Book Review: Dark Waters

by Katherine Arden

In Dark Waters, Ollie, her Dad, Coco and Brian are taken on a boat trip across Lake Champion by Coco’s Mum, who is researching Champy, the fabled monster of the lake. Passing through a strange mist, an apparently uncharted island appears. When the boat is rammed and sunk by an unseen monster, Ollie, Coco and Brian fear the ‘smiling man’ has struck again. Stranded on the island with little food or water, no radio or mobile phone coverage, an axe-wielding ghost, and with a monster that seems comfortable on both land and water, it looks like there is no escape this time for our three heroes.

I really liked Small Spaces and I loved Dead Voices, the two previous books in the series, both for their clever, creepy plots, and the endearing characters and their troubles. Dark Waters is told from solely from Brian’s point of view. While it is good to hear from this character (who wasn’t as much in Dead Voices as I would have liked), unfortunately Ollie and Coco deal with all the interesting exciting parts of the plot – off-stage. The reader is therefore not privy to a key dilemma for one of the characters which has a huge bearing on the story’s resolution. This would have had such a dramatic and emotional impact on the reader, if only it had been shared. Brian’s character arc is horizontal, and while I now know he is good at making fires, I didn’t feel I got anywhere closer to knowing or understanding him. Phil, his best friend that he hasn’t talked to in a while (since Small Spaces), could have been an interesting addition, but ultimately seems unnecessary to the story.

So much potential for this book to be another fantastic hair-raising adventure makes my disappointment all the greater. Having said that, the book is still an entertaining read, if nowhere as good as it should have been. A word of warning – the last 20% of the ebook is actually the opening chapters of Small Spaces. I wasn’t happy to discover this when I reached the end of the story, as I expected more to follow, especially as the book ends with a cliff hanger.

Overall a disappointing five out of ten diamonds.

7 responses to “Book Review: Dark Waters”

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