Secrets of the deep and bizarre beings in Riverkeep by Martin Stewart

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, children's books, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


When Wulliam’s father, the Riverkeep, is attacked by a monster from the deep which takes over his body, Wulliam is desperate to save him. Abandoning the piece of river his father has kept his whole life he starts to journey down the river through land he has only heard of to find the Mormorach, the legendary and magical beast that could cure his father. But he’s not the only one looking for it, nor the only one on a journey, and William’s trip turns out more colourfully than he ever would have imagined.

For me, this book seemed to have two very clear sections. The start was fairly slow, fairly tedious world building, telling us much too much information about the Riverkeep and the river etc etc etc. It was fairly dull, dark and dense. Then suddenly Wulliam embarks on his quest, and everything starts being faintly ridiculous and completely bizarre. In an enjoyable way – but it was just totally unexpected!

I have a feeling it might be my fault though. Because I wasn’t hugely hooked on the start of the book I think I may have read it very slowly, and only moved onto the more exciting part after quite a long time. But it still felt like it started as something trying to be dark and serious, then moved onto being fun and funny too.

When it got funny, I liked it a lot more. There were suddenly more characters everywhere, and we got more than one viewpoint. There was a huge inventiveness; from a crazy mother cradling a wooden baby she wanted to bring back to life, to a straw man stitched together from all sorts of things and others I can’t quite remember. But it became a lot more fast paced and a lot more fun!

So in the end I quite enjoyed it, though I felt as though I didn’t perhaps quite understand how everything fit together, and am not quite sure why there was such disparity between the beginning and end of the book. I can only assume it’s a set up for a longer series, because otherwise all the facts about the riverkeep felt superfluous.

It probably is a series, and I feel like there’s a lot more of the world to explore and explain, but as a stand alone though it’s fun it felt a bit weird.

Thanks so much for the review version of this book, I was very curious to read it and look forward to discovering more.

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