The ice caps have melted. The coastal areas we once knew are gone, and only scavvers now live in the flooded towns. The world has changed, but as 14-year-old Danni Rushton soon discovers, it isn t the first time... Living with her uncle after the tragic death of her parents, Danni s world is turned upside down when her aunt is assassinated. With her dying breath, she entrusts Danni with a strange, small rock. Danni must not tell a soul that she has it.
But what is the rock for, and to what lengths must Danni go to keep it safe? This action-packed adventure takes the reader from the barren terrain of Greenland, to the flooded ruins of Cambridge, and on to a sinister monastery in Malta. In her effort to save her uncle and evade a power-hungry space agency, Danni discovers that friends aren t always what they seem, and a rock isn t always just a rock...
Kate Kelly was born in Scotland but grew up in Devon. She studied Geology at Dundee University and then Oceanography as a post grad at Southampton. She now works as a Marine Scientist. Her interest in these subjects has inspired many of the themes in her writing.
Kate has written all her life and has had a number of science fiction short stories published. Her debut novel Red Rock is published by Curious Fox.
As well as writing Kate is a keen hill walker and is fascinated by history and archaeology.
She lives in Dorset with her husband, two daughters and assorted pets.
When Danni's aunt returns from a mission to Mars she just has enough time to hand Danni a mysterious rock and make her promise to keep it hidden before she is assassinated. Danni's world is turned further upside down when her uncle is taken into custody by the Mars Exploration Agency (MEXA). Forced into hiding and desperately searching for answers Danni's journey will take her from Greenland, through the remnants of Cambridge and across Europe to Malta and Italy. Danni must find out what the rock she was given is for and just why MEXA is so desperate to get their hands on it but who can she trust to help her?
I was intrigued by the idea of Red Rock as soon as I read the synopsis, a world where the melting icecaps have caused widespread flooding is scarily believable and I was very curious about the mysterious red rock that Danni's aunt asks her to keep hidden. The story does make you think about the long term effects of climate change and how that could effect us in the not too distant future but I was really hoping for more information about how the changes had come about and what effects they had caused across the planet. We do get to see first hand the damage in certain towns like Cambridge but I didn't feel like we ever got the impact of a full global meltdown. I think I found it particularly hard to believe how easily a 14 year old girl was able to travel across not just one country but all the way from Greenland to Italy encountering hardly any problems. I guess I just expected travel to be a lot harder if the flooding had caused international problems. I enjoyed Danni's adventures and the book was certainly a page turner but I did have to completely suspend belief and learn to just go with the flow in order to enjoy the story.
Danni herself is a great character, she is very naive but I think that was believable considering her age and I admired her courage and determination to find out what had happened to her uncle. I was surprised at how easily she trusted the people she met along the way though, especially considering everything that had happened and the advice her aunt had given her before she was murdered, but again I put that down to her age and naivety. This story is aimed at the younger end of the YA spectrum (around age 10 and upwards) and it shows, I think most adults and older teenagers will have trouble believing how easily everything fits together and will spot a lot of the twists coming which is slightly disappointing. The concept for the story is great but unfortunately it just missed slightly for me, there were so many things that could have been expanded upon or added to increase the tension and I was sad that things were wrapped up so easily in the end.
Red Rock is a story with a lot of potential, I think it is one that will work really well for younger teens and there is certainly plenty of action to keep them turning the pages but I'm not sure how well it will work for older teens and adults. It was a very quick and easy read that raises some interesting questions but doesn't quite go into enough detail to open up a big debate on climate change. If you're looking for a fast paced story with some interesting concepts behind and are willing to suspend belief then it would be worth giving Red Rock a try.
Received for review. Thanks Curious Fox... Red Rock is a UK Young Adult Sci-Fi which I recommend for "roadtrip" fans, it's really got those elements clear & also, if you ask me, UKYA-ness is clear too!
Actual Rating: 4.5 out of 5; It was amazing
I'm grateful for this opportunity but it hasn't altered my opinion in any way; I just truly believe this is a 4.5 book (in other words an amazing one). The sense of place, particularly, is outstanding. I feel like this book has such strong elements of this that, in fact, it could have been written to show people that there are very interesting places outside of America. There's so many places in England mentioned, Greenland and as it says Malta, sinister monasteries et al. I was so interested by it all, whether (like on page 82) I knew the places that were travelled (oh yeah, I know East Anglia, Cambridge is one of them!) or I was completely unaware of a place's appearance outside of the description given in this book.
