Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Darkdeep by Brendan Reichs and Ally Condie

The Darkdeep by Brendan Reichs and Ally Condie
Published September 2018 Pan Macmillan


When a bullying incident sends twelve year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella – and even 'cool kid' Opal – rush to his rescue . . . only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below. Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can't quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. 

Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they've never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable. 

As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries – and their lives – begin to intertwine in weird and spooky ways. Something ancient has awakened . . . and it knows their wishes and dreams - and their deepest secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts? 

Told from Nico's and Opal's alternating points of view, The Darkdeep, from bestselling duo Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs, kicks off a suspenseful and spooky new series, perfect for fans of Stranger Things.

This would have to be, hands down, the most popular book I have talked about in schools this year.

When I do book talks at schools, as a way of the library doing their buying, I general take a 100+ books.  I pick out my favorites and talk about those ones, then the students have free reign (or whatever limits the library have put in place!), to browse all of the books and vote for what they want to read, and have in their library. At one school, I literally had a constant line up of students wanting to vote for The Darkdeep, and I have never in my 20+ year doing this have I seen that.  I do quite the spiel on it when I talk about it, complete with sound effects…so I am sure that helps.

The Darkdeep was on our shelves for 6 months before I even spotted it…which shocked me no end, as I think I know every book on the shelves!  As soon as I saw it I though 1) Why haven’t I read this? And 2) Kids will love this.  I think one of the tag lines is Stranger Things meets The Goonies.  It’s a perfect comparison and pretty funny in schools, because all of this kids at school 'oooh’ at the Stranger Things reference, and all of the adults react the same way to The Goonies.

I think there’s a big gap in children’s fiction, and YA to be honest, as far as Horror goes.  Now that so many libraries are genrefying their collections, this is one area where the gaps are showing.  This book is such a good choice for middle, and upper primary, as it’s creepy, and a bit scary, but not too scary.  

The setting is creepy, a fog covered island, and there’s mystery as to why there is a house in the middle of a lake (and that’s not solved in the first book), the fact that whatever the children fear most, manifests itself as a hologram, and then these holograms get more real and scarier.  It’s got a lot going for it as far as creepy goes.

It also has a lot of non scary things going for it too.  Themes of bullying, friendship and loyalty are strong, and the story is told from alternating characters’ points of view, which works well, as we get two perspectives on what’s happening.

The best news for anyone starting this series now, is that Book 2 has just been released, so no waiting to find out what happens next.

No comments:

Post a Comment