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June 2017 Debut of the Month
In a nutshell: breath-taking magical adventure on the banks of London’s underground rivers
Hyacinth Hayward, newly arrived in the UK from the US, is already struggling with culture shock when her mum is kidnapped by the strangest postmen ever and she herself is plunged (literally) into extraordinary adventure. Amongst the mass of magical quest adventures, The City of Secret Rivers stands out and not just because of its cast of fascinating characters (unscrupulous sewer dwelling cockney criminals and a possibly malevolent but extremely polite giant pig included), or its singular setting (the banks of London’s underground rivers); the sheer invention and wit of author Jacob Sager Weinstein makes this a special read and every page crackles with originality and energy. Outlandish fun! ~ Andrea Reece
Readers looking for more page-turning adventures that cleverly combine real historical places with rip-roaring adventure will enjoy the Defender of the Realm series by Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby.
An exciting subterranean London adventure, the first in a middle-grade trilogy.
Hyacinth Hayward has recently arrived from America and is having difficulty adjusting to her new surroundings, especially being in the sole company of her eccentric mother. Everything feels strange. Very strange. And it gets stranger the day she accidentally unleashes the power of a secret river running through London. To prevent a second Great Fire, Hyacinth needs to retrieve a single, magically charged drop of water from somewhere in the city sewer system.
Along the way she encounters an eclectic cast of characters - the shambling, monstrous Saltpetre Men who kidnap her mother, the Toshers who battle for control of magical artefacts and a giant pig with whom she has a tea party. The clock is ticking - will she figure out who to trust?
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.
Readers must willingly suspend belief to follow Weinstein's engaging, fast-paced fantasy, but he makes it worth their while. It's a wild ride that's fun, freaky, outlandish, and suspenseful. Readers will beg for another installment. Booklist
This setup can't help leading to a rollicking adventure with a lulu of an ending that comes with the promise of a sequel. Middle graders will adore clever Hyacinth and enjoy the other humorous characters, the puns (Oaroboarus, indeed), and the suspenseful narrative. Kirkus Reviews
With plot twists and potty humor galore, this is an entertaining read-aloud that should keep even reluctant readers engaged. VERDICT
Fans of Suzanne Collins's The Underland Chronicles and Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams's Tunnels series will enjoy this fantastic, funny adventure. School Library Journal
|Publication date:||1st June 2017|
|Author:||Jacob Sager Weinstein|
|Publisher:||Walker Books Ltd|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 9+ readers|
|Genres:||Crime / Mystery, Fantasy / Magical, Thrillers|
|Recommendations:||Debuts of the Month, eBooks, Reviewed by Children|
Jacob Sager Weinstein is the author of four non-fiction books for adults and has written for The New Yorker, HBO and the BBC. He is also a former contributor to The Onion and has won a Writers' Guild of America Award. The idea for City of Secret Rivers came to Jacob while walking along the Thames Embankment, as he started thinking about London's secret underground rivers and discovered that London's history is so magical that it only takes the slightest of tweaks to make it into a fantasy story. He lives in London with his wife and two children.More About Jacob Sager Weinstein