Yes, you’ll be drawn into the exploits of Cash in Escape to Ash Island, by J.H. Lucas. His journey features a burning house, abandonment and a concentration-camp-style barracks. Then, there’s escape — to a place that may not even really exist.

Along the way, there’s a strange sense of hope, paired with impossible good luck. Who would believe it, if it wasn’t written right there?

The tale is an amalgamation of so many of the stories we’ve imagined before — all gathered into a YA dystopian fantasy world, bent on providing us with all the hardships that will best ensure the destruction of our band of characters. But, they survive.

There’s much more to the story than just an orphaned kid, in search for a place to call home:

  • Science Fiction: There’s an ever-constant sci-fi fix there, with the cyborg-like Red Enforcer, the super-secret experiments, and even the “Feeler” tech.
  • Search for Promised Land: They’re in search of the mythical island of Calitopia. It’s that impossible journey against overwhelming odds.
  • Community: Like Lord of the Flies, the characters are all thrown together in a place beyond imagining. They learn to work together, but it’s also about sacrifice.
  • Faith & Hope: Interspersed throughout is the mention of a prophecy. From the beginning, we know that Cash was born to save the world.

It’s a “first” for J.H. Lucas — spun in a way to remind us of The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and a hundred other works of dystopian fiction. But Lucas is also telling a story that is very uniquely his own.

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