The Dirt Walkers, by David Joel Stevenson: A Review

Just about a year ago, I reviewed David Joel Stevenson’s book The Surface’s End, a young-the-dirt-walkersadult dystopian story. I gave it four stars.  I’ve just finished the sequel, The Dirt Walkers.

Sequels are notoriously difficult, especially if the author did not plan a series from the beginning.  (As I as a writer know, being nearly done the first draft of the sequel to my own book Empire’s Daughter.) The Dirt Walkers continues the story of Jonah, the boy from the wildlands, and Talitha, the girl from the underground city, as they move toward the consummation of their relationship; as well, the story considers the inevitable tensions created for the community and for Talitha as they adjust to each other, and especially the aftershocks and consequences of Talitha’s defection from the underground community.

For those readers wanting to know more about what happened to Jonah and Talitha, the book serves to tell that story.  But in comparison with the first, which I described as ‘compulsively readable’, The Dirt Walkers pales.  Too much of the story is told to us, rather than shown in the actions of characters, and some of what I saw as the more important aspects – Talitha’s culture shock, for one – are glossed over, mentioned but not really dealt with.  Perhaps because more of the action of the story is concerned with what is happening underground, not enough attention is given to the people of the wildlands.  Talitha and Jonah are almost minor characters in this book, and I found the easy resolution  (I can’t say more without spoilers) difficult to fully believe.

Overall, I’m giving The Dirt Walkers three stars.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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