Trigger warnings: death of a parent (in the past), death of a family member, violence, explosions.
I picked this up because a) it sounded super intriguing and b) it's not often you come across YA books with a 14 year old protagonist and I thought it might be a good one to recommend to younger YA readers.
And while I loved the concept of this, I think ultimately it just wasn't long enough to deal with things in any sufficient level of depth. I mean, this is a fraction over 200 pages and in that time, we jump from England to Greenland to England to Malta to Italy to Greenland. Like...that's a lot of travelling and a lot of adventure-y stuff to cram in when you also have to set up a dystopian world and introduce a whole host of characters. So I wanted to love this. But ultimately, it was just too short and so it came out at a middling read.
Parts of the book had some good moments, especially with setting up how the world looks far in the future when global warming has melted the ice caps. While it was very short on scene description, there were a few places where the author managed to hit me with how terribly global warming and climate change had ravaged our planet.
Unfortunately, I find the good stuff ended there. I found the book very easy to flip through, and not because I couldn't wait to see what happened next--half of it was to get it finished and the other half was because the plot was simple and predictable enough I knew I wouldn't miss much when reading faster. The characters fell flat to me, and the romance I could see coming from miles away.
I really enjoyed this. I think it would be suitable for 12+ I was searching for something cli-fi, adventurous and with a bit of a twist —and it delivered. It’s an easy story to follow and the author’s scientific background makes for a more believable storyline.
If I am honest, I'm not a great fan of books with a disaster, 'end of civilisation as we know it' scenario. In my teens I hoovered up vast quantities of these from War of the Worlds to Day of the Triffids, and absolutely loved them in my typical teen enjoyment of misery, but as I've grown older I have become increasingly fond of it all ending happily ever after. I think my problem with disaster books (and films) is the cavalier way that millions are slaughtered by the author. We are expected to feel connected to the main character, who usually miraculously survived, but I am always kept at a cold distance, because I am so sad for everyone else, the bit part players who are killed off for the sake of the scenario.
This meant I was a little nervous coming to Kate Kelly's young adult novel Red Rock, as this is 'cli fi' - fiction based on the world being transformed by climate change, and on the whole that's a pretty disaster-laden scenario. I needn't have worried - although the backdrop is of civilisation crumbling in the face of climate change, the storyline is pure action thriller with plenty of mystery and suspense, which soon distracted me from any concern about the fate of the world.
The main character, Danni, is beset by a host of problems, left on her own (or at least with a stranger) in an attempt to escape capture and understand more about the mysterious object (not unlike the one in the hands on the cover) given to her by her dying aunt. The tension rarely gives up for long - this is one of those excellent stories where the reader accompanies the MC on a race against time and the odds.
If I have any complaint it's an unusual one for me - there is not quite enough description. I felt this particularly when Danni visits both Oxford and Cambridge, cities I am very familiar with, yet I was never given enough to know where she was. Particularly irritating was the way she has find the library of a Cambridge college, but we aren't told which. But any frustration from this is washed away as the action pounds on.
Particularly good for a young adult novel is the way that there is a 'bad' character who turns out to not be all bad. For those familiar with that epic of Australian art, Neighbours (what can I say? my children made me watch it), I've always been rather impressed by the character Paul Robinson, who despite being a long-running baddy is at the same time very caring for those who are close to him, and has moments of genuine thoughtfulness to season the self-centred, grasping ruthlessness. Similarly, Red Rock has a character (I won't give it away by saying who) who betrays a friend but then more than makes up for it.
The other surprise was that I rather liked the climate change backdrop. It is never heavily laid on, but both the sad remains of Cambridge, under water when the tide is in, and the casual decay of coastal towns is beautifully handled. It is never trowelled on, but really gives a feel for the depressing reality of a future where climate change is unchecked.
Overall a book that works both as a good, page-turning thriller and one that makes you think.
