Feast of Ashes

Feast of Ashes

By Author / Illustrator

Victoria Williamson



Age range(s)



Neem Tree Press Limited




Paperback / softback




The Earth's ecosystems have collapsed and only ashes remain. Is one girl's courage enough to keep hope alive in the wastelands?

It's the year 2123, and sixteen-year-old Adina has just accidentally killed fourteen thousand seven hundred and fifty-six people.  Raised in the eco-bubble of Eden Five, Adina has always believed that the Amonston Corporation's giant greenhouse would keep her safe forever. But when her own careless mistake leads to an explosion that incinerates Eden Five, she and a small group of survivors must brave the barren wastelands outside the ruined Dome to reach the Sanctuary before their biofilters give out and their DNA threatens to mutate in the toxic air.

They soon discover that the outside isn't as deserted as they were made to believe, and the truth is unearthed on their dangerous expedition. As time runs out, Adina must tackle her guilty conscience and find the courage to get everyone to safety. Will she make it alive, or will the Nomalies get to her first?



Adina lives in Eden Five, a sealed man-made environment following an environmental catastrophe. With only garden levels above ground, she spends her days as an apprentice techie, mending the systems that keep everyone alive. Free time with her family, in their small unit, is claustrophobic and fraught with tension. Kept inside by the dangerous environment and tales of dangerous Nomalies, there is not much to look forward to apart from the possibility of a relationship with a handsome gardener.

When Eden Five is accidentally destroyed, along with nearly all its residents, Adina and the few survivors attempt to reach Eden Seven with meagre rations and facing the surprising and revelatory perils of the outside world.

Feast of Ashes is a gripping book from the beginning. Adina's character is at times unlikeable, due to her treatment of her half-sister, which can be described as cruel. A welcome change from most characters in books, Adina is at times selfish and mean, whilst also displaying the usual demeanours of a teenager with colleagues, friends, and family.

The premise of the book is extremely fitting for our times, with the threat of climate change, and although it seemed there would be more to the creation of the Eden housing, I was surprised at the twists and revelations. Adina's reluctance to learn the truth about Eden Five and the company that built the sanctuaries could be likened to the world today, with government-led teaching and controlled media. It also highlights the impact of global greed and the ramifications of allowing corporate members to influence or gain positions of power.

The author ensures that we are invested in the other supplementary characters that Adina escapes with and keeps the pages turning with events as they struggle to cross the land. Set in the African continent with an all-black cast and female main character, I found the book a welcome change, with the cast names reflecting African culture. Although I felt Adina's actions to be frustrating at times, I feel the author reflected a teenager's guilt and angst well following such a catastrophic event, coupled with her protectiveness over her sister and hatred towards her half-sister. As we learn more about Adina's life and family, her actions, although inexcusable, become understandable.

The book diverts in an interesting manner towards the end and without any spoilers, leaves the reader wanting more. The content throughout is mild in the respect of language or violence, with only a couple of instances that could be deemed difficult to read due to the graphic descriptions. Teens interested in science fiction, dystopia and action will enjoy this book.

334 pages / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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