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Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird's independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.
For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.
But secrets have a way of leaking out.
Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothingbefore 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town's long-derelict Manor House.
Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.
Welcome to Rotherweird!
So, I wasn't too sure what to expect going in to this book, I loved the sound of it. It sounded original and fun but I wasn't entirely sure what it entailed. I was expecting something Terry Pratchett-esque I'm not going to lie, as soon as I read the premise that author sprung to my mind, but Caldecott certainly does have his own voice! Rotherweird is different, unique, and it slowly but surely pulls you in.
I'm a huge sucker for history, so I was invested right from the start with the historical aspects the book presented. The flashbacks and so on, I was living for them. I loved Rotherweird, it was perfectly created. You where curious about it and it's history, it was strange yet oddly practical. It was such an interesting setting, and it was populated by equally as interesting characters with some intriguing names.
There's some brilliant fantasy elements woven in, Lost Acre, the mystical powers some characters had and then there where the creatures, or rather Chimeras. It was a nice touch to create an original and interesting setting.
There's a brilliant and slightly creepy mystery running throughout the book as well, and I loved all of the different threads it had to it, and all of the clues and how it all came together so perfectly in the end. I got more and more engrossed in the book as it went on, trying to work out what was going on and what had happened and by the end of the book the apocalypse could have been happening and I would have no idea.
My issue with this book is that there where a lot of characters thrown at you, and I got confused sometimes, trying to remember who was who and what they did and what relation they had to the story. A couple of characters really did seem to be a little superfluous. Slickstones son seemed to be there just to be a little sod and then die at the end as part of the story and I'm assuming the fake wife will be back? Or maybe not. At one point I thought she was going to put it all together but nope. I didn't really understand their purpose other than set dressing.
For me, while I was intrigued by the historical aspect from the beginning, the book started off slowly and it took me a while to get in to it, I didn't get really, really engrossed until near to the end of the book when the pace picked up and things started to come together. Towards the middle I was a bit more invested and intrigued but the beginning was hard to get through for me. Multiple times I was confused about who that character was or what was going on.
Rotherweird is an original and fun novel once it gets going, and it has a brilliant mystery to it made up of different threads that manage to come together perfectly. I loved working out the anagrams, I loved the way the creatures fit so well with creatures you see in the Elizabethan tapestries and art etc it was such a brilliant explanation for them. Yes I had a couple of issues with the book, but overall it was an enjoyable read! I'm excited that there's going to be a second book and looking forward to seeing what mystery is occurring next time round!