I want to begin by saying that "cli-fi" is a nice concept, and I think Ya/Middle Grade fiction would benefit from more of it. Red Rock, being the offshoot of both Cli-Fi and Dystopia, means its especially readable by the masses. I think it would serve as a good "introduction" to grittier thrillers for 9-12 year olds.
Glancing upon the cover (as my friend did) you may presume this novel is about "some stone" that fell from "some planet". However within those white pages, hides a story about ancient civilizations, a nefarious space agency, and betrayal. The latter of which, I think we saw coming from the start.
"yes, my rock," said Robert, taking up his camera and walking round the table, lining up shots of the skeleton. "I found that further down the valley. But now we've got the whole thing thanks to you"
Red Rock when it came down to it, was a globe trotting treasure hunt. One that took us to many locations, and gave us many sights. This aspect of the book really highlighted what is one of the main focuses of the story. How Danni's world (once like ours) was turned upside-down by climate change. Gladly, Kate Kelly wasn't too "preachy", and this subdued message didn't gnaw away at Ms. Rushton's tale.
Tie-ing in with my point above, there is one thing I wished Red Rock contained extra of. And That thing would be robust descriptions. I really wanted to get "In" to a world flipped over, and Kate Kelly's descriptions didn't provide me with enough info to do that.
This being my introduction to cli-fi, I think I really like this genre. It would be interesting to see what other genre's you could mash this up with. Cli-fi/steampunk anyone? One thing is for sure though, Red Rock is great great for the kids
"Red Rock" is a Climate Fiction (CliFi) thriller for the 10+ age group. This is Kate Kelly's debut novel and she has chosen to write in an area in which she's qualified, lending an authenticity to her science. I think that children reading this will think it's cool that she has degrees in Geology and oceanography, and works as a marine scientist.
Primarily, I think that the novel will interest girls more than boys because the main character, Danni, aged 14, is a very "girly" girl who likes wearing hats and has an exceptionally sweet nature. As an adult reader, I found her niceness and sense of justice refreshing and rather endearing, although a lot of children reading now would probably prefer a more flawed teenager, carrying loads of angst and baggage, or someone who is a bit more of a tomboy. I think she's a good role model, but then I would as a parent and grandparent.
It's a novel that grew on me with each page I turned, as the writing got stronger and stronger, gathering pace with a satisfying conclusion. I liked the element of romance. The baddies could have been more scary. Maybe I would have liked to "feel" Danni's emotions more. The reader is told that she's afraid, angry, sad, or whatever, but I didn't experience these emotions with her. Maybe I'm expecting too much and can't remember how much of this sort of thing that a 10+ reader wants.
In summary, this is a sound debut novel and I would read another book written by Kate. For 10+ readers who enjoy a good plot with a sense of setting, but not too much description or scariness, and nice heroines, then this is the novel for them.
Orphaned Danni is handed a secret by her dying aunt, assasinated soon after she returns from a mysterious trip to Mars. From that moment on Danni is on the run for her own life and the surviving members of her family. The puzzle of that secret, the red rock, has to be solved. In an adventure that takes us across Greenland and Europe, Danni has to rely on her own determination and ingenuity to survive.
Red Rock is a fast-paced thriller set in the near future where rising sea levels have drowned low-lying cities. Scavangers roam the fringes of a nation that is threatened but still survives, and the border between government and multi-national corporations is increasingly blurred.
Kate Kelly has written a very enjoyable young adult SF story full of imagination and invention. I'd have liked to spend more time in some of the places we visit but there iss more to this enjoyable book than simple adventure. The young protagonists are conflicted, beset by moral as well as physical dilema and this is nicely handled, and bravely resolved.
Really enjoyed this novel that’s based on a chillingly plausible, some might say inevitable, scenario - the melting of the icecaps and all that would mean to our civilisation. Full of atmospheric descriptions of a flooded world, this is a real page-turner that moves effortlessly from the wastelands of Greenland to the academia of Cambridge. The feisty heroine Danni battles against her grief at the loss of her parents and aunt but knows that she has been given the key to defeat a rather nasty psychotic villain. Would make a great present for a young teen but make sure you get it wrapped straight away and don’t get tempted to read it first!