Saturday 29 April 2017

Book Review: Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

Title: Rotherweird
Author: Andrew Caldecott
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Publication Date: 18 May 2017
Pages: 480
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Fantasy/Mystery
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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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 nothing before 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. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Rotherweird is an intriguing tale that caught my interest from the first page, and held it. I loved the aura of mystery that surrounded the town and its inhabitants, and the gradual discovery of the truth as we follow the characters on their quest for enlightenment about the forbidden history of the place. The world building and characterisation was excellent. The only thing that let the book down for me (resulting in four stars rather than five) was the ending. The main story concluded well, but Caldecott was then left with a number of smaller, unresolved threads. To get around this, he gathered the characters one last time and they discussed things, tying up loose ends. It worked, in that it resolved remaining questions; however, it felt anti-climatic since the main action was over. I would have preferred it if he'd found a way to work in these smaller resolutions with the main ending. But, that small gripe aside, it was a most enjoyable and captivating read that will certainly appeal to those who like their fantasy to have an historical twist.

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