The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

Four out of five stars.
Fully realized, non-cliché characters interact in a dangerous dystopic world. Fast-paced, exciting read.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m a fan of dystopia novels. I especially like them during autumn, when the weather gets brisk, the leaves turn, and the nights become longer. Some people like to read horror or ghost stories during the season. I prefer tales about disasters that could occur, especially ones we create.

The Salt Line, by Holly Goddard Jones is an ideal novel for those looking for a fast paced thriller in a dystopian setting. It even has tiny monsters to haunt your dreams this Halloween. In a futuristic U.S., the cities and states have shrunk to fiercely protected zones; with carefully selected, limited citizenry. Rings around each zone have been “salted,” or cleared, burned and chemically treated to kill and prevent the growth of any plants or animals. Why? Deadly disease carrying ticks inhabit the land between zones, and they cause an agonizing death.

Society remains starkly stratified in this futuristic world, and rich thrill seekers pay a fortune to leave the zone and experience wild nature in mountain settings. Specialized companies take carefully trained tour groups into the world outside the zones.

While nature provides significant threats, so do small enclave of outer-zoners; people not allowed into the safe zones. Equally dangerous are other groups of tourists looking for deadly thrills.
The novel blurb says The Salt Line is “in the spirit of Station Eleven…” but I think that it is much closer  to The Last One by Alexandra Oliva. Both novels provide a suspenseful game of attrition in a unique dystopian world.

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