I’ve been meaning to get to this book for ages. Good intentions and all that. And once I picked this up… wow! It completely changed my outlook on Indigenous Australians and their culture – pre Europeans. Alright, I already had a lot of respect and fascination for these peoples, but after reading all of the different aspects of their daily lives and existences… just, wow.
The telling of parallel storylines is something that has been growing on me more and more as I’ve expanded my reading knowledge and obsessions. So finding one that involved time travel, the Australian landscape and a woman willing to find herself a new life worked brilliantly for my latest literary fascination.
I kind of forgot why I loved this book so much. I’ve been looking at it on my shelf for months, but couldn’t really figure out why I had such a need to stick my nose between it’s pages and lose myself. But this week I did. And it was so worth it. I’m incredibly glad that I finally succumbed to the voice in my head saying “It was awesome!”
This was the second time that I read this book. But, the first time was when I was in early high school, and it has honestly been boxed up ever since. Which is sad, because this reread reminded me how much I truly love this story. It is fun, interesting and powerful. It is based around Australia (which is always a bonus in my book) and centres on siblings that aren’t all love and roses towards one another. Because let’s be honest, there are no siblings who always get along and never fight…
The week before I read this I made an attempt at reading Wuthering Heights. I say attempt because I kind of hated it. Not the writing or the storyline, but the characterisation. So I wanted to tackle a retelling immediately after. After all, I like the idea of everything in the original, I just found Heathcliff so damn douchey that my rage couldn’t get past it to enjoy everything else that was going on. Black Spring helped to cure me of this.
The Drowned Kingdom pulls together all of the little story threads that have been slowly released throughout the first three books of the series. The interconnectivity of the characters, the plots that span a lifetime. It is all revealed. But not completely. Just tied in well enough that you know the final reveals and the completion of the tapestry which Kate Forsyth has created will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
In all of the Kate Forsyth books / series that I’ve read, one of my favourite things has always been the character development. Even in series such as The Impossible Quest, which is aimed at youngsters, as the stories grow, so do the children. And I think that (at least so far) The Beast of Blackmoor Bog shows the most growth. Especially in the two boys.
I found this story kind of sad. Emilia and Luka are on the next step of their journey to try and find help for their family. And yet, the people who are supposed to be closer than kin are the very ones who turn their backs on the children. And also decide to take advantage of them. No matter that it is a family trying to take care of themselves, my heart broke a little for both gypsy children the further the story unfolds.
After finding the unicorn, the four young heroes on their impossible quest set off to find a Griffin. I love the mixture of fantasy and growing up that are intertwined in this journey. Even though this is only the second book in the series, the four children have already begun to accept each other for their strengths and flaws – the bickering has already almost stopped.
This is a beautifully easy, fun and light-hearted book. With enough of an adventure-based storyline to make you reluctant to put it down. At least as an adult. I’m sure if this was around when I was a child, I would be far more involved in the storyline and think it was a more intense literary experience than I do as a more widely read adult.