depressing, yet the novel is life-affirming and filled with hope. This is a book that teaches readers to look beyond commonly held conceptions, not to make assumptions, and to judge each individual on their own merit. It does this whilst telling a compelling story. It’s not a grand sweeping tale, but a small personal one that stresses the importance of family whether they be blood relatives or friends of circumstance.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of The Drowning Day, you can do so here.
If you enjoyed this review, do check out my other book reviews.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.