This futuristic inventive adventure tale mesmerized me from the beginning with its captivating protagonists, beautifully rendered landscapes, and provocative themes. I was not quite sure what to expect from The Girl In the Road, but my past reading experience has shown that I enjoy stories that often defy fitting neatly into a specific genre. I enjoyed the format of the parallel storylines while both set in the future but not at the same time, and the tension building in each of the storylines knowing not quite how but still knowing they will intersect at some point.
Meena awakes with snakebites on her chest, thinking someone is out to get her, flees Mumbai deciding to go to Ethiopia to find out the truth of her mother’s death. And since she does not want to be tracked decides to take the Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning from India to Africa. The only thing is the Trail has a mysterious aura of its own, and is a dangerous forbidden way. Mariama, a young girl is also fleeing her home in western Africa and joins a caravan of misfits going to Ethiopia. As one travels from east to west, and the other from west to east, both landing in the same place, now the new power center of the world is in Africa and energy is the resource fueling this shift of power. My only nitpick is that the storyline sagged a little in the middle, but it did pick again for a stunning ending.
Byrne’s has penned an impressive debut of two strong appealing female protagonists of color seeped in the richness of an impressive non-European worldbuilding environment.
I received a copy of the book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.