Saturday 12 November 2022

Book Review: Catfish Rolling by Clara Kumagai (YA Fantasy)

Title: Catfish Rolling
Author: Clara Kumagai
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication Date: 2 March 2023
Pages: 284
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: ARC via NetGalley

A dazzling debut. Magic-realism blends with Japanese myth and legend in an original story about grief, memory, time and an earthquake that shook a nation.

There's a catfish under the islands of Japan and when it rolls the land rises and falls.

Sora hates the catfish whose rolling caused an earthquake so powerful it cracked time itself. It destroyed her home and took her mother. Now Sora and her scientist father live close to the zones – the wild and abandoned places where time runs faster or slower than normal. Sora is sensitive to the shifts, and her father recruits her help in exploring these liminal spaces.

But it's dangerous there – and as she strays further inside in search of her mother, she finds that time distorts, memories fracture and shadows, a glimmer of things not entirely human, linger. After Sora's father goes missing, she has no choice but to venture into uncharted spaces within the time zones to find him, her mother and perhaps even the catfish itself...


Catfish Rolling was a book with a fascinating and original premise, and I enjoyed the combination of science and Japanese myth. Sora was a well-presented character; however, some of the other characters in the story didn't feel as well fleshed out. The prose was easy reading, but the story posed a number of questions and scenarios to do with the fast and slow zones that were never fully answered by the end, which I found a little disappointing after so much build up. Even so, this remained an interesting and enjoyable read and offered something a bit different in terms of plot, so I am still giving it 4 stars. Recommended to those who like YA fantasy with an original twist.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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