Book Review: Landfill Mountains (2021)

Landfill Mountains by Rab Ferguson

Despite his lover’s protests, the prince begins to chop away at the first of many trees. He will clear this forest, and build a city upon the land: the greatest city the world has ever seen.

I was so excited to win this book! The cover instantly caught my eye and I really liked the theme of the giveaway. And talk about one amazing opener. Wow.

From the start, this book is absolutely engrossing. The prologue was so good I reread it twice. It hit me. It’s hard to describe. The writing is just so poignant. This book is as much a warning about the ravages of climate change as it is a story about love and connection and survival. In my mind, I kept going back to Mortal Engines, although this book isn’t steampunk the way Mortal Engines is. But I think the ruined, post-apocalyptic future where everything’s barren and horrible just reminds me of the Mortal Engines universe. But Landfill Mountains is a decidedly different tale, one that is cli-fi and post-apocalyptic, and as brilliantly well realised as it is brutal.

Oftentimes, I have a hard time sinking into futuristic settings and it takes me a few chapters to be able to imagine the landscape and the characters. But with Landfill Mountains, it was instant. I sank right into the horrifying wreck of a world the characters have inherited and it broke me from the start. I read the first fifty pages without pausing, which is again rare for me.

‘Back in the old days, when the air was not so hot […] when people lived in the city and talked on phones, watched television and worked in buildings that scraped the sky, there was a man who had a son. His son was not like the other children. He’d never once felt his breath tremble or his heart pound, he’d never been afraid, and he asked his father to teach him what fear was…’

There’s Joe, the MC, who lives with his dad David and his grandfather, the storyteller. Everyone who lives in the mountains has a nickname. Children are rare, everyone is starving, and each day is spent rooting through the rubbish heaps of generations-past that is all they have to live off of. Everything is mouldy, rotted, stale. Sometimes drifters pass through with cars powered by the final dregs of a battery’s charge. Joe’s world extends to his family, his girlfriend Sonya, and those of his community in the landfill.

Without spoiling, this is a simply superb debut from a new author that blends many genres together in a way that is both original and classic. I can’t wait to see what Ferguson writes next!

Thank you to the author for the ARC.

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