by Martin Stewart (Penguin) ISBN: 9780141362038
With his sixteenth birthday fast approaching, the last thing Wulliam wants is to take up his family’s mantle of Riverkeep, burdened with the lonely task of taming an uncontrollable force. Yet his chance at a stable future capsizes when his father is pulled into the depths and possessed by a dark spirit. With the only known cure supposedly hidden in a sea-beast called the mormorach, Wull must embark on a treacherous journey that will require endless patience, courage, and trust in an unlikely group of travelling companions.
If Stewart’s intention was to copy characters and scenes from The Wizard of Oz and stick them onto a Moby Dick-inspired backdrop, while trying his best to mimic the style of Patrick Ness, it seems he was successful. Unfortunately, the result is about as disastrous as you’d expect.
Characters that might have been charming are lost in a sea of meaningless mini-quests and plot twists that left me either disinterested or frustrated, and I couldn’t help but wonder on numerous occasions whether the author was trying to make me fall asleep.
Perhaps this book’s greatest downfall is that Stewart can’t quite master the lightly entertaining yet powerful writing style his epic adventure tale demands if it’s to keep young adult audiences interested. Overall, this was simply a dull read.