Title: The Elephant Mountains
Author: Scott Ely
Publisher: Orca 2011
Genre: YA dystopian/survival
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: A to Z Authors: E
How I Got It: ARC from LibraryThing Early Reviews Program
Global warming and an unprecedented series of hurricanes have put New Orleans and most of the low-lying areas of the South underwater. In the chaos and anarchy that results as cities and towns are abandoned, fifteen-year-old Stephen is suddenly left to fend for himself. He soon encounters Angela, a college student whose parents have been killed. Navigating the labyrinth of flooded fields and towns in an airboat, the two set out in search of Stephen’s mother and higher ground. Armed with both guns and the skills his survivalist father has taught him, Stephen struggles to maintain hope and his humanity in the face of violence and desperation.
An interesting plotline, but I think the book failed to live up to the promise. I love dystopian/survival literature. I think it has to do with my love of zombies. But really any survival stories are right up my alley. I started this book seeing the scary potential future. What Ely predicts could happen. Hurricanes and global warming could rise the waters enough to swallow a lot of the low-lying southern lands. New Orleans would be toast. Florida would disappear. And the rest would be under varying amounts of water. People would have to flee to higher ground or attempt to ride out the water. Anarchy and chaos would reign if it happened quick enough. I bought all of the environmental changes. I bought the desperation the changes brought. I could imagine all this happening. Those parts of the book rang true.
Unfortunately, the characters fell flat. Stephen, while the most interesting character, seemed lost; as if he didn’t have a personality apart from the “not quite a man” status. I couldn’t quite connect to his inner struggles. Angela started as an interesting character but quickly got lost. She portrayed herself as a devout Christian, but then that aspect fell away. I would have liked more consistency with the character. And everyone else was only in the picture for a few pages each. We met someone, shared a few stories, and then they disappeared or were killed. I get that it is supposed to be a fairly solitary journey, but I would have liked to spend a little more time with some of those characters.
Overall, an interesting premise. But it didn’t quite follow through. I would recommend to fans of dystopian/survival literature.