Suffering similar tragedies a world apart and forced to grow up before their time, Billy and Amber must find a new future, one beyond anything either of them could ever have imagined. Life was normal for Billy, living hidden in the bush with the last of his kind. Until the spirit of his mother told him in a dream to go Walkabout where the whitefellas live. Find some girls or watch his clan of men die out, ending the Dreamtime forever.
The Urban Hunters is like The Jungle Book set in Aboriginal Australia. When I saw the subtitle, “Billy’s Gotta Find Some Girls,” I knew I had to read it. I was pulled in from the first page by how vivid and visual the writing was. I was immersed in an entirely new and fascinating culture that was shocking, sad, beautiful and amazing. He dedicates this book to his nieces and nephews who “stared wide-eyed as I told them about Billy and Amber’s adventures” and I felt exactly the same way. I’ve never read anything like it. I was grossed out one minute, laughing out loud the next, and completely shocked by the sad and heart-breaking things that can happen to the Aboriginal people. I was a little stunned by how graphic some of it was (think rotting, maggott filled kangaroo type stuff), but I loved this book. Gary Taaffe did an excellent job of entertaining me and at the same time educating me on a different people and their way of life.
In Book 2, Tribal Scarring, it gets a little more serious than Book 1, Four Small Stones. I missed the light-hearted humor of the Book 1. Still, it was a nice contrast to see the dangers of living in the bush in Australia. I definitely felt some culture shock as I was reading about Billy and the rituals he goes through to become a man. The writing was intense and so well done. The author doesn’t spell everything out for you. He lets you discover this new culture on your own which I liked.
In Book 3, Walkabout, Billy goes into the “whitefella” culture for the first time and his culture shock is charming, honest and amusing. I loved the Australian lingo throughout the book. Some of the words I’d never heard before, but it wasn’t too difficult to figure out, like when he slides his “sunnies” (I’d call them sunglasses) to the top of his head. It helped me really get a feel for the culture. The story starts off a bit slow, but picks up with some more great gross-out hunting scenes that I loved from Book 1, but this time there are cute puppies. The humor had me laughing out loud in places, but mostly I felt myself smiling a lot at how innocent Billy is despite being able to hunt and live off of the land on his own at such a young age. Billy is a juxtaposition of seasoned warrior and innocent child that makes him incredibly easy to like. Overall, it was such a fun and entertaining adventure story.
Content Rating: High, because of some graphic tribual rituals, graphic descriptions of survival, frequent language (mostly the s*** word), but the language does mellow down towards book 3. Highlight between the brackets for more details about the tribal rituals. (Billy goes through a circumcision that is described in some detail and there a few d*** words.). I don’t feel like any of this content is offensive to me as an adult, but I wanted you to be aware of the content if you are not comfortable with your kids reading it.
I received this book for review from the author, Gary Taaffe, in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own.