Sunday, July 4, 2010

Anna Mackenzie

Ebony Hill by Anna Mackenzie (Random House)
ISBN: 978-1-877460-48-7 RRP$ 19.99

From above the gardens that stride in wide stairs up the hillside, I look out over the wreckage of a world I'll never know. Vidya, the city of Devdan's promises, is all and more and none of what I expected.
For all that Dev told me before we left Dunnett Island, I had no scale to fit his stories around. The bared and broken skeletons of buildings sprawl across the heart of the old city, scarred concrete gradually giving way to a creeping carpet of green. Flags mark off the sites that are unstable or toxic, while the dark stain of fire is all that remains of the housing that once cloaked the hills.

Two years after escaping from Dunnett Island Ness still doesn't feel she belongs to Vidya and its people. Her only tie to her past, Dev, seems to regard her as a lovesick puppy. When Ness is asked to move to the country she feels it is to babysit new boy Ronan but realises it might give her a chance to find a place where she can fit in. She also wants to see if tilling the land is where her skills lie or whether it is working in the medical field. She tests both out on Ebony Hill becoming an important member of the team especially when they are attacked.

Anna Mackenzie's prose reminds me of Robin Hyde's writing - descriptive with wonderful use of figurative language. Ebony Hill is a coming of age story that would appeal to teens and young adults. It is the powerful and gripping sequel to the Sea-Wreck Stranger; a finalist in the 2008 LIANZA Children's Book Awards - Esther Glen Award (Fiction), Sir Julius Vogel Awards – 2008 Joint Winner, Young Adult Novel Category, NZ Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults – 2008 Honour Award, Young Adult Fiction Category and CLFNZ Notable Books List 2008.

Mackenzie, Anna (1963 –) writes fiction for young adults. She is a full-time writer with a background in public relations and publishing. Anna's first novel, High Tide (Scholastic) was published in 2003 and was listed as a Notable Book by the Children's Literature Foundation of New Zealand. In the Herald, Margie Thompson wrote that ‘Mackenzie has a terrific feeling for dramatic pace, and for the emotional and physical landscape her beleaguered teens are stumbling through.’ Her second novel, Out on the Edge (Longacre, 2005) explores the lives of two teenagers, one the victim of violent abuse, the other totally together – until their lives collide. 'This is an excellent piece of work from an emerging writer - well-written, intelligent, in character and perfectly pitched for the intended reader. Highly recommended!' (Reading Time)

See an interview with Anna Mackenzie on and download a Teachers' Resource


Anonymous said...

Love the book coudn't stop reading. When i finished i went outand bought the sequel

anna mackenzie said...

Third book of the trilogy coming soon... June 2011!