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The Road to Winter

(Winter #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,021 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Alternate cover edition for 9781925355123

Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed wiped out his parents and most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his loyal dog Rowdy for company.

He has stayed alive for two winters—hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that co
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 27th 2016 by Text Publishing
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,021 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set sometime in future Australia, climate change has caused the weather to become wilder and the seas to rise and asylum seekers are doled out to farmers to work as slaves. When a virus wipes out a large proportion of humanity, a boy called Finn finds himself alone, after the death of his parents and the rest of his small Victorian coastal town, with only his dog for company. He has survived largely through catching seafood and rabbits, growing a few vegies and through rationing the dwindling st ...more
It had been around two years as far as he could work out, since Finn had been on his own with just his dog Rowdy for company. He and Rowdy made a good team, and Finn’s ability to trap rabbits and catch abalone and crayfish meant they ate reasonably well. But the danger of the Wilders finding them was always there. Since the virus had killed almost everyone in his little town, including his parents, Finn knew he was better off alone. The one thing which kept him sane was the occasional surf in th ...more
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
A simple storyline told in cleanly written prose. The freshness here came from the very interesting characters; young adults who are mature enough to understand their world, but still retain a certain youthful hopefulness.

There wasn't anything particularly new about this story, but I loved the way it was told. The main characters are very real and filled with life. I loved that even with the expected unkindnesses of a post-apocalyptic world, there were so many characters who still retained their
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Set in the small coastal town of Angowrie, The Road to Winter chronicles Finn's experience surviving after a deadly virus which has wiped out most of the population. His trusty dog is his only companion, as he hunts, cooks and fishes for survival.

I dislike blurbs that compare books with others', because it was nothing like Tomorrow When the War Began. It's more of a survival story where Finn stumbles an Afghani refugee called Rose which leads him to a mission to find her sister.

Through his mis
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Road To Winter is the first book in the Winter series by Australian teacher and author, Mark Smith. Finn Morrison is fairly certain he is sixteen. Apart from his dog, Rowdy, he has been on his own since his mum succumbed to the virus about two years ago. His dad, Tom died earlier from injuries sustained while helping to defend the supermarket from looters.

Finn is the only one left in the coastal town of Angowrie, and he survives on the rabbits he traps, the seafood he catches, the vegetable
Text Publishing
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ya, australian
‘Part dystopian-future novel and part survival story, this is a fast moving and enthralling page turner for young adults, set on the Victorian coast. I could not put it down.’
Bev Jacobsen, Library Co-ordinator, Campion Education Perth

‘A read-in-one-session novel. The recognisable coastal setting, a world catastrophically changed by a virus, asylum seekers used as slave labour, and the dangerous Wilders give rise to interesting issues for student discussion.’
Jan May, Teacher & Education Consultan
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loveozya, text
3.5 Stars.
The Road To Winter was a wonderful read that lured me in with it's premise and left me wanting more. Finn is a remarkable young man. Having lost his mother two years ago to the virus spreading across the country, his father passing as a result of a violent outbreak in town, Finn's only company is his canine companion Rowdy and the sound of the waves which beckon him. He's self sufficient, hunting, fishing and trading his fresh catches with a local farmer in exchange for fruit and veget
Trigger warnings: violence, death, murder, death of a parent (in the past), horrifying attitudes towards refugees and immigrants, medical crisis, (view spoiler).

I've been meaning to read this book for literally years now. And I liked it, but I also wanted more from it, you know? A lot of this felt like set up. It's not a very long book - barely over 200 pages - and so once you've done the worldbuilding and the character introduction, there's not a huge amount
Sharah McConville
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
'The Road To Winter' is set in Australia in the near future where a virus has wiped out most of the population. This action packed story follows 15 year old Finn, an orphan, and his fight for survival. I won Mark Smith's book though Goodreads Giveaways. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series when it is released later this year. ...more
Paula Weston
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an intense page turner! Even the quiet moments are infused with a sense of menace because the threat of the Wilders is never far away.

There are strong echoes of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, although this book is unmistakably Australian - right down to the speculation around where our nation’s attitude to asylum seeks may lead us. It’s not as bleak as The Road (a book I greatly admire), and there’s no cannibalism (so far!), but Mark Smith reminds us how easily our veneer of society might slip
Reader of Books
3.5 ⭐ rounded up to 4.

Probably another book not to read during the virus outbreak and that ending. *Screams in frustration!* Another book that leaves it on a wide open cliffhanger but at least this outright states it's book one to a series so there's that.

Gonna think about how to review this because right now: feelings. 😒🤔

rachel ☾
3.5 stars

I had no idea what to expect when I decided to pick up Road to Winter. All I knew about this book before diving in was that (1) it was written by an Australian author and (2) it was being pitched as ‘the next generation’s Tomorrow, When the War Began’. Both of those things appealed to me so I decided it was worth a shot… and I am so glad that I did! Since finishing this book I have heard a lot of meh things about this but I personally thought it was incredibly well-written novel, especi
Mar 08, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I dithered between four and five stars for this and landed on 5, yes I would read this again, pretty sure I'd enjoy it just as much next time too. I'll even read the next one when it comes out, that is something, I'm bad at series reading.

In a grim future Australia, where the seas have risen and then a virus has swept through, killed millions and pretty much wiped out the population - especially the women, life is very tough and lonely for 16 year old Finn. His family are all gone but left him w
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Brilliant! Australian young adult fiction at its best. 5 well deserved stars.

I won the 2nd book ‘Wilder Country’ in a Goodreads Giveaway and just had to rush out and borrow ‘The Road to Winter,’ the first in the ‘Winter’ series from my local library as I do not read a series out of chronological order.

