Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Review: Riverkeep

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Danék is a wild, treacherous river, and the Fobisher family has tended it for generations—clearing it of ice and weed, making sure boats can get through, and fishing corpses from its bleak depths. Wulliam’s father, the current Riverkeep, is proud of this work. Wull dreads it. And in one week, when he comes of age, he will have to take over.
Then the unthinkable happens. While recovering a drowned man, Wull’s father is pulled under—and when he emerges, he is no longer himself. A dark spirit possesses him, devouring him from the inside. In an instant, Wull is Riverkeep. And he must care for his father, too.
When he hears that a cure for his father lurks in the belly of a great sea-dwelling beast known as the mormorach, he embarks on an epic journey down the river that his family has so long protected—but never explored. Along the way, he faces death in any number of ways, meets people and creatures touched by magic and madness and alchemy, and finds courage he never knew he possessed. 

I received this book as surprise book mail one day, I opening it up to see two scrolls of paper tied up with twine. Intrigued I quickly failed at unknotting them and then just flailed about until I had freed the paper! One was a letter with information about the book, the other a fancy little map of the world of the book. Even more intrigued I turned to the proof. The front of the proof lists a fair few others as well as books such as The Wizard of Oz, and my curiosity was definitely piqued. 

I read this in one sitting when taking a break from The Final Empire, and I got lost in the darkness of this book. I say darkness because when I was reading the book I was picturing it with low lighting, candlelit basically! I don't know why, but that's what my brain conjured up! As I was reading, I could see why certain authors and such had been picked and placed on the front cover of the proof, there where little bits reminscent of all of them along with the authors own unique voice. 

I enjoyed delving in to the world of the book, the chapters had extracts at the top of each from various different publications from within the world of the book, or folk songs and so on that helped bring you in to the world of the book, and get a feel for it as well as insight in to it and it's history and the creatures. The history was very rich, and I found it interesting and wanted to know more. 

It's beautifully written, with some fantastic descriptions such as "the flesh slid from their shining bones like the skin of a poached fish" that give vivid images both positive and negative, I loved the authors way of describing things, it fit so well with the world of the book and the vibe I was getting from the book. Some of the descriptions were nice and haunting, "wrapped in the ghosts of sails" I fell in love with the writing of the book, even if I did find the book a bit hard to get in to at first. Once it got going I became more and more engrossed, and the writing was a large part of what kept me reading in the beginning. 

There are some beautifully eerie scenes on the water, and the book is definitely atmospheric, darkly atmospheric. The atmosphere of the book is a heavy thing, you can practically feel it and it pulls you in to the world of the book along with the characters. There's a great cast of characters, their lively and colourful and a little bit strange. I loved the relationship between all of them, and how they worked together, even if I wanted to strangle one of them at multiple times! I loved reading the relationship between Wull and his father and how he was determined to help him and get him back and it broke my heart at the end. It really did. Along with Wull's POV you also get the creepy POV of the creature of the creepy. So, so creepy. 

One thing about the book was that what happens to Wull's father and how he changes, reminded me of Alzheimer's/Dementia and it made this book very, very uncomfortable for me to read. I was very, very close to my grandfather and before he died last summer he was suffering from Alzheimer's to the extent that I had to stop going to visit him because I just couldn't handle it anymore. It broke me a little bit every time. So as I was reading this, I struggled at points to keep reading, it's nearly been a year and it's still kind of a raw wound. I ended up feeling for Wull so, so much and my heart truly broke for him at the end when he had to let his father go. Although I applaud the author for presenting the illness the way he did in this book, it gives you a hell of a dose of reality in an imaginative world that's easy to drift away in. I also felt it presented the illness the correct way, rather than just chucking it for added dramatic effect or whatever. 

All in all, while I struggled in the beginning, the writing and the creation of the world pulled me in and while I loved all the imaginative elements to it, the relationship between Wull and his father kept me reading. As well as the question of if Wull would save his father. I'm not going to lie, I choked up hardcore at the end of the book, I actually had to put it down for a few minutes before reading the remaining pages, but then I might have had a more emotional reaction to this than most considering things! 

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