Earth’s Descent by Rachel Meehan, e-book, 217 pages, published in 2015 by Cherry House Publishing.
Nairne receives an unexpected letter that leads her to travel from Scotland all the way down to London. Ronnie accompanies her on the dangerous journey, the two of them leaving the safety of the community to face the unknown. They encounter mass death and disease, armed gangs and power hungry lunatics while they cross the vastly changed lands. Whole parts of the country are now under water, while the air swelters hotter than any summer before.
Earth’s Descent is the final installment of the Troubled Times series, which has highlighted the potential fall-out of climate change. Through increasingly erratic and extreme weather conditions, sections of land are now submerged, and whole towns destroyed. Masses of people have been displaced from their homes, have faced disease, starvation and thirst. And that’s aside from the threat of people who are making the most of the situation to exploit and control the weaker, the unarmed, the desperate. Meehan has created an highly viable and terrifying world where society no longer exists, where survival is uncertain because we, as inhabitants of Earth, failed to protect our environment and ignored climate change until it was too late to reverse the tide. I really hope we are not going to end up in Nairne’s world.
I actually put off reading Earth’s Descent for quite a while because I knew it would be the last of Nairne’s story, and I didn’t want it to end. Curiosity won out however, and I quickly dipped back into the devastated Scotland that is Nairne’s reality. I read the whole book over two, quick reading sessions, and I was sad to reach the end. It left me with a lot to think about afterwards too, mostly about what would happen to my family and friends if the climate deteriorated like that, and what will happen to Nairne, Ronnie, Paul and their community. What sort of future will they have? Would human society rebuild itself? Would the Earth recover? This series is extremely relevant to our current situation regarding climate change, and it affected me deeply. It will be a story that stays with me for a long time to come (and yes, it tempted me to stock up on long-life food and water!)
The plot is fast and full of action. This is the darkest of the three books, and reflects the desperation of the people that Nairne and Ronnie meet on their travels. There is violence and murder, intimidation and abuse. These are dark times for humanity and this comes through strongly in the story.
Nairne has been a wonderful character across all three books, and I liked her right from the start. She is strong, independent, smart and sassy. Ronnie grew on me, so that I liked him almost as much as Nairne. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Paul, and how he was progressing from his injury, but I did enjoy meeting some of the new characters that were introduced in Earth’s Descent.
Troubled Times is a touching, exciting series suitable for high school students and adults. It reads like a cautionary tale, if only we would learn from it. If you haven’t already done so, you should read the previous two books, Water’s Edge and Power’s Out first.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.