Release Date: 3rd September 2015
One day Meena gets out of bed covered in blood, with mysterious snakebites on her chest.
Her worst fears have been realised: someone is after her and she must flee India at once.
As she plots her escape, she learns of The Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run. This is her salvation.
Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS system, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, Meena sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.
But as she runs away from the threat of violence she is also running towards a shocking revelation about her past.
I can certainly say I have never read a book like this and I probably won't read a book like it again. I suppose it is impossible to say what genre this book is, it covers so many things. It is futuristic, it spans Africa and Asia, it features quite a bit of sex, some not for the faint of heart, it has violence, it has a dual point of view, it has a young woman exploring her sexuality, I could go on.....
Meena wakes one morning covered in blood with a snake bite to her chest, she fears for her life. Someone wants her dead, she makes the decision to run. She is going to run to the place of her birth, Ethiopia.
The whole logistics of getting there are tricky, she could go by land which would take weeks or she could travel by the legendary Trail across the Arabian sea.
The Trail is an energy harvesting bridge, extremely dangerous but it could be her ticket to freedom. The getting to it is easier said than done but as she fears for her life, Meena sets in to motion her escape plan.
On her way to her starting point she becomes convinced she is being followed, she keeps seeing a barefoot girl. She isn't sure if she is hallucinating or whether this girl is real but she knows she needs to get going and leave India as soon as possible.
Any good journey needs supplies and what Meena gets to take with her is incredible, delights include some super uber Kindle/Ipad thingy, a camo pod which is for sleeping and can be submerged in the event of bad weather, fancy desalination equipment, tongue scrapers and some interesting diapers! All of this packs in to a handy waterproof backpack.
Making her way to the trail requires a wet start as she has to swim to the head of it and this is where the book really comes in to its own, the trail is a practically alive as it rolls and moves with the waves, Meena struggles to get her sea legs and has to crawl to stay on top of it. This where her journey truly begins.
As she makes her way along the trail and meet the people who call it their home, we also start to learn more about Meena and who she is running from, this leads to one big massive WTF moment but of course I won't spoil that for you.
Along with Meena's story we also have another POV from Mariama, a young girl in Africa whose story is destined to meet with Meena's, now this part of the story always confused me a little, I know it was there to give a back story almost but I felt more engaged with Meena's story than this one.
However this did not discourage me, this book has such vivid imagery which gives it such a wow factor, the mix of high tech gadgetry with traditional Indian customs is a wonderful combo. Meena is a character you will either love or hate but she does have spirit and you will be right with her till she gets to the end of her journey.
A great read.
Thank to Blackfriars for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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