The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross

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I am almost finished with the second book in the series, which is titled 'Revenge of the Zeds' and my review will be up by the end of the week. Whilst you're waiting why not check out my review of the first book: 'The Soterion Mission' . . . 


In a post-apocalyptic world where no-one lives beyond their teenage years, the mysterious Roxanne arrives in Cyrus’s village, fleeing the barbaric Zeds. She claims to be on a mission that can save them all, but can she be trusted? Cyrus joins her in her quest for the legendary Soterion, but the Zeds are determined to get there first.
                                                                    (Synopsis from Amazon UK)

I am a firm believer that dystopian fiction has an important place amongst the Young Adult genre. Having read all the bench mark dystopian novels such as ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’ along with their counterparts I think that dystopian fiction allows the reader to evaluate society.

‘The Soterion Mission’ is another one of those thought provoking novels.

I will admit that getting into the book was a little slow going. I put this down to a combination of lethargy from finishing a tough semester of University, the freak summer the UK is having and the fact that I was a little dubious with how fast the plot seemed to be developing.

However I am happy to report that once I got a little over a quarter of the way through the book I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen. The pace of the plot soon came into it’s own. The action was fast paced and the way in which Ross left certain sections with cliffhangers just helped me keep turning the pages in anticipation.

I thought the concept of the post-apocalyptic world was the novels strongest attribute. I am so used to reading about different ‘districts’ and ‘factions’ into which people are placed that, for me, it was refreshing to read about a world that had become more splintered. Although in ‘Soterion’ people have collated themselves into settlements you get the distinct feeling that life in Ross’s dystopian world things are a lot more isolated than in those of Roth’s and Collins’.

What really sold this story to me was the representation of how different types of people would react if faced with a world where the knowledge of ‘the long dead’ (as the people pre-apocalypse are named in ‘Soterion’) has disappeared. The reader is presented with the peaceful constants, who try to live in a way the long dead would have in a world where knowledge has dwindled to nothing. Then there are the violent Zeds, a barbaric troupe of mostly uneducated brutes who believe in nothing but torture. These two highly contrasting groups raise the questions that dystopian novels have been asking since the publication of Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. If left to fend for themselves in a world where there is no education or knowledge of what life was like before how exactly would humans end up? Would we all try and emulate the people that came before us in hopes of one day finding the missing information that will restore society to normal once more? Or would we turn to savagery because in the end it would be a case of the strongest win over the weakest?

Those questions are why I believe dystopian novels hold such an important place in Young Adult literature, because it poses those types of questions to the next generation of people that will be running our societies in the future.

‘The Soterion Mission’ is a fast paced, action packed, young adult novel. I believe that boys and girls alike will lap up the story because of its mixture of action and well represented relationships. The dynamics between the main ‘mission’ group made the characters likable and the way in which Ross has written about enduring friendship and loyalty really hits home with the bittersweet ending.

Maybe it’s because I am slightly older than the intended market and also because being a University student I am used to analysing books to within an inch of their life, that for me it is the message underneath the friendships and the mission that Roxanne, Cyrus and co are on that resonates after finishing ‘Soterion’. It is the message that there will always be the knowledge out there for society to progress or return to where it was, there just needs to be someone out there who is willing to fight for it.

My Rating: 7/10

This is my first review as part of the new Curious Fox review team. They are an exciting imprint who publish great books for young readers ranging from age 8 up to 12+.


Write comments
Stewart Ross
17 September 2014 at 18:18 delete

Many thanks, Callie. Wise and perceptive and interesting. The string of cliffhangers arose because the book originally appeared on line, with readers voting at the end of each chapter for what happened next!