As difficult as it is to believe, it’s time for Fiction in 50 for September – that’s right, September. I hope, as well as planning your Fi50s, you’ve also got your end-of-year shopping on the go already because there are just under 14 weeks to go until Christmas.
Scared you there, didn’t I?
I also figured that out using a handy little site called Weeks Until, which has a tool for you to figure out the waiting time until any date you like. Nifty!
But back to Fiction in 50 business. To participate, just create a piece of fiction or poetry in fewer than 51 words and then add your link to the comments of my post on Monday. For more information, just click on that snazzy typewriter at the top of this post. Our prompt for this month is…
See you there!
I feel like I’m doing well on my Mount TBR Challenge so far. My aim was to knock over 12 books from my TBR shelf that I phsyically owned before the first of this year and to date, including today’s effort, I have managed to complete all the books from my original list!
This is excluding The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I decided not to finish, but including Hester and Harriet, which hadn’t arrived by the time I took this photo. So hooray for me! This means I will be able to add in a few extra contenders to make it over the #12 mark by the end of the year.
But let’s get on with today’s book, The Riverman by Aaron Starmer. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Alistair Cleary is the kid who everyone trusts. Fiona Loomis isnot the typical girl next door. Alistair hasn’t really thought of her since they were little kids until she shows up at his doorstep with a proposition: she wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into the mind of a potentially troubled girl. Fiona says that in her basement, there’s a portal that leads to a magical world where a creature called the Riverman is stealing the souls of children. And Fiona’s soul could be next. If Fiona really believes what she’s saying, Alistair fears she may be crazy. But if it’s true, her life could be at risk. In this novel from Aaron Starmer, it’s up to Alistair to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality.
Ten Second Synopsis:
Alistair doesn’t really know Fiona too well; despite the fact that she lives down the street, they stopped hanging out when they were about seven. When Fiona chooses Alistair to be her biographer and tells him a story that is, frankly, unbelievable, Alistair will have to decide whether to risk believing in the unbelievable, or investigate what might be really going on in Fiona’s life.
Time on the TBR Shelf:
I ordered it from the BD on the 3rd of February, 2015 so it’s been on there since a week or so after that.
Purchased from the BD.
Reason I haven’t read it yet:
Sheer laziness. Plus, it felt like it might be a hefty read. So again, laziness.
- I found this to be an extraordinarily good example of YA magical realism. Or fantasy. Both, really. The story is complex and deftly woven and you are never sure whether Aquavania exists or whether it’s Fiona’s coping mechanism.
- Even though the book deals with some grown-up issues, making it more appropriate for upper-end YA readers, Alistair is a perfectly authentic twelve-year-old protagonist, showing that combination of bravado, indifference and bewilderment common to kids of this age.
- There’s a twist regarding the Riverman that was so unexpected as to be inexplicable – but this was okay because (a) it leads nicely into the second book and (b) it reinforced the atmosphere of confusion relating to the whole “is Aquavania real?” question.
- The narrative style was absolutely engaging and provided a thorough exploration of the main characters, as well as the motivations of various others in the town. I was super-impressed by how tight the story was and how expertly it had been put together.
Less Impressive Bits:
- I can’t really think of any parts of the book I personally didn’t enjoy, but looking at it from another perspective, some readers may find the gaps in between the “fantasy” parts of the story too long.
On reflection, was this worth buying?
Absolutely. In fact, in no time at all I will procure the second book in the trilogy, The Whisper, and no doubt leave it on my shelf for a year or so, just for old time’s sake.
Where to now for this tome?
Straight to the permanent shelf.
If this has whetted your appetite at all, I will have another Aaron Starmer title for you next week – new release YA tome Spontaneous, which came to us with a free splatter jacket. There might also be a giveaway to go with this one, but keep it under your hat!
This is another chink off the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted by My Reader’s Block.
Until next time,