Mark Smith’s debut novel The Road to Winter is a stark tale of country Australia set in the future where most of its population has been wiped out by a mysterious virus. The story follows Finn, a
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Post viral apocalypse survivor Finn has been living off the land for 2 years, alone with his dog avoiding the marauding Wilders. When a girl running from captivity stumbles across his path everything about his lonely yet orderly existence is thrown into chaos.

A fast, page turning, adrenaline ride tapping into all your lizard-brain fears and instinct for survival. The stakes are sky-high, the odds are dreadful, and the characters are immediately believable, relatable and engaging. The social com
Taut, tense, tight and textured. More post-apocalyptic, than dystopian.

MC Finn is a quality character to follow. His instinct for survival honed over two years of solitary, careful existence is safe but oh so lonely.

Rose changes everything.

Very much incomplete, with more books to follow.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised how much I liked this Australian dystopia/adventure YA novel. It features Finn who's survived with minimal human contact for two years--his parents died as a result of a terrible virus outbreak. He meets Rose who is running from some Wilders--cruel gangs who roam the country. He eventually meets Rose's sister and another hidden community of survivors. I can definitely see this novel appealing to those picky Hatchet fans looking for a novel of survival while also attracting teens ...more
Kiri Lucas
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finn is on his own. It's been that way since a mysterious virus wiped out huge numbers of the population and the survivors left town. He's learnt to be careful in order to survive and to avoid the Wilders, violent scavenger gangs who roam around. But then he meets a girl called Rose who is trying to escape from the Wilders and Finn has to figure out if his own survival is more important than helping someone else.

I love dystopian fiction. As a bonus, this one is set in Australia - I love Australi
L.M. Justus
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book, really well written! It reminded me a lot of the Ashfall series by Mike Mullin, so if you enjoyed this one, you should try that series or vice versa. Can't wait to read book #2 but I guess I'll have to, won't I? :) ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-to-review
(I received a copy from Netgalley, In exchange for an honest review.)

This wasn't an awful read, but unfortunately, it struggled to keep my interest. There were parts of this that dragged because of it, and I spent a lot of it feeling quite bored. It just wasn't one that gripped me, which was a shame.

Overall, Not awful, but not one I loved.
Renae Nae
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars! I read this book as I wanted a new novel for my year 9 English class who aren't exactly enthusiastic about reading, especially the boys.

I did a lot of research and stumbled across this novel. It ticks plenty of boxes since firstly it’s Australian, secondly has a male protagonist and thirdly contains plenty of action.

The author Mark Smith wrote the novel wanting to engage teenage boys. I really think he’s hit the nail on the head. I look forward to reading the next in the series and
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book took me by surprise. I was expecting another tired,formulaic dystopian novel and what I got was a well-written, thoughtful and genuinely engaging story populated with vivid and interesting characters.
Finn is a boy living on the edge. After his family, most of his coastal town and indeed it seems Australia, has fallen to a devastating disease, he survives. A loner before the pestilence, Finn has adjusted to his new life with his dog, Rowdy, killing his own food, growing some, and tradi
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems almost unfair to posit this book in relation to others given it's such a strong standalone story, but I am an apocalyptic aficionado so here we go. Think of this as a grimmer 'Tomorrow When the War Began', or a young adult interpretation of 'The Road' or even 'The Walking Dead'. It's exciting and incisive – and all yours to enjoy. ...more
Tilly Booth
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although The Road to Winter has been compared to Tomorrow When the War Began I must say...this book is in its own league. It's a fast read with a range of diverse characters and give you a new look at a broken world.

It's set in Australia (woohoo!) on the coast where a young boy lives with his dog (THE DOG IS OKAY GUYS). He surfs, he catches fish, he's living the dream - well the dream for a country that was wiped out by a pandemic leaving groups of wilders and outlaws to roam the country taking
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: proof-copy, 2016
This book is pitched as Tomorrow, When the War Began for a new generation but unlike the Tomorrow series, this book just fell kind of flat for me.

It was written well but it just didn't grip me. For me it felt like it didn't have enough explanation as to why things were they way they were. And I'm assuming there will be more books so that could obviously be fixed up as it often is in series.

Oh and I have to say the at the start I got some Maze Runner and 5th Wave vibes which is probably why it
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This book gave me serious vibes of Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I found this to be a very quick read even though some of the chapters were a bit long. Over all I enjoyed it, though I didn't realise until about 10 pages till finishing there was no way it could wrap up nicely. yupp its another series that I am not 100% sure I want to commit to. I probably will try the next book though :)

Check out my full review here:
Kylie ward
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. This book really fell short for me. I was so excited about this. I found that the book wasn't all that well developed. I wanted to know more about the virus that had killed so many. And the antagonist I found extremely lame. There was no big twist or scary antagonist or really much of a fast passed engrossing read. It was just an alright read for me. Not a huge fan ...more
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, sf, australian
Smith carefully builds a slightly different world, with some thought-provoking commentary on refugees that is both insightful and heartbreaking. These are small, deft touches that make a difference to the way the book comes across, and work very well.

Read the rest of my review at READING TIME.
Jayne  Downes
A really exciting book set in a dystopian Australia where a virus has killed off most of the population and gangs of thuggish Wilders roam enslaving and killing. Sixteen year old Finn has to survive on his own. This book is going to be very popular with teens.
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Mark Smith lives on the west coast of Victoria, Australia, where he writes, surfs and sometimes even works. The Road To Winter and Wilder Country are the first two instalments of the Winter Trilogy. The final book, Land Of Fences, will be released in early 2019. Wilder Country won the 2018 Australian Indie Book Award for YA. Mark is also an award winning writer of short fiction. In 2015 he won Aus ...more

Other books in the series

Winter (3 books)
  • Wilder Country (Winter, #2)
  • Land of Fences (Winter #3)

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