The City of Secret Rivers
Jacob Sager Weinstein
Mr B's review
Hyacinth Hayward has a new home and nothing makes sense. As if moving from America to London with her agitated mum weren’t enough to deal with, their host Aunt Polly seems to have disappeared. And then there are the taps – how can mixer taps not exist in England? The answer becomes clear when Hyacinth’s efforts to mix hot and cold releases a rogue water drop into London’s sewers and sets in motion a chain of hilarious and catastrophic magical events.
A hilarious fantasy adventure set in modern day London.
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?
“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. Readerswill 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 * “[…] a stonking, rollicking delight […] the prose sings with effervescence.” * The Literary Review * “Villains ooze, mudlarks speak Victorian cockney and London’s history is reconfigured to fit the plot of this excellent thriller.” * Observer * “A more vivid and original voice” * The Irish Times Weekend *
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