Title: The Whisper
Author: Aaron Starmer
Series: The Riverman Trilogy #2
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary has washed up on shore. But where? It seems to be Aquavania, the magical realm where children create entire worlds from their imagination. There’s something wrong, though. The creators have disappeared and the worlds are falling apart.
All Alistair wants is to find his friend Fiona Loomis and go home. Easier said than done. Animals made of starlight, a megalomaniacal boy king, and astronauts who peddle riddles are hard enough to outwit, but they’re only the beginning.
To find Fiona, Alistair must travel from world to world. He must confront the mistakes of his past. And he must face countless monsters, including the soul-stealing stalker that some people call the Riverman, the merciless but misunderstood servant of Aquavania who refers to himself as the Whisper.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around this book, making it a bit tricky to rate and review. Like the first book in the trilogy, I found it pretty dark for middle grade. But it is quite unlike other books in the genre, so it definitely stood out and overall I did enjoy it.
The Whisper picks up right after that crazy ending of The Riverman. I'm going to do my best to avoid any spoilers for book one, but it's pretty tricky, since the entire storyline of The Whisper stems from what happens in the last chapter of The Riverman.
This is not a cheerful children's book. We see communities decay. We see the length an obsession with revenge can take someone. We see grey areas and question our point-of-view. While the book lacks in the cheeriness department (which is not necessarily a bad thing), it definitely does not lack in imagination. The author takes us on a wild journey through many highly interesting places.
And the ending! Aaron Starmer knows how to do endings. Each book has ended with a huge "oh s**t" moment. I love cliff-hangers, so I am super excited for the final book after that ending!
Overall, The Riverman Trilogy is in a league of it's own when it comes to middle grade fiction. And what a very dark, wildly imaginative league it is.
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