Alright nerds, I’m going to be honest and say I had High Hopes for this book. I had Expectations. The last middle grade book I read was Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and it might be a little unfair to say that’s the bar for middle grade because so many awards, but there you are. High Hopes and Expectations.
Was it Nevermoor-level Wundrous? Not quite, BUT it honestly came really, really close for me. It’s an entirely different sort of story, which I appreciate because when books start to read alike it all gets a bit too boring. That said, some bits of Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds were just gross – not horror-gore gross, but just…. icky. I’m laughing at myself as I write this because there really is not a more grown-up way to describe a couple of the scenes in this book, they’re just icky. Which honestly, for me, is a good indication of the strength of the writing. I genuinely felt grossed out at times. I also felt sheer irritation, happiness, confusion. There are names that just make me frown now. I’m impressed by that.
Another thing I was genuinely impressed by was the plot. I mean, this is middle grade fiction, ok? When I was actually of the age this book is targeted to, I had the Saddle Club and the Babysitters Club. While fun to read at the time, they weren’t exactly head-scratchers and I was reading Pullman and Jordan by age 10, so…. The sheer awesome now available to kids is matched only by my irritation that more kids aren’t bedazzled by all of the worlds within pages that are now available to them.
And this book LITERALLY HAS MULTIPLE WORDS WITHIN ITS’ PAGES!
The world that Jeremy Lachlan is building here is just incredible. It has gods, mythology, traditions, legends, history. I mean, really. I’ve read full-length novels that don’t do any of this as well as it’s done here. I adored reading this book, and I’ll tell you it didn’t last long: I absolutely devoured it. Maybe four hours, all up. High Hopes and Expectations: met.
And, really, I can’t wait until the next one is out. I would do unsavoury things to secure an ARC for this. No shame.
Five star read, people.
Image credits: Inset photo by me, featured image also by me.
Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy by Dymocks Books in exchange for a review. As with all my reviews, the provenance of a title does not affect my opinion of its’ contents.
Categories: Children's Literature